The National Network of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls demands the urgent release of all children currently being held in watch houses across Queensland.

The National Network expresses its full support for the forthcoming legal action initiated by the Youth Advocacy Centre against the Queensland government, legal action aimed at addressing the egregious failures in protecting children within the state’s watch houses.

In light of recent revelations by Youth Advocacy Centre CEO, Katherine Hayes regarding incidents of sexual assault against children while under state custody, and the alarming detention of children as young as 11 in adult watch houses for extended periods, it is evident that urgent intervention is needed to safeguard the rights and well-being of Queensland’s children.

‘The National Network condemns any form of harm or violence inflicted upon our vulnerable children and calls for the immediate release of all children held in watchhouses,’ said Tabitha Lean. ‘Every child deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and humanity and provided with appropriate care and protection, regardless of their circumstances. What the Queensland government is doing to our children is nothing short of negligent,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘Given the disproportionate representation of First Nations children on remand and held in these cages should be deeply troubling to all of us and demands immediate attention from policymakers and stakeholders at all levels of government,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘This state has a duty of care for the safety of all of its citizens. The fact that our children are being brutalised and harmed in the Queensland government’s system is an abrogation of their responsibility to keep all of its citizens safe,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘As an organisation committed to freeing everyone from cages, the National Network urge the Queensland government to address these critical issues promptly and ensure the safety and well-being of all children in our state,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

About Us:
The National Network of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls represents women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people who are currently in prison, who have been to prison, those who are currently living within the confines of the criminal injustice system and those who have exited the system.

Our Network in Australia was founded in 2020 by Debbie Kilroy of Sisters Inside and
remains an abolitionist organisation committed to ending the incarceration of women and girls. Collectively we argue that prison will never be a safe place for women or girls, and in fact they are places that entrench poverty, increase trauma and cause further social and economic harm. Prisons, in our opinion, do not result in an increase in public or community safety.


0419 762 474              0499 780 226

For further comment, please contact either Tabitha Lean or Debbie Kilroy on their respective contact numbers.