Senior youth justice worker may not work again after assault leaves him hospitalized with facial fractures

Another assault on staff at the troubled Malmsbury Youth Justice Center has left staff shell-shocked and cast doubt over how the facility is being operated.

There is regular violence at the center in central Victoria, which houses 51 young men aged between 15 and 21 years.

Two of the most senior managers at the facility were seriously assaulted and hospitalized last week, in what staff have described as the center’s most brutal assault in years.

The ABC understands that the men – experienced operations managers who have both recently acted in the role of deputy general manager at Malmsbury – were targeted in a planned assault on Thursday afternoon in the high-security Monash unit.

Colleagues say the two managers are highly respected, and the serious assault has shaken staff and led to calls for the center to be closed.

“Management has to stand up and support the staff, because nothing is going to happen until, eventually, a staff member is killed,” former staff member Ken Rose said.

“The government needs to step in.

“There needs to be more staff and harsher penalties [on clients] for assaults. “

A man wearing a checked shirt looks ahead with a mask in his hand, and trees in the background.
Former Malmsbury youth worker Ken Rose says he holds grave fears for the safety of current staff members.(Supplied)

The youth justice center was in lockdown for most of Friday, as staff feared for their safety.

“It’s shattering,” a current staff member said.

In an internal email obtained by the ABC, Malmsbury management told staff it had been a “very difficult and emotional week” with “incidents of unacceptable violence”.

The email acknowledged that, at a staff meeting on Friday, a day after the latest attack, “the CPSU and WorkSafe implored us to do more”.

In the email, management did not say what more could or would be done to protect staff.

Injured staff member ‘may not work again’

The ABC understands the two senior managers had ordered that a young person from the Monash secure unit be moved to what is called the Intensive Supervision Annexe because of the risk the young person posed to staff and other young people.

Other young people objected to their friend being removed and both operations managers attended the Monash unit to address the young people about the decision, to “set boundaries, and ensure floor staff were supported”, the ABC has been told.

It was during this address to the young people that the managers were attacked.

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