Indigenous youth justice programs evaluation

Content type
Commissioned report

November 2014


Jacqueline Stewart, Bodean Hedwards, Kelly Richards, Matthew Willis, Daryl Higgins

Commissioning Body

Attorney-General's Department

A report commissioned by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department.

The Australian Government has provided funding to evaluate the effectiveness of Indigenous law and justice programs across five subject areas to identify the best approaches to tackling crime and justice issues and better inform government funding decisions in the future. This report presents the findings of subject area "C", 'Diversion programs'. It examined the impact of four programs designed to divert Indigenous people from entering the justice system. The four programs sit at different points along a continuum, ranging from:

  • prevention (addressing known risk factors for offending behaviour),
  • early intervention (with identified at-risk young people),
  • diversion (diverting from court process - usually for first or second time offenders), and
  • tertiary intervention (treatment to prevent recidivism).

The programs evaluated were:

  • Aboriginal Power Cup, a sports-based prevention program in South Australia;
  • Tiwi Islands Youth Development and Diversion Unit, an early intervention and diversion program that engages Tiwi youth who are at-risk of entering the criminal justice system in prevention activities;
  • Woorabinda Early Intervention Panel Coordination Service, an assessment and referral program for early intervention and diversion, in Queensland; and
  • Aggression Replacement Training, a group cognitive-behavioural program for youth assessed as at risk of offending or re-offending, also in Queensland.

This report was authored by AIFS and Australian Institute of Criminology staff and published by the Attorney-General's Department of Social Services.