Almost 7,000 young people are under youth justice supervision on an average day

On an average day in 2011-12, there were almost 7,000 young people aged 10 and older under youth justice supervision in Australia due to their involvement or alleged involvement in crime. Most (83%) were male and the majority (79%) were aged 14-17. Indigenous young people were over-represented-although less than 5% of young Australians are Indigenous, 39% of those under supervision were Indigenous.

Among all those aged 10-17 in Australia, this equates to a rate of 26 young people under supervision on an average day per 10,000 in the population, or 1 in every 385 young Australians.

Most young people are supervised in the community

Almost 6,000 (86%) young people were supervised in the community on an average day in 2011-12, and the remaining 1,000 (14%) were in detention. However, 2 in every 5 young people (41%) under youth justice supervision in Australia were in detention at some time during the year.

Young people spend an average of 6 months under supervision

The median duration of periods of youth justice supervision was about 11 weeks (78 days). Periods of community-based supervision completed during 2011-12 were typically longer (84 days, on average) than both unsentenced (4 days) and sentenced detention (55 days).

Some young people experienced more than one supervision period during the year. When all the time spent under supervision during 2011-12 is considered, young people spent an average of about 6 months (185 days) under supervision.

Trends are stable, but vary among the states and territories

Nationally, the rates of young people aged 10-17 under supervision on an average day remained relatively stable (about 26-27 per 10,000) over the 4 years to 2011-12. This stability occurred in both community-based supervision and detention.

However, there were differences in trends among the 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 is not available for Western Australia and the Northern Territory as standard data were not provided.