Ombudsman to conduct OPCAT-style inspection of the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre

Friday 07 July 2017
Victoria must ensure people held in places of detention are treated in a humane and dignified way after the Australian Government ratifies an important United Nations convention.
In April 2017 Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass announced an investigation which will consider the practical changes needed in Victoria to implement the UN’s Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
The investigation will scope the number and type of places of detention in Victoria and how they are monitored. It will also feature a pilot inspection of a closed facility conducted to OPCAT standards where possible.
The Ombudsman has decided to conduct the pilot inspection at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre (DPFC) in July 2017.
“As an OPCAT-style pilot, this inspection will gather first-hand observations, speak confidentially with prisoners and staff, and have access to inspect all areas of the DPFC. The inspection will also involve a review of relevant records/documentation and a survey of prisoners and staff about their experiences at the DPFC,” said Ms Glass.
OPCAT inspections differ from previous Ombudsman’s visits to and investigations of closed facilities such as prisons and youth justice centres.
Instead of investigating past actions, OPCAT-compliant inspections focus on prevention of human rights abuses by identifying risk factors and protective safeguards.
Make a submission by Friday 18 August 2017
The Ombudsman welcomes submissions from the public, in particular recent former DPFC prisoners and their families and friends about their experiences at the facility.
To make a submission by Friday 18 August 2017:
Call: 03 9613 6222 or 1800 806 314 (regional)
Due to the ongoing status of the investigation, the Ombudsman is not available for comment.
Media contact: Rory Cahill Tel 03 9613 6235 | Mob 0409 936 235
Further information: Tel 03 9613 6222 | Regional 1800 806 314 | | Follow @VicOmbudsman