Most young people under juvenile justice supervision stay in the community

On an average day in 2006-07 around 6,000 young people in Australia were under juvenile justice supervision. Around 5,000 were in community-based supervision and about 1,000 were in detention, according to a new report, released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

'Four out of every 1,000 young people in the 10-17 years age bracket were in community-based supervision at some time during the year, while around 2 per 1,000 were detained,' said Ms Rachel Aalders of the Institute's Community Services Integration and Linkage Unit.

During the four years from 2003-04 to 2006-07, the overall number and rate of young people in supervision remained relatively stable, but while the number and rate of those in community-based supervision reached a four-year low in 2006-07, the number and rate of young people in detention reached a high point in 2006-07.

As in past reports, this report, Juvenile justice in Australia 2006-07, found that Indigenous young people continue to be over-represented in the juvenile justice system.

'Although only 5% of Australians aged 10-17 years are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, over a third (36%) of those who had supervision in 2006-07 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, Ms Aalders said.

'On an average day, over a third of those in community-based supervision and nearly half of those in detention were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people,' she said.

Of those aged 10-17 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were nearly 14 times as likely to have supervision in 2006-07 as non-Indigenous young people.

Indigenous young people in supervision are also more likely to be younger than non-Indigenous young people and they are more likely to have entered supervision for the first time at a younger age.

Of those aged 10-17 years in Australia, males were five times as likely to have supervision some time during the year as females. On an average day, 84% of those in community-based supervision were male and 92% of those in detention were male.

Two-thirds of those in supervision were aged 16 years or older and only 3% were aged 12 or younger.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Further information: Rachel Aalders, AIHW, 02 6244 1112, mob. 0407 915 851.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.