The Victorian Government has today launched a new plan to boost community safety and support young Victorians who interact with the youth justice system to help turn their lives around.
The Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-2030 sets out a path to reduce offending, strengthen diversion and early intervention, boost workforce support and safety, better support and involve victims of crime, and create opportunities for children and young people to live productive lives through education, training and employment.
The plan focuses on investing in and supporting frontline youth justice workers so they can continue their essential work – proactive recruitment and retention initiatives, strengthened professional learning and training opportunities, and a focus on promoting safer working environments.
The plan will implement outcomes from the ongoing national review of the age of criminal responsibility currently being led through the Council of Attorneys-General. The review is considering whether the age of criminal responsibility for children and young people aged 10-14 should be maintained.
The plan also sets a framework to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the youth justice system, alongside the upcoming Aboriginal Youth Justice Strategy led by the Aboriginal Justice Caucus.
It also outlines a pathway to reduce the over-representation of culturally and linguistically diverse groups, including children and young people from South Sudanese, Maori and Pacific Islander communities.
The plan also recognises the significant impact that youth offending has on victims, and identifies measures to give victims more of a say including through restorative justice interventions.
The Government’s investment of more than $1.2 billion to overhaul youth justice includes additional staff, expanded programs and services, infrastructure upgrades and new units at Parkville and Malmsbury, as well as the construction of a new facility at Cherry Creek.
The plan has been informed by engagement between youth justice and key service delivery partners, sector participants, stakeholders and community members from overrepresented groups and young people. It responds to recommendations from the Armytage-Ogloff Youth Justice Review and Strategy.
As stated by Minister for Youth Justice Ben Carroll
“While youth offending in Victoria is lower than at any time in the past decade, we know there is more work to do – when young people commit crimes there are unacceptable consequences for victims and their families.”
“Our plan will prevent crime, reduce reoffending and provide genuine opportunities for children and young people to turn their lives around.”
“None of this is possible without our hard-working staff, and this plan will ensure they are safe and supported to undertake their life-changing work.”