A female youth justice worker was knocked unconscious for up to eight minutes in January after being struck by an inmate with an acoustic guitar.
The assault at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre caused her scalp to tear exposing the skull.
The Bendigo Weekly was given a photo of the injury, which it deemed too graphic to publish, as well as information that the justice worker had notified management a number of times in the months leading up to the January assault, that she felt unsafe and was being targeted by the inmate.
It is understood Victoria Police has charged the inmate with assaulting the woman and he is also facing charges related to alleged assaults only weeks earlier in Malmsbury of two male justice officers, also with a guitar.
The woman had surgery at Bendigo hospital within a day of the assault and is yet to return to work.
The inmate, who was 17 years old at the time of the assault but turned 18 within a fortnight, was moved to Port Phillip maximum security prison where his brother is understood to be imprisoned, but has since been relocated to the Parkville Youth Justice Facility.
The move has angered youth justice workers at Malmsbury who have questioned why their Parkville colleagues should have to deal with an inmate with a record of assaults in youth facilities.
The woman’s colleagues are also upset that the inmate was allowed to keep the guitar after the first two assaults. His guitar was part of an individual behaviour management plan, and was meant to soothe him.
A Department of Justice and Regulation spokesperson said the safety of staff was the highest
“Violent behaviour against others is not tolerated and is referred to police,” the department said.
“Under new laws passed last year there will be tougher consequences for young people who assault youth justice staff while in custody.”
The assault on January 24 was witnessed by other inmates, including a boy who was playing cards with the woman.
It is said to have been unprovoked and the female worker was unable to defend herself because the inmate wielded the guitar suddenly from behind her.
She was treated at the centre and transported to Bendigo Health.
– Sharon Kemp