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Young people under youth justice supervision typically spent about 6 months either in the community or in detention, in 2011–12, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Youth justice in Australia 2011–12: an overview, provides information on young people aged 10 and older under youth justice supervision in Australia due to their involvement or alleged involvement in crime.

It shows the median duration of periods of supervision that were completed during 2011–12 was 78 days, or about 11 weeks.

'Some young people experienced more than one supervision period during the year, and when all the time spent under supervision during 2011–12 is considered, young people spent an average of about 6 months, or 185 days under supervision,' said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.

'This was very similar to the average time spent under supervision in 2010-11.

'However, relatively few young Australians are involved in the youth justice system.'

On an average day, almost 7,000 young people are under youth justice supervision—equating to a rate of 26 per 10,000, or 1 in every 385 young people.

Of these, most are supervised within the community rather than in detention.

'In 2011–12, about 6,000, or 86%, of young people under supervision were supervised in the community on an average day and the remaining 1,000, or 14%, were in detention,' Mr Beard said.

Most young people involved in the youth justice system were male (83%), and the majority (79%) were aged 14–17.

'Of concern is that Indigenous young people remain overrepresented,' Mr Beard said.

'Although less than 5% of young Australians are Indigenous, 39% of those under supervision in 2011–12 were Indigenous.'

Nationally, the rate of young people under supervision remained stable over the 4 years to 2011–12, both in community-based supervision and in detention.

However, there were differences in trends among states and territories.

Between 2008–09 and 2011–12, rates of young people under supervision on an average day increased in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, and decreased in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. Information was not available for Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 30 April 2013

Full publication: Youth Justice in australia 2011-12: an overview 

Further information: Mr Tim Beard, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1270, mob. 0418 271 395

For media copies of the report: 02 6249 5033 or email Helpdesk-Media@aihw.gov.au