Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity, and of entering the youth justice system. A better understanding of the characteristics and pathways of children and young people who are both in the child protection system and under youth justice supervision can help support staff, case workers, and policymakers to get the best outcomes for these children and young people.
Using data from the linked child protection and youth justice supervision data collections, this report presents information on young people who had received child protection services, and had also been under youth justice supervision at some time between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017.
To ensure all possible youth justice supervision is included across the 4-year period, the cohort includes young people who were aged 10–14 on 1 July 2013—that is, young people who were aged between 10 and 17 within the time period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2017.
Results are limited to the 6 jurisdictions with data in both child protection and youth justice national minimum data sets—a total of 52,444 young people (48,379 from child protection and 7,776 from youth justice data sets). These 6 jurisdictions account for 57% of those aged 10–17 receiving child protection services and 70% of those under youth justice supervision in 2016–17.
Young people who had received child protection services were 9 times as likely as the general population to have also been under youth justice supervision
Between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017, 7.7% of those who received child protection services (3,711 young people) had also been under youth justice supervision at some point during the same 4-year period, compared with 0.8% of the general population.
The level of youth justice supervision was 13.7% for those in out-of-home care; 13.4% for those under care and protection orders; and 7.3% for those who had been the subject of an investigated notification of child abuse and neglect.
Nearly half of those under youth justice supervision had also received child protection services
Between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017, 47.7% of those under youth justice supervision (3,711 young people) had also received child protection services during the period. This is 9 times the rate of child protection for the general population.
As this is the overlap for a 4-year period among young people aged 10–17, the actual level of interaction between these 2 sectors over time is likely to be higher. As years of data accumulate, the full level of overlap can be measured.
Those in detention were more likely to have received child protection services (53.0%) than those under community-based supervision (48.0%). The younger people were at first supervision, the more likely they were to also have received child protection services during the period (68.3% of those aged 10 at first supervision, compared with 22.8% of those aged 17).
Of those who had received both child protection services and youth justice supervision, most had child protection first
Of the 3,711 young people who had received both child protection services and youth justice supervision between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017, most (81.7%) had received child protection services as their first contact during the measurement period.
Females under youth justice supervision were more likely than males to also receive child protection services
Between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017, two-thirds (64.2%) of the females under youth justice supervision had child protection services at some time during the same period, compared with 2 in 5 (42.5%) of males. This means that young females under youth justice supervision were 1.5 times as likely to have had child protection services as males.
Young Indigenous Australians were more likely than their non-Indigenous counterparts to have received both child protection services and youth justice supervision
Between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017, young Indigenous Australians aged 10–17 were 17 times as likely as their non-Indigenous counterparts to have been in both the child protection system and under youth justice supervision.
Preliminary material: Acknowledgments
- What is child protection?
- What is youth justice supervision?
- Report structure
2 Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision
- Overlap between child protection and youth justice supervision
- Type of first contact
- Overlap by state and territory
3 Young people in the child protection system
- Overlap with youth justice
- Investigated notifications
- Care and protection orders
- Out-of-home care
4 Young people under youth justice supervision
- Overlap with child protection
- Community-based supervision
- Age at first youth justice supervision
5 Future reporting
- Data availability for states and territories
- Longitudinal analyses of pathways and links
- Other data collections
Appendix: Linkage method
End matter: References; List of supplementary tables; List of figures; Related publications