BAN SPIT HOODS NATIONALLY

Attorney Generals, Ministers of Corrections, Justice, Youth Justice, Communities and Police of NSW, NT, ACT, VIC, QLD & WA

Ban spit hoods - legislate now!
Photo credit: Charandev Singh

Spit hoods are torture devices. No child should be strapped to a chair and hooded, like we saw at Don Dale in 2016. Similarly, we will never unsee 29-year-old Wayne Fella Morrison being held down by up to 12 officers as he was forced into a spit hood, cuffed, and put into the van face down.

Fella never woke up. We know how dangerous spit hoods are. A spit hood is a mesh-fabric device that conceals your mouth, face, and often head – this can make it difficult to breathe. They are often forcefully pulled onto a person’s head and secured with an elastic band around the neck.

But momentum is building for change. In 2021, South Australia became the first state or territory in Australia to ban spithoods in all contexts by law, after a 5 year campaign from Fella’s family. Now it's time to ban them nationwide!

Because horrifically, Northern Territory police continue to hood and restrain children at alarming rates today. This is years after the Northern Territory Royal Commission recommended that these practices be banned. Likewise spit hoods are being used in carceral settings in Western Australia, and just as well are permitted and have been used in other states.

Limited oversight and lack of data reporting on spit hoods means we don’t always know the grave extent to which these are being used. This is scary.

Around the world, international human rights organisations have called for an end to police and prison officers using spit hoods. Many people have died or been seriously injured. Spit hoods are a threat to human life, dignity and safety.

Every young person who sees a spit hood used on another child has to live with this traumatising vision for life.

We want these torture devices permanently banned. We want every single prison and police station in this country, every state and territory government, every mental health setting, to choose to treat people as humans.

If spit hoods were banned, Fella might still be here. No other child would have to go through what young people in places like Don Dale have suffered.

We won this change in SA and we can make this happen across the country.

With your support, we can pressure people in government to decide to save lives by banning spit hoods today. Please, get behind us by signing and sharing this petition to ban spit hoods nationally.

#BanSpitHoods

Photo credit: Charandev Singh

Petition by

To: Attorney Generals, Ministers of Corrections, Justice, Youth Justice, Communities and Police of NSW, NT, ACT, VIC, QLD & WA
From: [Your Name]

We call for your government to immediately ban spit hoods by law, for all persons, in all contexts. Spit hoods must not be replaced with any cruel alternatives.

Spit hoods are dangerous. Spit hoods are usually coupled with other restraints and use brute force. Spit hoods pose a suffocation risk because they, by design, stop liquids escaping and dramatically reduce breathability when wet. When fastened, they can put pressure on vital parts of the neck. Spit hoods can also delay critical medical responses, because they obscure faces, muffle voices, and make it hard to notice changes to someone’s face colour, their distress or pain. When used in conjunction with other restraint practices like prone restraint and hogtying, they can restrict breathing and be fatal.

Spit hoods breach international anti-torture laws when they are used to punish, intimidate or coerce. We have seen this happen repeatedly on this continent across youth and adult prisons, on children as young as 12 years old.

Every child who has a police or prison officer force them into a spit hood, or who sees a spit hood used on another, can be traumatised for life. It is not enough to ban these in policy or to leave it to discretion, spit hoods must be banned by law. It’s the only way to save lives.

5 years after the death of Wayne Fella Morrison, in 2021, the South Australian Government became the first Australian state or territory to ban spit hoods by law, in all contexts. We urge your government to follow their lead.