Looking to NZ, USA, UK, Spain and Germany for ways to stop children and young people getting caught up in the criminal justice system

This is a guest blog by Laura Chipp, who has been awarded the Jack Brockhoff Foundation Churchill Fellowship for 2019.

I am about to embark on a huge piece of work, which no doubt will be close to the hearts of many colleagues in the youth justice/youth sectors, as it is mine. Recently I was formally awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship for 2019. The project is on legislating and enhancing a conditional child ‘caution’ scheme in 2020. I will be undertaking this project in my capacity as a Churchill Fellow.

I am very excited about further researching this topic and finding best practice from across the world. I tried to choose locations which were most comparable to our census data, demographics and social issues here in Victoria.

I have researched and submitted to study:
1) New Zealand – Wellington, Auckland
2) Spain – Madrid
3) Germany – Berlin
4) England – Birmingham, London
5) USA – in the Deep South (Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee) as well as New Jersey, New York.

My Churchill Fellowship analyses different diversionary programs Police can engage with and refer a child to through Police cautions and diversionary programs, at their first contact. It would provide many tools, processes and programs which could be offered to children on a case-by-case basis, with the aim to refer them to participate in proven and relevant programs, tailored to their personal circumstances. This is all pre-charge and out of Court.

This project could be life-changing for the child; as they will be diverted away from Court and the youth justice system and hopefully in doing so it would have a significant impact on the child as they would not have a criminal record.

My Fellowship is finding best international practice and an evidence base for creating an optimum legislated, conditional cautioning scheme for children under 18 years. I will also search and hopefully discover other best practices and programs to reduce criminal justice entrenchment in the category of ‘emerging adults’ (18-20 year olds) and time permitting, even up to 24 years old.

I want to find multiple best international approaches to apply different tailored working interventions. The project will hopefully identify the best way to reduce reoffending and increase the chance of engagement of the young person, in a timely more manner.

Your experience and input is absolutely critical in this important topic. I would grateful if you could assist me also with any great contacts and organisations that you know in my study five locations above. Your help will likely result in me being in the right places, with the right people.

Any contacts or suggestions you have, who could assist in this area, that would be fantastic! Please email me directly at ‪Laura.chipp@hotmail.com.

I am also hosting a “Cross Agency Youth Caution Workshop” in Melbourne on Tuesday 19 November 2019.

If you have experience and interest in the youth justice sector and would like to be further involved in my fellowship, please email me any ideas or names to me directly at laura.chipp@hotmail.com, with the following details:

1) Your name; 2) Email address; 3) Phone number (preferably mobile); 4) Job role and or organisation; 5) Your experience in this topic.

Thank you all in anticipation!


laura chipp
Laura Chipp

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