Child protection and juvenile justice

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Child protection and juvenile justice in the AIFS library catalogue

Maltreatment and delinquency : examining the contexts of offending amongst child protection-involved children.

Baidawi S and Sheehan R
British Journal of Social Work 14 Oct 2019: Advance online publication
This article presents findings from a recent study into the overlap of children and young people with child protection backgrounds in the youth justice system. The article focuses on the contexts in which these children offend and the factors associated with prosecution. The study involved a two-year case file audit of 300 children and young people appearing before the Victorian Children's Court who also had a history of child protection involvement. Three key contexts for offending were identified: adolescent family violence, residential care-based offending, and group-based offending. The study also found that children's combined neurodevelopment, mental health and substance abuse issues were also associated with offending in each of these contexts. The findings highlight the issue of addressing behavioural challenges in care without involving the court system.

Cross-over kids: effective responses to children and young people in the youth justice and statutory child protection systems

Baidawi S and Sheehan R
Canberra, A.C.T. : Criminology Research Grants Program, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2019.
This report investigates the overlap of children and young people with child protection backgrounds in the youth justice system, and the factors which contribute to justice system entry and entrenchment. It presents the findings from a two-year case file audit of 300 children and young people appearing before the Victorian Children's Court, combined with consultations with 82 key stakeholders. The audit examined children's exposure to maltreatment and other family adversity - including parental divorce, drug use, mental illness, and death - as well as types of abuse experienced, child protection and out of home care involvement, co-occurring challenges such as learning and behaviour problems, mental health or drug use issues, age at first contact with the justice system, type and severity of offending, recidivism, sentencing outcomes, and regional differences between the courts. The stakeholder were consulted about the characteristics of cross-over children and families, the context and nature of offending among cross-over children, Indigenous children, averting the pathway to the justice system, and responding to offending behaviour. Both data sources emphasised children's dual nature as both victims and offenders, and the systems limitations in acknowledging and responding to children's victimisation. The findings also suggest a need for earlier and more intensive support, as well as the need for a range of strategies for preventing, diverting and responding to these children's criminal justice system involvement.

'Crossover kids': offending by child protection-involved youth

Baidawi S and Sheehan R
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2019.
"The over-representation of children from child protection backgrounds in the youth justice system is a significant and longstanding concern. While the association between child maltreatment and youth offending is established, the pathway of child protection-involved youth to criminal justice outcomes has received little attention. This paper presents selected findings of a detailed case file audit of 300 crossover children appearing before the Victorian Children's Court in 2016-17. Findings explore children's exposure to maltreatment and other adversity, as well as their child protection involvement, co-occurring challenges, offending and sentencing outcomes. The risk factors for earlier and more serious offending are also examined. Results indicate that crossover children present with more serious offending profiles than other court-involved children. The findings emphasise the need to prevent, divert and respond to crossover children's criminal justice contact."--Publisher abstract.

From child protection to youth justice : legal responses to the plight of 'crossover kids'.

Walsh T
University of Western Australia Law Review v. 46 no. 1 Sep 2019: 90-110
Though majority of young people involved with the child protection system do not commit criminal offences, a disproportionate number of young people who do offend have a child protection history. This article reports on a study in Queensland into the association between child protection and youth justice involvement from a legal perspective. Focus groups were held with lawyers, youth workers, and counsellors, regarding the range of offences are children in the child protection system were charged with, which children were most at risk of criminalisation, contributing factors, the consequences of criminalisation, what child protection system reforms are needed, and how children's contact with the criminal justice system could be reduced. The participants agreed that children placed in residential care were most at risk of becoming involved in the youth justice system, when compared with children in other types of placements, and that restorative and de-escalation techniques were needed rather than police and formal justice processes where possible. The need for stable caring relationships was also raised. The article concludes by considering in more detail the recommendations raised for system reform, child protection law, criminal law, youth justice, and social security.

Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision: 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2018

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity and entering the youth justice system. This report investigates the overlap between children and young people in both the child protection and youth justice systems in Australia, drawing on linked data from 6 jurisdictions over the four year period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2018. It provides information on involvement in either or both systems, care and protection orders, out of home care, age at first justice supervision, gender and Indigenous status, and types of supervision imposed. The findings show that though the majority of children who are abused or neglected do not go on to offend, a large proportion of children who offend do have a history of child protection involvement. Young people who had been under youth justice supervision were 9 times as likely as the general population to have received child protection services, and that Indigenous Australians were 17 times as likely as their non-Indigenous counterparts to have received both child protection services and youth justice supervision.

Sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions, 2009-2017: investigation report

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (Great Britain)
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2019.
As part of the work of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, this report looks into sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions in England and Wales. Though children in detention are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse, very little is known about their experiences or the extent to which institutions have discharged their duty of care to protect them. The report investigates the nature and extent of sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions - including young offender institutions, secure training centres, and secure children's homes - as well as institutional responses to abuse and institutional and systemic protections, focusing on the recent years of 2009-2017. The report identifies the risks and barriers to reporting found in these places and calls for their culture and ethos to move from control and discipline to a child-centred approach to care and support and, indeed, for community alternatives to remand to be considered.

'Crossover kids' - vulnerable children in the youth justice system. Report 1, Children who are known to child protection among sentenced and diverted children in the Victorian Children's Court

Stewart F
Melbourne, Vic. : Sentencing Advisory Council, 2019.
This is the first of two reports on the link between child protection and youth justice involvement in Victoria. It examines the the child protection backgrounds of children who received a sentence or diversion in the Victorian Children's Court in 2016 or 2017. It looks at the proportion of children known to child protection, levels of involvement and placement in care, specific sentence types, and age differences. The findings highlight the over-representation in the juvenile justice system of children from the child protection system, particularly those placed in residential care and Indigenous children. The study finds that, of children sentenced or diverted in the court, 38% were the subject of at least one child protection report, 25% were the subject of at least one substantiated report, and 15% experienced out-of-home care. Children with a child protection background were also more likely to appear before the courts at a younger age. The findings aim to inform sentencing practice and policy and identify earlier opportunities for intervention for these at risk children.

Safe inside?: child sexual abuse in the youth secure estate

Soares C
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2019.
This study investigates the extent to which children feel safe from sexual abuse in the youth secure estate in England and Wales, and the role of staff, systems and processes within this. The youth secure estate currently comprises Young Offender Institutions, Secure Training Centres, and Secure Children's Homes, which hold children detained on criminal justice grounds as well as children held on welfare grounds for their own protection. Previous research has highlighted the levels of violence, restraint, and child sexual abuse in these establishments, as well as children's reports of feeling unsafe. This new study draws on interviews with staff and young people aged 14?17 years old to learn more about the systems and practices in place to keep children safe, their delivery and effectiveness, the awareness and views of children and staff of safeguarding procedures and policy, use of technology and surveillance, risk management, the adequacy of staff training and how this translates into practice, experiences around incidents and reporting of abuse, the management of inappropriate behaviour and sexual abuse, the nature of different types of abuse, perceived risk of child sexual abuse, and children's sense of safety and main concerns. This study has been produced as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Care-criminalisation : the involvement of children in out-of-home care in the New South Wales criminal justice system.

McFarlane K
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology v. 51 no. 3 Sep 2018: 412-433
This article explores at the association between the out of home care and justice systems. It reviews the case files of 160 children appearing before the New South Wales Children's Court, finding that though all the children shared many of the risk factors, children who had been in out of home care appeared before the court at disproportionately higher rates and at significantly younger ages. The article also discusses the concept of 'care-criminalisation', where the living arrangements designed to protect these young people from harm instead create an environment for offending.

Evidence brief: complex needs

Chen E and Hanks M
Wellington N.Z. : Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, 2018.
This paper provides a high-level overview on the nature and service responses regarding complex needs among children and young people involved in the care and youth justice systems. It summarises the latest international literature on the definition and frameworks of complex needs in care populations, the characteristics of those with complex needs in the care and youth justice populations, risk and protective factors, and service and therapeutic responses. Children in the care and youth justice populations experience multiple issues - from behaviour problems to drug abuse - that are interrelated and serious, but the evidence base for what works in addressing such complex needs in care is relatively limited. Males, and those identifying as indigenous, are over-represented in the care and justice systems of many jurisdictions, and deprivation, poverty, and a history of trauma are particular risk factors.

Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision: 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2017

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity and entering the youth justice system. This report investigates the overlap between children and young people in both the child protection and youth justice systems in Australia, drawing on linked data from 6 jurisdictions. The cohort is children aged 10-14 on 1 July 2013 who were subject to a youth justice supervision order at any time between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017 in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory. Information is provided involvement in either or both systems, care and protection orders, out of home care, age at first justice supervision, gender and Indigenous status, and types of supervision imposed. The findings reveal that young people who had been under youth justice supervision were 9 times as likely as the general population to have received child protection services, and that Indigenous Australians were 17 times as likely as their non-Indigenous counterparts to have received both child protection services and youth justice supervision.

The intersection between the child protection and youth justice systems

Dean A
Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018.
This resource sheet highlights the overlap between child protection and youth justice. It provides an overview of the number of young people involved in both the youth justice and child protection systems in Australia, presenting data from two recent papers by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The resource sheet also briefly reviews what is known about the link between child maltreatment and youth offending. Though only a minority of young people involved in the child protection system are also under youth justice supervision, those who are represent a comparatively high proportion. The reasons for this are multiple and complex.

Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision 2015-16

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017.
Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity and entering the youth justice system. This report explores the relationships between child protection and youth justice supervision in Australia, drawing on the recent introduction of a national unit record child protection data collection with linked data. The report provides information on young people aged 10-16 who were involved in the child protection system and who were also subject to a youth justice supervision order in 2015-16 in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory, regarding rates of involvement, care and protection orders, out of home care, age at first justice supervision, gender and Indigenous status, and types of supervision imposed. The findings reveal that these young people were 12 times as likely as the general population to be in the child protection system, with Indigenous Australians 16 times as likely as their non-Indigenous counterpart to be both in the child protection system and under youth justice supervision.

The child protection and juvenile justice nexus in Australia : a longitudinal examination of the relationship between maltreatment and offending.

Malvaso C, Delfabbro P and Day A
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 64 Feb 2017: 32-46
Research suggest that many young people who are in the justice system have had previous contact with child protection services. This article investigates the situation in Australia. Using data from statutory child protection and youth justice agencies in South Australia, it examines the overlap between the child protection and youth justice systems, the rate of previous child protection involvement among adolescent offenders, the characteristics of youth from out of home care with and without criminal convictions, and the extent to which substantiated maltreatment predicts youth criminal convictions, controlling for placement in out-of-home care. The results show that although the majority of child-protection involved youth do not become convicted offenders, the risk is significantly greater for both those with notifications and substantiated maltreatment and for those who had been placed in out-of-home care. Particular risk factors include: male gender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethnicity, experiences of physical abuse and emotional abuse, a greater number of substantiations, experiencing maltreatment that commenced in childhood and continued into adolescence, and placement in out-of-home care.

Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision 2014-15

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016.
Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity and entering the youth justice system. This report explores the relationships between child protection and youth justice supervision in Australia, drawing on the recent introduction of a national unit record child protection data collection with linked data. The report provides information on young people aged 10-17 who were involved in the child protection system and who were also subject to a youth justice supervision order in 2014-15 in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory, regarding rates of involvement, care and protection orders, out of home care, age at first justice supervision, gender and Indigenous status, and types of supervision imposed. The findings reveal that young people in the child protection system are 14 times as likely as the general population to be under youth justice supervision in the same year.

Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision 2013-14

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016.
Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity and entering the youth justice system. This report explores the relationships between child protection and youth justice supervision in Australia, drawing on the recent introduction of a national unit record child protection data collection with linked data. The report provides information on young people aged 10-17 who were involved in the child protection system and who were subject to a youth justice supervision order in 2013-14 in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory, regarding rates of involvement, care and protection orders, out of home care, age at first justice supervision, gender and Indigenous status, and types of supervision imposed. Over time, it is hoped that this data set will explore other characteristics and risk factors behind this association.

Care-criminalisation: the involvement of children in out of home care in the NSW criminal justice system

McFarlane K
2015.
"This thesis investigates the relationship between the child welfare and criminal justice systems (termed 'care-criminalisation') as experienced by a cohort of children in the NSW Children's Court criminal jurisdiction to identify: 1. the rates of appearance of children in out of home care (OOHC) before the NSW Children's Court on criminal charges; 2. whether this appearance rate is disproportionate; and if so, 3. what factors are leading to that over-representation. A sequential mixed methods methodology was adopted, comprising the collection of qualitative data and analysis followed by quantitative data analysis. The qualitative methods involved a literature review of leading academic papers in the area, an assessment of over 200 years of Royal Commissions, government reports, previously unpublished primary source documents and agency material, an examination of contemporary media commentary (such as newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts) and analysis of 25 years of NSW Parliamentary Hansard. The quantitative methods assessment involved analysis of 180 NSW Children's Court files from 2009-2010, observational research of cases and analysis of the transcripts of individual Children's Court matters. This thesis identified that children in OOHC are over-represented in the criminal justice system (CJS) compared to their non-care peers. Further analysis revealed that the OOHC cohort had a different experience of CJS compared to other children. There was a statistically significant difference between the two cohorts across several key measures. Children in OOHC first came into contact with the CJS earlier and incurred their first charge at a younger age than children who had not been in care. Males in OOHC were particularly affected. Children in OOHC in this study were also more likely to be remanded for bail breaches and spent longer in custody than their non-care peers. There are complex and interconnected reasons for the care-crime nexus. Through an exploration of the processes and policies of the NSW child welfare system, this thesis has shown it is inexorably linked to the manufacturing of delinquency and children's involvement in the criminal justice system."--University website.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: current issues in awareness, prevention and intervention

McLean S and McDougall S
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014.
This paper reviews the research and current policy surrounding prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Alcohol use during pregnancy is linked to a spectrum of adverse fetal outcomes. This spectrum of abnormalities is collectively termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and may include physical, cognitive and/or developmental symptoms. The aim of this paper is to inform practitioners and other professionals working in a range of fields about the implications of FASD for children and their families. Current research on interventions or programs to work with families affected by FASD is also explored.

Rethinking children, violence and safeguarding : attitudes in contemporary society

Radford L
London : Continuum International Pub. Group, c2012.
"[This book] explores the victimization of children, as well as children who use violence towards others, and presents an overview of key developments in research, policy and practice within the context of 'safeguarding' and evidencing better outcomes. The gaps between rhetoric and practice are considered and Radford argues that the way we 'think' about children and violence has had a profound impact on actions against the abuse of children and children who commit violence."

Children and young people at risk of social exclusion: links between homelessness, child protection and juvenile justice

Aalders R
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012.
Previous research has shown a relationship between child abuse and neglect, homelessness, and criminal activity. This new study investigates this relationship further, with a review of the extent of multiple-sector involvement and the types of children and young people who are involved. It presents an analysis of a data set linking three community-sector data collections - Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP), juvenile justice supervision, and child protection notifications and substantiations - for Victoria and Tasmania. Statistics are presented by gender and Indigenous status, as available. The analysis shows that children and young people who are involved in one of these three sectors are more likely to be involved in another of the sectors than the general population.

Pathways into youth justice : strengthening policy and program supports for young people in the youth justice system who are transitioning from out-of-home care.

Mendes P and Baidawi S
Children Australia v. 37 no. 1 Mar 2012: 10-22
Local and international research suggests an overrepresentation of young people leaving state out-of-home care in the youth justice system. A range of factors appear to contribute to this correlation including child abuse and neglect, placement instability, experiences of residential care, and unsupported transitions from care. This article presents the findings of a Victorian pilot study conducted in partnership with Whitelion, a not-for-profit organisation specifically offering support to 'young people involved with or at risk of involvement with the youth justice and/or out-of-home care and leaving care services' (Whitelion, 2012), to examine the interrelationship between the child protection and youth justice systems, and particularly to explore the processes that take place when young people involved in the youth justice system leave state care. A series of interviews and focus groups with Whitelion workers were used to explore whether leaving care plans and policies address and minimise involvement with youth justice; the role, if any, of formal consultations by child protection services with youth justice regarding this group of care leavers; and the ongoing role of youth justice postcare, particularly when young people are in custody at the time of their exit from care. Some significant implications for policy and practice are identified.

The link between child maltreatment and adolescent offending : systems neglect of adolescents.

Cashmore J
Family Matters no. 89 2011: 31-41
This article is concerned with the nexus between child maltreatment and adolescent offending. The link between child abuse and neglect and adolescent offending is well established and there is now significant evidence that the timing of this maltreatment matters. Young people whose maltreatment is chronic and persists from childhood into adolescence or that starts in adolescence are much more likely to be involved in crime and the juvenile justice system than those whose maltreatment is limited to their childhood. This highlights the importance of early intervention - both early in life and early in the pathway. The article discusses the extent to which children appear in both the child protection and juvenile justice systems, the links between maltreatment and crime, and the importance of timing and transitions in exposure to maltreatment. The article also discusses the failure of the child protection and juvenile justice systems, and alternative service approaches.

Kids, crime and care: health and well-being of children in care : youth justice experiences and outcomes : joint special report

Turpel M and Kendall P
Victoria, B.C. : Representative for Children and Youth and the Provincial Health Officer, 2009.
This report investigates the relationship between children and youth in care and the criminal justice system in British Columbia, and makes recommendations to help improve outcomes for this vulnerable group. It is a joint special report of the Representative for Children and Youth and the Provincial Health Officer. There are currently about 9,000 children and youth in care in the province, with an over-representation from Aboriginal families. Of youth in care, one in six had been in youth custody, compared to less than one in 50 of the study population. This report is one of four and draws on one of the largest studies undertaken in Canada on the issue: data on all 50,551 children born in 1986 who were attending school in 1997/98 were studied, involving data-matching across government ministries and systems on an unprecedented level. Topics include: characteristics of youth in the justice system; being charged in the justice system; youth in care and the justice system; education and special needs; income assistance; age of first offence; history of violence; types of offences; and sentences. Recommendations address placement stability, contact with the youth justice System, education, youth justice leadership, and supports to families.

The concentration of offending and related social problems in Tasmanian families

Goodwin V
Hobart, Tas. : Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies, 2008.
Longitudinal studies have established that crime runs in families. In the early 1970s, a study examining the concentration of offending and other social problems in 16 Tasmanian families found that their contact with the criminal justice system was intergenerational, and that they were also heavy users of other services. This paper reports research undertaken with six Tasmanian families to update and extend the earlier study. It examines the extent to which crime and related social problems co-occur in the families, and identifies ways to break the cycle of intergenerational crime and better respond to the needs of families with multiple problems. It proposes a methodology for calculating the cost of crime and related social problems among families with multiple problems, anticipating that cost of crime analysis will demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of early intervention to prevent the intergenerational pattern of offending.

From care to crime : children in state care and the development of criminality.

McFarlane K
Cunneen, Chris, ed. Salter, Michael, ed. Proceedings of the 2nd Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference : 19-20 June 2008, Sydney, Australia. Sydney, NSW : Crime and Justice Research Newtork, University of New South Wales, 2008. 9780646507378: 206-220
As an introduction to a forthcoming research project, this paper examines what is known about the offending trajectory of children placed in State care for purely welfare reasons. The author discusses research from Australia and overseas on the rate of offending by former wards of the state, pathways from care to offending, and the lack of government action.

Youth offending in relation to young people as multiple service users: scoping paper

White R
Canberra, A.C.T. : Criminology Research Council, 2003.
On the one hand, many chronic offenders have a history of contact with state agencies such as child protection, as well as criminal justice agencies. On the other hand, the lack of contact with services, such as school support, health and welfare services, may also be linked to offending behaviour - young people offend because of their marginalisation from needed resources. The author's aim in this paper is to explore the connection between chronic youth offending and the patterns of use of many different kinds of services by young people. The paper explores the causes of juvenile offending and different models of intervention; service provision as crime prevention; the role of social institutions and services, including their impact on social inclusion and exclusion; service provision and delivery, including a case study of family support and parenting issues; issues for multiple service users; and research questions and practitioner issues in youth service frameworks.

Report into the cost of child abuse and neglect in Australia

Keatsdale Pty. Ltd., Kids First Foundation
Albion, Qld. : Kids First Foundation, 2003.
This report calculates the financial cost to Australia engendered by child abuse and neglect for the financial year 2001-2002, taking into account the human and social costs such as medical expenses and criminality, public intervention costs such as child protection services, and services provided by community organisations.

Youth justice: criminal trajectories

Lynch M, Buckman J and Krenske L
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2003.
This paper presents the key findings of the 'Youth Justice: Criminal Trajectories Research Project', which focused on recidivism among young offenders in Queensland. The project tracked 1,503 young offenders who received supervised juvenile justice orders in 1994 - 1995 from their court appearances through to adult custodial and non custodial orders served up to September 2002. The paper analyses this cohort in terms of socioeconomic status, gender, Indigenous status, peak offending age, and the presence of care and protection orders. The data show that the vast majority of young offenders on supervised orders progress to the adult correction systems with half of them having served at least one term of imprisonment. Among male Indigenous juveniles, 89 percent of those on supervised orders had progressed to the adult corrections system by September 2002, with 71 percent having served at least one prison term. Analysis of risk factors also finds that 91 percent of those who had been subject to a care and protection order progressed to the adult system. The results of the project confirm that multiple factors amplify the risk of recidivism and highlight the importance of coordinated whole of government responses to youth offending. The paper also summarises recent multi agency initiatives to reduce juvenile crime in Queensland.

Youth justice: criminal trajectories

Lynch M, Buckman J and Krenske L
Brisbane, Qld. : Crime and Misconduct Commission, 2003.
This paper investigates the extent to which young offenders progress to the adult corrections system. Using data from the Queensland Department of Families, the Queensland Police Service, and the Queensland Department of Corrective Services it examines how many juveniles on supervised orders in 1994?95 progress to the adult corrections system, and considers the risk factors of gender, socioeconomic status, Indigenous status, and the presence of a care and protection order. The findings of a very high rate of recidivism into adulthood questions the adequacy and appropriateness of current responses to juvenile offending.

Trying to better see both sides of the coin.

Nicholson A
Sydney, NSW: Family Court of Australia - Papers and Reports - Paper presented at the Children Law UK conference, Welfare and Justice, May 2003, 28p, Online only (PDF 214K)
There is community sympathy for children who are survivors of abuse and neglect, while the same community calls for harsher punishments when, some years later, those same children commit an offence. In this paper the author focuses on enhancing the effectiveness and humanity of the justice system for children and young people. He refers to the lack of protective service provision or community based juvenile justice services for young offenders, and to increased structural and opportunity factors that aggravate the risk of children and young people offending. These include: an increased range and availability of substances that are available for abuse; fundamental changes to the labour market and what it takes for young people to enter it; reduced access to universal services; and widening margins between the haves and the have-nots. The author's discussion of better ways to meet the 'welfare' needs of young offenders, and the role that jurisdictional arrangements can play is placed within a human rights framework, with specific reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. He urges the continued development of creative options for diversion from formal criminal justice processing, and discusses 'care referral' under the Victorian Children and Young Persons Act 1989.
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