Youth Justice Services is committed to restorative justice principles and objectives contained in the Youth Justice Act 1997.
Restorative justice in practice requires Youth Justice Services to work with others to meet the needs of young people who socially offend to divert them from a criminal pathway. To this end the service is committed to working in an integrated and collaborative way with young people, parents and guardians, significant others and services within and without the Agency.
Restorative justice also encourages young people to take responsibility for their actions, and make reparation to victims of their crimes.
Early intervention aims to reduce the possibility that a young person will continue with offending behaviour. Also, intervening early in a young person's development can produce significant long term personal, social and economic benefits. Intervening early also produces significant financial savings, for both the young person and the wider community. Unsurprisingly, there is mounting evidence to suggest that early intervention is a more cost effective strategy than more conventional approaches to reducing crime.
Youth Justice Services helps young offenders give back to the community through the performance of public goods, such as land care programs and helping the aged. Skills learnt through doing public goods contribute to their rehabilitation and restoration to pro-social pathways. These orders are inherently diversionary in that they can and do lead young people away from criminal pathways.
In Youth Justice Services rehabilitation is helped by encouraging parents, guardians and the community to take responsibility and participate collaboratively in the restoration and rehabilitation of children and young people who have offended back into the local community.
Detention as a last resort
Through the Youth Justice Act 1997, Government has ensured detention is a last resort sentence and that loss of liberty must be for the shortest possible time. Children and young people who are in detention are still developing. Even short periods of detention have been shown to underpin lengthy and costly periods of time in the criminal justice system. Government is committed to early intervention and prevention and diversion as well as minimising the impact of detention on the development of children and young people.
Youth Justice is working on a number of fronts to improve its services to young people who are offending. In particular we have ongoing projects reviewing and improving our services on Community Service Orders, Community Conferencing and developing our operational guidelines and framework documents.
For information about these projects please contact Manager - Policy, Children and Youth Services on (03) 6233 8473.