CREATE believes that the recent announcement of tough new action to target repeat youth offenders in Queensland does not address the causes of youth crime or the complex support needs that young people require.
Further investment in employment, education, mental health, and causes of disadvantage are crucial to make a real impact on the causes of youth crime. Former Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson’s Report on Youth Justice provides recommendations around early intervention, keeping children out of court and custody and reducing reoffending.
As CREATE Young Consultant, Emily, said “young people need rehabilitation, not incarceration” highlighting there is no silver bullet, quick-fix solution.
Young people that have come in contact with the justice system have often faced a range of disadvantage, trauma and lack of support. We know that young people in out-of-home care are 19 times more likely to be placed on a youth justice order compared to the general population (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017). They have often experienced trauma, instability and lack of support. What they need is more support, not further disadvantage.
In 2018, CREATE spoke with 136 young people who’ve had contact with the justice system. They highlighted the importance of early intervention and support and reducing the stigma around young people who are in the child protection and youth justice systems.
“They made me feel like a bad person, I don’t know why someone didn’t just sit down and talk to me about what was going on and why. I had no support, no one cared. If they had asked me why I could have told them why I was doing it and it might have been able to be fixed earlier” (Male, 24) (CREATE Youth Justice Report).