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Young people living in geographically remote areas or areas of low socioeconomic status are more likely to be under juvenile justice supervision than those in major cities or areas of high socioeconomic status, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Juvenile justice in Australia 2008-09, presents information on young people in detention and under community-based supervision.

‘For the first time, the report looks at the remoteness and socioeconomic status of the residences of young people,’ said report author Ms Rachel Aalders.

‘It shows that on an average day in 2008-09, young people from very remote areas were about 6 times as likely to be under community-based supervision and 5 times as likely to be in detention than their counterparts living in major cities.

‘Similarly, young people from areas of low socioeconomic status were about 5 times as likely to be under community-based supervision as those from areas of high socioeconomic status, and almost 6 times as likely to be in detention.’

Including estimates for Western Australia and the Northern Territory, for which standard data were not provided, on an average day in 2008-09, there were around 7,200 young people under juvenile justice supervision.

Most of these (about 6,200) were under community-based supervision, while about 1,000 were in detention.

Most young people under supervision were men (about 85%). Overall, young men were almost 5 times as likely to be under community-based supervision on an average day as young women, and close to 9 times as likely to be in detention.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people continue to be over-represented in the juvenile justice system.

Although only about 5% of young Australians are Indigenous, almost 40% of those under supervision on an average day in 2008-09 were Indigenous. This over-representation was even higher in detention, where half (50%) were Indigenous Australians.

The overall numbers and rates of young people in both community-based supervision and detention increased slightly over the 4 years to 2008-09.

‘Between 2005-06 and 2008-09, the rate of young people under supervision increased from 22 young people per 10,000 to 25 per 10,000,’ Ms Aalders said.

Canberra, 14 April 2011

Further information: Ms Rachel Aalders, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1112, mob. 0407 915 851

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

Full report: Juvenile justice in Australia 2008-09