New report examines ‘pathways’ through youth justice supervision

A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that a relatively small group of young people accounts for a significant portion of all periods of youth justice supervision.

The report, Pathways through youth justice supervision: further analyses looks at the youth justice supervision history of 24,102 young people (aged 10-17) who were under supervision at some point between 1 July 2000 and 30 June 2014.

It shows that half the young people under youth justice supervision spent less than 10 months under supervision, and the other half had longer periods. Half had one or two periods of supervision and the other half had three or more.

'For some young people, the pathway through youth justice supervision is longer and more complex,' said AIHW spokesperson Justine Boland.

'About 11% of young people had a pathway that was considered "extensive"-that is, it involved two or more years and seven or more periods of supervision,' she said.

These young people accounted for about one-third (32%) of the total days of supervision, and nearly half (45%) of all supervision periods.

Young people with extensive pathways were more likely than those with non-extensive pathways to be male (87% compared with 79%) and Indigenous (51% compared with 25%).

'They were also more likely to have first entered supervision at a younger age-82% of young people with extensive pathways first entered supervision aged 10-14, compared with 20% of those with non-extensive pathways,' Ms Boland said.

The total time young people spent under supervision varied among the states and territories-from an average of 215 days in South Australia, to 374 days in Queensland.

Australia's youth justice system manages children and young people who have committed, or allegedly committed, an offence. Youth justice supervision can occur in the community or in detention.

Young people may be supervised when they are unsentenced (that is, when they have been charged with an offence and are awaiting the outcome of their court matter), or when they have been found or pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. However, most of those under supervision have been proven guilty in court and sentenced.

Nationally, the most common pathway was sentenced community supervision only-more than one-third (37%) of young people experienced this pathway, though proportions varied substantially among the states and territories-from just 8% of those in the Australian Capital Territory to 58% in Tasmania.

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.


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