The Cell Watch Visitor Program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cairns and Innisfail who are, or have recently been (i.e. during the previous 14 days), in police custody, with a specific focus on those who are in need of special care, support, observation or attention. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be in police custody for public intoxication offences.
This may include:
- Single Men
- Single Women
- Young people aged 17 years and over.
While the target group does not include non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those who meet the criteria above may also be provided with a service. At any time no more than 25% of the clients at the Diversionary Centre will be non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The purpose of the Cell Watch Visitor’s initiative is to provide support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the custody of the Queensland Police Service to reduce the incidence of suicide, self-injury and health impacts related to intoxication.
The Cell Watch Visitor Program works in cooperation with watch-house staff by:
- Assisting with observation and identification of detainees needs and problems;
- Facilitating effective communication between detainees, watch-house staff and other agencies and persons;
- Offering company, support and counselling to the detainee;
- Assisting in the prevention of any attempt at suicide or self-inflicted injury; and
- Providing information and referral support services to detainees.
Cell Watch Visitors provide a valuable service to detainees, including taking messages to family members, collecting suitable clothing for court, making referrals to health practitioners and other services, taking prescriptions to the pharmacy to be filled, dealing with rental payments and other financial commitments on behalf of their clients.
Cell Watch Visitor Program operates 6 days a week in Cairns with an on-call service 24 hours per day. In Innisfail this service is provided on an ‘as required’ basis.