I first heard the name Dylan Voller, like most Australians; when his treatment in the Dondale Detention Centre was aired on the 4 corners program late 2016; what I saw was a kid who was acting out with behaviours that would've initially led him to incarceration; behaviours that most would deem unacceptable - not me!!
What I have learnt in all my years of working with youth and adults is that, what traumas have occurred to lead this child to acting out the way he does. I also have learnt that everyone is a victim of a past or current trauma; that acts as either a cover or protection mechanism, that enables us to act out or behave the way we do.
It is clear cut Dylan is a survivor or some horrendous trauma; all be it, physical, emotional and mental - over many many years.
Dylan didn't do very well at school, he was incarcerated for a lot of it in his early teens, so for this young man to be as articulate and emotionally strong as he is, is a credit to himself and his 'street smart' intelligence.
I've learnt that Dylan threatened suicide many times during his incarceration and he also self harmed, working in the field of mental health, this screams mental and emotional trauma to me. The one major tool I have been taught in my suicide Prevention training is that 'if someone is making a threat of suicide or self harm for attention' then that's what they need, ATTENTION - attention that, something much deeper is going on than the actions on the surface; it is like a cry for help - so why aren't we giving this help???
I sat through Dylan's hearing at the Royal Commission today (Thursday 20th April) and to hear the defence lawyer continually question this already vulnerable & still quite traumatised young man about his truths about whether he was 'lying' about wanting suicide (or the thought of) or self harm, I felt was completely uneducated and even harmful of the fact it would most certainly bring up certain traumas again. This went on for almost the final hour of which I sat through.
I understand the representative had a job to do in trying to find holes in Dylan's statements and behaviours, but with suicide & traumatic mental health, we are talking about life or death. The more we know about trauma & genetics is that, trauma can impact or stay in an individuals genetics for up to 5 or 6 generations - my point being is, if Dylan Voller is lucky enough to build a resilience to what he has endured over the past 8 or so years, the trauma he has been exposed to, will stay within his genetics for up to another 6 generations....
Do we not have a responsibility to this kid, or any kid for that matter as a society, to help heal trauma to affectively heal the young person???
We can't lock these kids up and abuse them, physically, emotionally or mentally - we need to work on the trauma, get to the route of what's going on and treat that.
What Dylan Voller did to land himself inside the walls of detention is beyond our control right now, but it is In my personal opinion; that we act to help rebuild a young person who has been a victim of many, many traumas.
What any person does as an act to land themselves incarcerated, is an outcry of another trauma, a behaviour referring from a past traumatic experience.
Let's find that trauma, & heal it - not build on it to create further problems.
Good luck young brother, Dylan I hope you grow and become a young leader as you have every right to be