Appropriate interventions for children and young people

Appropriate interventions for children and young people

It is important to ensure that the legal system has tailored support and interventions for children and young people, due to the vulnerability and special needs of this group. Ensuring children are provided with therapeutic and diversionary support is critical to reducing the likelihood of legal problems into adulthood.

We have significant practice experience and expertise relating to children’s experience of the criminal justice and child protection systems, which informs our advice to government and reviewing bodies about the development of policy and implementation of programs in these areas.

Justice and law reform activities

Submission to Parliamentary Inquiry on Youth Justice Centres in Victoria – March 2017

In our submission made in March 2017, we made a number of recommendations aimed at reducing the number of young people on remand and improving youth justice centres in Victoria. Our recommendations are based on the view that the way the criminal justice system treats children and young people can have a positive or profoundly negative effect on their rehabilitation, and that the experience of detention can exacerbate the disadvantage experienced by many young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Read our Submission to Parliamentary Inquiry on Youth Justice Centres in Victoria (docx, 204.12 KB).

Home Stretch campaign for out-of-home care until 21 – April 2017

We support the national campaign to offer state care to young people until they are 21. This would benefit the young people the state is caring for, while also saving the justice system valuable funds. Learn more about the campaign on the Home Stretch website.

Read our Letter to the Attorney-General in support of Home Stretch campaign (pdf, 322.58 KB), or the accessible Word version (137.47 KB).

Child safety and wellbeing information sharing consultation – January 2017

We made a submission to the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s consultation about a new legislative regime for sharing information about children and about a proposal to collect information about every child on a Child Link database. We requested broader consultation about these significant changes. We also emphasised the importance of best practice information sharing that encourages people to seek help when they need it.

Read our Submission to the Consultation paper: Proposed legislative model for child safety and wellbeing information sharing (docx, 135.77 KB).

Child Protection Permanency Amendments Inquiry – November 2016

We made a submission to the Commission for Children and Young People’s inquiry into child protection law changes that came into effect in March 2016. The changes sought to ensure that decisions about the care of vulnerable children are made in a timely way, and promote permanency of care arrangements.

Our submission says that the amendments are not having the intended impact. We recommend a range of changes, to focus on early access to supports and services, particularly in regional Victoria, and to remove fetters on the legal system’s ability to act in children’s best interests.

Read our Submission to the Child Protection Permanency Amendments Inquiry (docx, 2.56 MB).

Improving the justice system for families with complex needs – April 2015

In 2015 we made two submissions to the Family Law Council about families with complex needs.

Read about our recommendations to improve the justice system.

Parliamentary inquiry into proposed changes to child protection laws – June 2015

In our submission made in June 2015, we recommend the passage of the Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Restrictions on the Making of Protection Orders) Bill 2015. We believe the Bill retains requirements that, before a protection order is made, the Children’s Court be satisfied all reasonable steps have been taken by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide services in the best interests of a child. We also make a number of recommendations to further amendments to the Children’s, Youth and Families Act 2005. Where appropriate and in the best interests of the child, these amendments aim to remove unnecessary impediments to family reunification.

Read Submission to parliamentary inquiry into proposed changes to child protection laws (doc, 305.5 KB).

Parliamentary inquiry into sexting – July 2012

In our submission made in July 2012, we recommended a two-pronged response to sexting:

  • to deliver education to foster respectful relationships between young people and to improve awareness of the legal implications of sexting
  • to deliver law reform to mitigate the unintended consequences of sexual offence laws.

Read Submission to the Parliament of Victoria Law Reform Committee Inquiry into Sexting (doc, 312.5 KB).

The final Inquiry into sexting: report and response was tabled in May 2013.

Submission on improving youth diversion for young people – September 2012

In our submission made in September 2012, we highlight the benefits of adopting therapeutic and diversionary approaches to youth offending in lowering recidivism rates.

Read Submission on discussion paper on improving diversion for young people in Victoria (Department of Justice) (doc, 326 KB).

Protecting Victoria's vulnerable children – July 2011

In our submission made in July 2011 and in oral evidence to the inquiry, we made a number of recommendations to improve the child protection system, with a greater focus on early intervention and minimising unnecessary distress for children.

Read Submission to the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry (doc, 368 KB).

The final Report of the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry was tabled in February 2012.