Commission releases Child Guardian Report: Youth Justice System 2011–12
Significant effort is required to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Queensland’s youth justice system, according to evidence contained in the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian’s latest oversight report.
The Commission today released its Child Guardian Report: Youth Justice System 2011–12,which outlines the Commission’s monitoring of outcomes and experiences of young people in the Queensland Youth Justice System.
The Report uses the Commission’s Youth Justice Monitoring Framework domains: Youth Offending and Prevention, Diversions; and Supervision, Intervention and Re-integration and provides a unique insight into service delivery to young people across each phase of the youth justice system.
The Report acknowledges that young people in contact with the youth justice system are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in Queensland society; this is particularly evident by the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and the large proportion of young people who are contemporaneously known to both the child protection and youth justice systems.
Some of the key findings for the 2011-12 reporting period include:
- The disparity between experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10 to 17 years when compared with non-Indigenous young people of the same age is significant. Offences by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were 17 times more likely to result in an Arrest by police, 12 times more likely to result in Childrens Court proceedings, 19 times more likely to result in a youth justice supervision order to be given by the courts, and 33 times more likely to result in a sentenced detention order. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10 to 13 years were detained in un-sentenced Detention (including Remand) at a rate 29 times that of non-Indigenous young people the same age.
- The rate of Cautions given to young people aged 10 to 16 years in response to offences has decreased by 20% over the 2009–12 reporting period, while conversely the rate of Arrests in response to offences by young people the same age has risen by 30%. However, Arrest and Caution actions in response to offences by young people aged 17 years remained relatively stable across the same reporting period.
- Of the 2,282 referrals to Youth Justice Conferences in 2011–12, only 33.9% (774) of the referrals involved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. When surveyed, 98.2 per cent of participants (including victims) were satisfied with the outcome of the conference.
- Together, young people aged 15 and 16 years accounted for more than half (61.3%) of young people admitted to youth justice orders.
- The combined youth justice regions of Far North Queensland, North Queensland and Central Queensland accounted for more than two-thirds (68.3%) of all admissions to Detention Orders.
- As at 30 June 2012, 72% of children and young people in the youth justice system were also known to the child protection system. Further, over the period 2009–12, there was a 14.8% increase in the number of young people who were on dual orders – that is a young people who were the subject of a finalised Child Protection Order (for more than 12 months) and were also admitted to a Supervised Youth Justice Order. In addition, almost 5% of the total population of young people aged 17 years who were subject to a finalised Child Protection Order during 2011–12, were also subject to orders in the adult correctional system.
For the purposes of this year’s Report, administrative data relating to service provision in the youth justice system has been provided by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s youth justice services and courts programs, the Queensland Police Service, the Department of Community Safety, the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.
Some data measures that were included in the Commission’s previous report used departmental data, which have not been able to be provided in this year’s report due to changes in data collection and warehousing systems. As a consequence, trend comparison of administrative data provided by youth justice services were not able to be made because of changes in counting methodologies between the new and old data warehousing systems. In this regard, the Commission has made use of Australian Institute of Welfare data to provide trend data where appropriate.
For further information, please view the Child Guardian Report: Youth Justice System 2011–12 report webpage, which contains the full report (PDF, 1.36MB) and summary (PDF, 311KB) of the report highlights.
Last Updated: January 10, 2014