We have an opportunity to return Victoria to its previous position as leading the country in humane, effective and evidence based approaches to young people in trouble in a way that holds them truly accountable for their actions, gives them hope to transform their lives, stops children progressing to a life of adult crime and reduces the number of future victims. [..]
Addressing the drivers of offending is the best way to build stronger communities. We believe more needs to be done in order to effectively reduce the trauma, discrimination and inequality that leads some children and young people to get in trouble [..]
Last week, our network endorsed a joint statement along with 17 other signatories, which was emailed to Minister Ben Carroll Minister for Crime Prevention, Corrections, Youth Justice and Victim Support and David Southwick MP (Shadow Minister for Police; Community Safety; and Corrections).
In part it reads:
‘As experts with deep experience seeking solutions and working with people intersecting with the justice system, as well as their families and communities, we call on the Victorian Government to adopt and put into action the following key principles for an effective and humane youth justice system:
- Incarceration as a last resort, including raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years of age
- Focus on early intervention and diversion
- Listening to the voices of people and their families
- Developmentally appropriate approaches to children and young people
- Addressing the disproportionate number of children and young people with a care experience who get caught up in youth justice and detention
- Recognising the importance of culture and country for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Connection to families, communities and culture
- Thorough assessment and planning
- Addressing offending behaviour
- Addressing mental health, substance abuse and other health and wellbeing needs
- Strong framework of support and accountability
- Restorative justice approaches
- Education and training focus that builds practical and social skills for re-socialisation, and builds skills for future employment opportunities
- Holistic and appropriate wrap-around support services are available for those exiting youth detention in order to assist their reintegration into the community.’
You can read more about the joint statement in today’s Herald Sun here. (paywall)
Read the full joint statement here.
Do you support the statement? What do you think should be priority principles? Is there any other principle you think we need to include?
We welcome your views in our comments section below.