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Of all young people aged 10-17 under youth justice supervision over a 12 year period, most were likely to experience only community-based supervision, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Pathways through youth justice supervision, explores the types of youth justice supervision experienced by particular cohorts of young people between 2000-01 and 2012-13. By far, the most common supervision pathway was one that contained only sentenced community-based supervision-experienced by almost 2 in every 5 young people (38%) in the cohort. The next most common pathway involved unsentenced detention only (11%).

For each young person under supervision, a pathway was constructed based on their experience of 4 broad supervision types-unsentenced community-based supervision, sentenced community-based supervision, unsentenced detention and sentenced detention.

Sentenced community-based supervision includes a range of actions designed to divert young people from being involved in detention-which is the more serious end of the system. These include, for example, probation, parole and supervised release orders.

'The report shows that young people who experienced sentenced community-based supervision were the least likely to go on and experience another form of supervision, while pathways that involve detention were more complex,' said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.

'Despite the fact that around 1,000 young people are in detention on any given day across Australia, the number of pathways involving detention is relatively small. However, we found that young people whose first youth justice supervision was of a more serious nature were more likely to have continued youth justice supervision contact across all types of supervision.'

Young males, young Indigenous people, young people aged 10-14 at first supervision and those who experienced sentenced detention at some point were more likely than their counterparts, to have more complex, varied and serious (that is, containing detention) pathways through supervision.

The pathways young people take through youth justice supervision may vary for several reasons. This may be due to a number of factors that include differences in youth justice policies and practices between jurisdictions, the offending behaviour of the young person, personal circumstances (including child abuse and neglect; disability; socio-economic status; and homelessness), and the availability of early intervention and rehabilitation programs.

The report also found that over half of the cohort (52%) experienced only one type of supervision during their entire period of contact with the system.

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 July 2014

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

Full publication: Pathways through youth justice supervision