Blueprint for Youth Justice in the ACT 2012-22

Annual Progress Report 2015

Section 1 Achieving the goals of the Blueprint

Blueprint GoalsTiles
Youth offending is reduced
Youth re-offending is reduced
Young people in detention
Types of detention served
Over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people is reduced
Children and young people are diverted from the formal youth justice system
Young people are helped early and provided with the supports and services they need
Young people are successfully reintegrated into the community upon leaving detention

The Blueprint was substantially developed during 2011-12 and released in August 2012. The data presented on the following pages provides a picture of young people in contact with the youth justice system in 2014-15, and a picture of how the ACT youth justice system has been performing:

Data is available to measure the performance of the youth justice system against the six goals of the Blueprint.

In most cases, the performance of the youth justice system is assessed using data from 2013-14, and 2014-15 where possible, as this is the most recent data available at the time of completing the report.

The data shows that in its first three years, the Blueprint has already achieved positive outcomes for young people and the youth justice system in the ACT. These early achievements are the result of significant investment and commitment to the strategies and actions in the three-year action plan.

Early intervention, prevention and diversion have been a key focus of this work, involving collaboration between police, courts and youth justice services.

Blueprint Goals

Detention rates are reduced.

The over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the youth justice system is reduced.

Children and young people are diverted from the formal youth justice system.

Children, young people and their families are helped early and provided with the supports and services they need.

Children and young people are given every possible chance to be successfully reintegrated into the community upon leaving detention.

Note: Numbers of young people for ‘all ages’ (i.e. aged 10-21 years if the offence was committed as a minor) during the year are primarily used in the report. ‘During the year’ is a financial year (e.g. 2011-12) measure that provides a count of the number of unique individuals who are supervised in a year. Rates of young people aged 10-17 on an average day are used for national comparisons. Data used is primarily sourced from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare 2015. Youth justice in Australia 2013-14: an overview AIHW bulletin 127. Cat. no. AUS 188. Canberra: AIHW.

Youth offending is reduced

This goal continues to be achieved as youth offending and the number of young people involved in the youth justice system is reducing.

Youth Offending

Young people apprehended

Since the development of the Blueprint, the number of young people entering the youth justice system through police apprehensions has decreased by 20 per cent (2011-12 to 2013-14).

This decrease is consistent with longer term trends that show that over a six year period (2009-10 to 2014-15) the total number of young people apprehended by ACT Policing declined by 46 per cent (Figure 1).

This long term trend reflects decreases in the number of apprehensions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people by 51 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively (Figure 1).

In 2013-14, a total of 4,201 charges resulted from police apprehensions of young people aged 10-21 years.

Figure 1: Total number of young people aged 10-21 apprehended by ACT Policing by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status

Figure1

Source: ACT Criminal Justice Statistical Profile, June 2015 Quarter, ACT Policing Tables 10- 11 & September 2015, ACT Policing Tables 5-6

This means that each police apprehension of a young person (10-21 years) in 2013-14 resulted, on average, in two charges being placed.

Over the last five years, young people were most likely to be charged in relation to justice procedure offences (3,960), followed by traffic and vehicle offences (3,955) and theft or theft related offences (3,224) (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Charges from apprehensions of young people (10-21) by ANZSOC offence* - 5 years to Sept 2015

Figure2

* List of ANZSOC offences are non-exhaustive and represent the seven most populated charge-types only

Source: ACT Criminal Justice Statistical Profile, September 2015, ACT Policing Table 14

Young people under supervision

Young people who enter the youth justice system can be ordered by a court to undertake a period of supervision. Young people may be supervised in the community or in detention.

In 2013-14, there was an estimated 58,790 young people in the ACT aged 10-21 years (Figure 3). Of these young people, 0.26 per cent were under community-based supervision and 0.15 per cent were in detention.

Figure 3: Young people under supervision in the ACT and Australia (all ages)

Figure3

* Source: ABS Population projection time series 3222.0, Australia, 2012, Tables A8 and A9, at 30 June 2014, accessed 24 July 2015

# Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Tables S36b and S74b

On an average day in 2013-14, there were 89 young people (all ages) under youth justice supervision in the ACT (Figure 4). Of these, about:

Figure 4: Young people under supervision on an average day by supervision type, gender and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, Australian Capital Territory, 2013-14(a) (all ages)

Figure4

(a) Number of young people on an average day is rounded, and some young people may have moved between community-based supervision and detention on the same day. Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Tables S1a, S37a and S75a

On an average day in 2013-14, almost nine in ten young people under supervision were aged 10-17, with most falling between 15-17 years (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Young people under supervision on an average day by age and sex in 2013-14 in the ACT (all ages)

Figure5

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S140a

The number of ACT young people, on an average day, under community-based supervision is 89. This is similar to the national trend, which shows that 85 per cent of young people under supervision were on community-based supervision (AIHW Australian Capital Territory, Youth Justice Factsheet no. 37).

Most young people who were under supervision during the year 2013-14, were aged between 14-17 years when they were first placed under supervision (Figure 6).

Of these young people, 77 per cent (103 out of 134) were non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and 22 per cent (30 out of 134) were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

This is a significant over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, as this group represents just three per cent of the ACT youth population aged 10-21 years (ABS, Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Australia, 2001-2026, Table 8).

Figure 6: Young people under supervision during the year 2013-14 by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status and age at first supervision (all ages)

Figure6

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S19

Trends in young people under supervision

Trend data shows that the number of young people under supervision in the ACT decreased by 28 per cent since the development of the Blueprint (243 to 174) with an overall decrease of 38 per cent from 2009-10 to 2013-14 (280 to 174) (Figure 7).

This long-term reduction is largely due to a decline in the number of young people experiencing youth justice supervision for the first time by 53 per cent (126 to 59) from 2009-10 to 2013-14 (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S16). This means that fewer young people are entering the youth justice system.

Figure 7: Young people under supervision during the year by supervision type in the ACT (all ages)

Figure7

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S11b, S46b and S84b

Young people under community-based supervision

Young people under community-based supervision may be supervised on un-sentenced (e.g. bail) or sentenced (e.g. good behaviour) orders.

On an average day in 2013-14, 82 per cent of young people under supervision in the ACT were supervised in the community (Figure 4). Of these young people, most (78 per cent) were serving a sentence (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S66a).

Since the development of the Blueprint, the number of young people under community-based supervision decreased by 29 per cent (215 to 153) (Figure 7). This is consistent with longer term trend data showing a decline in the number of young people under community-based supervision of 36 per cent from 2009-10 to 2013-14 (239 to 153) (Figure 8).

This long term trend is largely due to a decline in the number of young males under community-based supervision of 38 per cent (180 to 111) from 2009-10 to 2013-14 (Figure 8).

Nationally, on an average day in 2013-14, the ACT had the third lowest rate of young people (10-17) under community-based supervision, at 18.3 per 10,000 compared to the national rate of 19.7 per 10,000 (including WA and NT) (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, p5).

Figure 8: Number of young people under community-based supervision during the year in the ACT by gender (all ages)

Figure8

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S52b

Youth re-offending is reduced

This goal continues to be achieved as re-offending by young people on community-based orders is declining.

Youth ReOffending

Re-offending by young people

Reoffending, otherwise known as recidivism, by young people on community-based orders is measured by the number of young people who have been subject to more than one final supervised community-based order during the current and previous financial reporting year.

Recidivism by young people in detention is measured by the number of young people who have been subject to more than one sentence of imprisonment in the current and previous financial reporting years.

Since the development of the Blueprint, the recidivism rate of young people on community-based orders (the largest group subject to youth justice orders) has decreased by eight percentage points.

In contrast, for the same period, the recidivism rate of young people in detention increased by 13 percentage points.

However, this increase in recidivism rates over time incorporates a sharp decline in the recidivism rate of young people in detention by 14 percentage points over the 2013-14 to 2014-15 periods (Figure 9).

These rates for young people in detention fluctuate significantly due to the small number of young people in detention as compared to the number of young people under community-based supervision.

Higher levels of recidivism, combined with a decrease in the number of young people entering the youth justice system, may also indicate that detention is targeting young people in detention who have a more serious offending history.

Figure 9: Recidivism rates of young people under supervision in the ACT (all ages)

Figure9

Source: Community Services Directorate Quarterly Reports, Output 4.1 Unpublished data: 2014-15 CSD Quarterly Report

Detention ;rates are reduced

This goal continues to be achieved as fewer young people are entering and remaining in detention.

# Note: young people can be subject to both sentenced and un-sentenced detention concurrently

Detention Rates

Young people in detention

Since the development of the Blueprint, there has been a 35 per cent (135 to 88) decrease in the number of young people in detention in the ACT. This is consistent with longer term data trends showing a decline in the number of young people in detention of 49 per cent from 2009-10 to 2013-14 (173 to 88) (Figure 10).

This longer term trend is due to significant declines in the number of males (51 per cent) and females (44 per cent) who were in detention during the year, over the five year period (Figure 10).

Nationally, on an average day in 2013-14, the ACT had the third highest rate of young people (10-17) in detention, behind WA and NT, at 4.03 per 10,000 compared to the national rate of 3.5 per 10,000 (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S77a).

However, the ACT rate of detention in 2013-14 demonstrates a decrease from 4.36 per 10,000 in 2012-13 (including WA and NT) (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2012-13, Table S75a).

Figure 10: Number of young people in detention during the year in the ACT by gender (all ages)

Figure10

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S87b

Types of detention served

Young people in detention may be supervised on unsentenced or sentenced orders. When a young person is held in unsentenced detention, they have been charged with an offence and are awaiting the outcome of their court matter. When a young person is held in sentenced detention, they have been found guilty of an offence in a court and are serving a set period in detention.

Following the development of the Blueprint, the number of young people in unsentenced detention has declined steadily by 35 per cent from 127 to 83. Over the past four years, the number of young people in sentenced detention has declined by 27 per cent from 26 to 19, following a peak in 2010-11 (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Number of young people in detention during the year in the ACT by legal status (all ages)

Figure11

*The total is the total number of young people who were in detention during the year in the ACT. Young people may serve multiple types of detention during a single year.

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Tables S87b, S115b and S122b

On an average day in 2013-14, approximately half of the young people in detention in the ACT were serving a sentence (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S109a).

This is consistent with the national quarterly average over the last four years (2010 to 2014) showing that approximately half of young people in detention on an average night were serving a sentence (AIHW Youth detention population in Australia 2014, p11).

Time young people spent in detention

Over the life of the Blueprint, the length of time young people spent in detention has decreased by 60 per cent (8,347 to 3,331).

This rate of decline has been greatest over the last twelve months, where the number of nights young people spent in detention decreased by 43 per cent (5,878 to 3,331).

It is assumed that this is due to having fewer young people in detention and who have committed possibly less serious offences.

Conversely, longer term trend data shows that the length of time young people spent in detention increased by 36 per cent from 2009-10 to 2010-11 (6,379 to 8,676) prior to Blueprint development (Figure 12).

Figure 12: Number of nights served in detention by young people in the ACT

Figure12

Source: Productivity Commission (2016), Report on Government Services, Table 16A.12

Over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people is reduced

This goal is being achieved as the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the youth justice system is declining.

Over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people is reduced

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people under supervision

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people have a long history of over- representation in both the youth and adult justice systems in Australia.

This is evident in the ACT where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people constituted 3 per cent of the population aged 10-17 years in 2014, but comprised about one quarter (27 per cent) of young people (10-17) under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2013-14 (AIHW Australian Capital Territory, Youth Justice Supervision in 2013-14, p2).

Following the development of the Blueprint, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people under supervision in the ACT has declined by 35 per cent (66 to 43).This marks a change in trend, after a period of increase of 20 per cent from 2009-10 to 2011-12 (55 to 66) prior to Blueprint development (Figure 13).

Figure 13: Young people under supervision during the year in the ACT by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status (all ages)

Figure13

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S11b

During 2013-14, the ACT had the second-highest rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17) in youth justice supervision on an average day at 204.31 per 10,000 (excluding WA and NT). Importantly, the ACT rate has decreased by 41 per cent (347.68 to 204.31) following the development of the Blueprint (Figure 14).

Figure 14: Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people under supervision during the year in the ACT - all ages

Figure14

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S12a

Table 1: Over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17) under supervision by rate ratio in 2013-2014

Table1

Source:Calculated using rate data in AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S4a

While the number of young people in contact with the youth justice system has declined nationally, this decline was greater for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

This means that on an average day, the national level of over-representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (by rate ratio) increased over a 5 year period (2009-10 to 2013-14) from 13 to 15 times the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rate (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, p1).

In 2013-14, on an average day, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10-17 years in the ACT were 12 times as likely as non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to be under youth justice supervision. This is lower than the national average (15 times) (See Table 1).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people under community-based supervision

In 2013-14, there were 153 young people under community-based supervision in the ACT. Of these young people, 25 per cent (39) identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

The total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people under community-based supervision during the year increased by 30 per cent from 2009-10 to 2011-12 (46 to 60) but decreased by 35 per cent following Blueprint development (60 to 39). This decrease is largely due to a reduction in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males under community-based supervision of 43 per cent (46 to 26) from 2011-12 to 2013-14 (Figure 15).

Figure 15: Number of young people under community-based supervision during the year in the ACT by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status - all ages

Figure15

Total number of young people includes non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for whom cultural identity was not recorded.

Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S52b

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females under community-based supervision increased by 78 per cent from 2009-10 to 2012-13 (9 to 16). These numbers declined by 19 per cent from 2012-13 to 2013-14 (16 to 13).

Fluctuations in this data should be interpreted with caution due to the small numbers represented.

Nationally, on an average day in 2013-14, the ACT had the third lowest over representation (by rate ratio) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17) under community-based supervision, at 11 per 10,000 compared to the national rate of 14 per 10,000 (Table 2).

Table 2: Over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17) under community-based supervision by rate ratio in 2013-2014

Table2

Source: Calculated using rate data in AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S39a
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention

In the ACT, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are significantly over-represented in detention (sentenced and un-sentenced), as a proportion of the total number of young people in detention.

In 2013-14, there were 88 young people in detention in the ACT. Of these young people, 27 per cent (24) identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Figure 16).

The total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention increased by 28 per cent (39 to 50) from 2009-10 to 2010-11 but decreased by 47 per cent (45 to 24) from 2011-12 to 2013-14, following Blueprint development.

This decrease is largely due to a reduction in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in detention of 46 per cent (35 to 19) (Figure 16).

Figure 16: Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention during the year in the ACT - all ages

Figure16

# Total number of young people includes non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for whom cultural identity was not recorded. Source: AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, Table S90b

Across Australia, on an average day, the over-representation (by rate ratio) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17) in detention has increased over the 5-year period (2009-10 to 2013-14) from 21 to 24 per 10,000 (AIHW Youth Justice in Australia 2013-14, p1).

The level of over-representation (by rate ratio) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17) in detention in the ACT is unavailable due to the small numbers represented.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in unsentenced and sentenced detention

In 2013-14, 28 per cent of young people in unsentenced detention were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, and 32 per cent of young people in sentenced detention were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (Figure 17). This is a significant over-representation given that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people represent around two per cent of the ACT youth population (10-17 years).

Figure 17: Young people in detention during the year (2013-14) by detention type and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in the ACT - all ages

Figure17

Source: AIHW Youth justice in Australia 2013-14, Tables S114b and S121b

Time spent in detention by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people

Overall, the total number of nights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people spent in custody is decreasing.

At its highest, there has been a 72 per cent decrease in the number of nights young people spent in custody from 3,790 nights in 2010-11 to 1,064 nights in 2014-15.

Over the past year, the number of nights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people spent in detention decreased by 45 per cent from 1,951 nights in 2013-14 to 1,064 nights in 2014-15 (Figure 18).

Figure 18: Number of nights served in detention by young people in the ACT, by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status

Figure18

Source: Productivity Commission (2016), Report on Government Services, Table 16A.12

Children and young people are diverted from the formal youth justice system

This goal is being achieved as a consistent proportion of youth diversions continue, despite falling numbers of young people involved in the justice system.

Children and young people are diverted from the formal youth justice system

Young people diverted by ACT Policing

In the ACT, young people who come into contact with ACT Policing may be diverted away from the courts, where it is considered safe and appropriate to do so (e.g. where it is in the interests of the young person and public).

Diversion includes formal cautioning, protective custody, referral to group (restorative justice) conferences and other diversionary programs like drug assessment and treatment programs.

In 2013-14, ACT Policing diverted 40 per cent of young people who had formal contact with police due to offending, were diverted away from court.

The number of youth diversions as a proportion of offenders in the ACT has remained stable over the last five year period (Figure 19).

Figure 19: Youth diversions (10-17) as a proportion of youth offenders in the ACT

Figure19

Source: Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services 2015, Police Services Table 6A.39

In December 2010, the Early Intervention Drug Diversion Program commenced. The program diverted eligible young people who came to the attention of ACT Policing for under-age drinking and drug use away from the formal justice system to health assessment and information sessions.

This program has since been replaced by the Alcohol and Other Drugs Diversion Program which delivers separate Youth Alcohol Diversion (YAD) and Illicit Drug Diversion (IDD) programs to young people. Under a partnership agreement, ACT Policing divert eligible young people away from the courts and provide them an opportunity to participate in a health assessment and information sessions (facilitated by ACT Health).

In 2014-15, a total of 123 young people were diverted under the Alcohol and Other Drugs Program (Figure 20). Of these, 46 young people were referred to YAD, and 77 young people were referred to IDD.

Figure 20: Young people referred by ACT Policing to Alcohol and Other Drugs Program (Early Intervention Drug Diversion Program)

Figure20

Source: Justice and Community Safety Directorate, Property Crime Reduction Strategy (2012-2015) Progress Reports 2012-13 to 2014-2015; Unpublished ACT Policing 2014-15 data.

The number of young people diverted from the formal youth justice system under these respective programs has varied over time. As the number of young people eligible for diversion is dependent on the number of young people who come to the attention of police for eligible offences, this variability is to be expected.

Young people diverted from remand in detention

Where young people are not eligible for direct diversion from the courts, they may receive support from the After Hours Bail Support Service (AHBSS); known as the After Hours Crisis Service from 1 July 2015. AHBSS aims to assist young people who have come into contact with police, or are subject to bail order conditions. AHBSS works collaboratively with ACT Policing to divert young people in police custody away from short-term remand in detention while they are awaiting their court appearance.

In 2014-15, 16 young people who were in police custody were diverted away from remand in detention while awaiting their court appearance (Figure 21). This is a 45 per cent decrease in the number of young people who were successfully diverted away from remand in detention (29) since commencement of the AHBSS in 2011-12.

Figure 21: Number of AHBSS diversions from detention for young people

Figure21

*AHBSS commenced operations on 28 October 2011

Source: Community Services Directorate Annual Reports: 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14

This decline may be the result of:

Young people in restorative justice

ACT Policing is the primary referral source for young people referred to restorative justice (group conferences). The total number of young people referred to restorative justice declined from 2009-10 to 2013-14 by 40 per cent (217 to 130) (Figure 22). The decline was most substantial in the 2012-13 to 2013-14 year, when the total number of young people referred to restorative justice decreased by 43 per cent (227 to 130).

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people referred to restorative justice also declined from 2012-13 to 2013-14 by 11 per cent (62 to 55) and 52 per cent (157 to 75), respectively (Figure 22).

The decline in the number of young people referred to restorative justice may be due to:

Figure 22: Total number of young people referred to restorative justice by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status

Figure22

Source: Justice and Community Safety Directorate, Criminal Justice Statistical Profile, June 2014

While referrals of young people to restorative justice declined in 2013-14, more young people participated in restorative justice conferencing as a result of referral, when compared with 2012-13.

Table 3 shows there was a 30 per cent increase in the proportion of young people taking part in restorative justice in 2013-14 (57%) when compared with 2012-13 (44%).

Table 3: Proportion of young people and victims referred in 2013-14 that participated in restorative justice

Table3

Source: Justice and Community Safety Annual Report 2013-14, Output 1.1, p23

In 2013-14, 81 restorative justice agreements were established with young people with 91 per cent total compliance (compared to 85 per cent in the previous year).

This means that more young people participated in restorative justice in 2013-14 with a higher rate of compliance with their agreements, when compared to 2012-13.

Of the 81 agreements, 64 were complied with, 10 conferences satisfied the victims’ needs and further agreement was not required, and seven were not complied with (Table 4).

Table 4: Restorative justice agreement outcomes by young people in 2013-14

Table4

Source: Justice and Community Safety Annual Report 2013-14, Output 1. 1, p24

Young people are helped early and provided with the supports and services they need

This goal is being progressed as young people with risk factors that can increase vulnerability are provided with support to address their welfare, wellbeing and safety needs.

Young people are helped early and provided with the supports and services they need

Specific attention is given here to support provided to young people involved with the youth justice system, or who are vulnerable or at risk of exposure to harm. Broad, outcome-based reporting on early intervention across community services will be captured by work under the Human Services Blueprint.

Young people who accessed youth engagement services

Young people who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from family and other services, including education, are provided youth engagement services by various community organisations in the ACT. Youth engagement services are delivered through a range of strategies including drop-in, assertive engagement and street outreach. Young people are prioritised according to their level of disengagement and complexity of need. In 2014-15, 4,550 young people accessed youth engagement services. This shows that Approximately five per cent of children and young people in the ACT (0-17 years) were provided with early intervention and prevention services helping to address risk factors, including vulnerability or disengagement from family and other services.

Young people who received justice health services

Young people who are in contact with the youth justice system are supported by Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol and Drug Services. This support includes primary health services, assessments and care for young people with mental ill-health who have or are at risk of offending, hospital-based specialist services, therapeutic rehabilitation, counselling, supported accommodation and other community-based services. These services include Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), which provide mental health care to young people up to the age of 25 years experiencing moderate to severe mental health presentation.

In 2014-15, 94 per cent of all young people admitted to Bimberi had a health assessment completed within 24 hours of detention. This was due to four health assessments not being undertaken within the 24 hour period where:

Justice Health Services has commenced the 2015-2016 Young Persons in Custody Health Survey to further understand the health needs and outcomes of young people in detention. It is anticipated that 50 or more young people will participate, providing further information about the health, sexuality, education, employment, social circumstances, alcohol and other drugs exposure. This information will be used to inform future service provision.

Young people who received support from single case management

Young people are provided coordinated, single case management that focuses on their changing needs when in Bimberi or the community. This approach enables effective collaboration between agencies and improves planning when young people enter or exit custody, helping to achieve more positive outcomes for young people.

In 2014-15, 170 young people received support under single case management. This number has reduced by 35 per cent since commencement of the Blueprint (2011-12).
While this appears to be a significant reduction, it corresponds with similar reductions in the number of young people under youth justice supervision (28 per cent during the year from 2011-12 to 2013-14 (Figure 7).

Children and young people who received domestic violence crisis services

Children and young people can receive crisis support services through crisis visits when experiencing family or domestic violence.

Crisis visits are face-to-face interventions provided by the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) in immediate response to an incident of domestic or family violence to support those who are affected. DVCS crisis visits involving children occur when children are involved or present at a domestic violence incident.

Additional support services including early intervention, accommodation and longer-term support are also provided through ACT Housing’s Social Housing and Homelessness Services.

The proportion of children and young people (0 to 24 years) who received domestic violence crisis services increased by 7.7 percentage points across June quarters from 2011-12 to 2014-15 (Figure 23). This indicates that children and young people are an increasing proportion of all domestic violence crisis services clients.

Figure 23: Proportion (%) of children and young people as domestic violence crisis service clients

Figure23

Source: ACT Criminal Justice Statistical Profile, September 2015, Domestic Violence Crisis Service Table 1

Young people are successfully reintegrated into the community upon leaving detention

This goal is being progressed as young people are supported to develop skills to help them transition successfully into the community upon leaving the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre.

Young people are successfully reintegrated into the community upon leaving detention

Young people who attained qualifications in detention

Young people in detention at the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre (Bimberi) are supported to maintain engagement in education, build and maintain family ties and develop the living skills they need to reintegrate successfully into the community.

The Murrumbidgee Education and Training Centre (METC) at Bimberi provides a range of educational and vocational programs, including recognised certificate courses, tutoring and transitional support back into the community.

Young people are supported to complete their Year 10 Certificate (or equivalent), as well as a variety of nationally recognised qualifications in areas like construction, computing, hospitality, fitness, business and horticulture. Since 2011, a total of 127 young people have received nationally recognised qualifications through METC (Figure 25).

Figure 25: Number of METC students who attained nationally recognised qualifications \

Figure25

Source: Education and Training Directorate, ACT Government, unpublished internal data

The number of METC students who attained nationally recognised qualifications has reduced by 42 per cent, following the commencement of the Blueprint (2011 to 2014). While this appears to be a significant reduction, it

corresponds with similar reductions in the number of young people in detention of 35 per cent during the year from 2011-12 to 2013-14 (Figure 9).

The data above (Figure 25) presents general information about the number of young people who engage in these programs while in detention. It is not possible at this time, to link this data with information about the nature of these young people’s sentences, the length of detention experienced, or the re-offending rates following release.

Young people who have participated in Bendora Throughcare Unit

In August 2011, Bimberi launched the Bendora Throughcare program, a fourth residential unit that prepares sentenced young people to transition back into the community. The program provides young people with living skills training and planned leave from Bimberi in order to prepare for a successful community transition. A total of 21 sentenced young people have successfully transitioned through the program since it opened (August 2011).

In 2013, a Family Engagement Officer position was established in Bimberi to engage families and young people in detention and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in the day-to-day functioning of Bimberi. All young people and their families have been contacted by the officer and offered support to maintain family and community connections during the young person’s detention.

Young people supported by housing services

Young people are assisted by a range of housing and homelessness services, including Housing ACT’s Youth Housing Program. This program assists young people to sustain a long term tenancy and engage with education, employment and the community. The program supports young people aged 16 to 25 years who are transitioning from the youth justice system, care and protection or homelessness services.

The number of youth tenancies supported by the program has increased by nine per cent from 2011-12 to 2013-14 (Figure 26). This increase also reflects expansion of the program to all young tenants aged 16 to 20 years in 2014.

Figure 26: Number of young people supported by the Youth Housing Program

Figure26

Source: Community Services Directorate Annual Reports: 2009-10; 2010-11; 2011-12; 2012-13; 2013-14; 2014-15

Young people supported to transition from out of home care

Young people aged 18 years who have been in out of home care, including young people who may also be exiting the youth justice system, were supported by the Youth Support and Transition Team (established in 2012-13), to transition into independent living. This support includes access to practical support, brokerage funding, mentoring and living skills development. This team provided direct support to 101 young people in 2012-13, 119 young people in 2013-14 and 161 young people in 2014-15.

The implementation of Child and Youth Protection Services in July 2015 provided the opportunity to offer a broader service system response to these young people with case workers able to case manage and support these young people from 12 years of age.

In addition, under A Step Up for Our Kids carers can now continue to access carer subsidy payments for young people aged 18 to 21 years, extending the continuum of care for young people and supporting a gradual transition to adulthood.

Forward to Section 2 - Progress on actions

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