Language rights in youth justice facilities


A detainee of a youth justice centre was told he was not allowed to speak in a language other than English. This is not compatible with the Victorian Human Rights Charter, and the department took steps to ensure it would not happen again.

What was the case?

Naseem said a staff member had prevented him from speaking in a language other than English to one of his teachers at the centre. When this happened on a previous occasion, Naseem complained about it to management and was assured it would not happen again.

Our enquiries

We asked Youth Justice Custodial Services whether there were any restrictions on speaking in languages other than English while in a youth justice facility, and if so, whether they were compatible with Victoria’s Human Rights Charter.

Youth Justice Custodial Services told us detainees were allowed to communicate in different languages. They said any restrictions on this right would be rare and would require the approval of management.


A manager at the facility spoke with Naseem to address his concerns. Human rights training was delivered to all staff, and they were informed of the rights of detainees to speak in other languages.