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ACT makes gains in youth justice

The Australian Capital Territory is seeing improvement in youth justice outcomes, despite a concession that more can be done, according to a new report.

user iconGrace Ormsby 22 May 2019 The Bar
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Reviewing the Blueprint for Youth Justice in the ACT 2012-2022, the Blueprint for Youth Justice Taskforce’s role is to consider progress on youth justice reform in the territory.

The taskforce’s final report, released last week “shows that an increased focus on early support, prevention and diversion of young people from the youth justice system is delivering results”, a statement said.

According to the report, there has been a 27 per cent decrease in the number of young people under youth justice supervision since 2011-12, the report said.


Over the same period, it was noted that there had been a 33 per cent decrease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders under supervision in the youth justice system.

All up, there has been a 37 per cent decrease in the amount of young people apprehended by ACT policing.

The report also highlighted that over the last six years, there has been a 17 per cent decrease of young people in detention, with a more than 45 per cent decrease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarcerations.

While numbers are looking positive, a statement from the taskforce conceded “there is more work to be done”, with the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the youth justice system remaining a critical focus of the government.

Ten focus areas have seen recommendations made by the report’s authors “to inform the future direction of the ACT youth justice system”, with the recommendations identifying existing initiatives to be built on, and the addressing of new and emerging challenges, it was noted.

Recommendations include achieving of better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, enhanced support for young people at risk of disengaging from education, the development of early support for young people, the strengthening of diversion programs and services for young people at risk of contact with or further engagement in the youth justice system, and the provision of whole-of-family support for families involved with the justice system “to address the intergenerational impact of offending”.

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