Save Children calls on Qld MPs to vote down youth justice changes

Save the Children is urging Queensland MPs to vote down the proposed youth justice changes, being introduced into parliament this week.

The bill will propose the introduction of GPS monitoring of children, which has little evidence of success except in tracking sex offenders.

Matt Gardiner, Save the Children’s Executive Director of Australian Services said the Queensland Government needed to look at what actually works and to work collaboratively with young people instead of rushing through measures that won’t work.

“We want safer communities for the people of Queensland, for children,” said Mr Gardiner.

“The measures announced by the Queensland Government are a clear breach of child rights. Children involved in the youth justice system are some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children in our country, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Queensland’s own Human Rights Act requires a child who has been convicted of an offence must be treated in a way that is appropriate for the child’s age.

“The proposal put forward by the Queensland Government is an entirely political, knee-jerk reaction which will humiliate already vulnerable children and simply won’t work.

“There is no evidence that electronic monitoring reduces offending by children. The most effective measures are those that change patterns of behaviour and underlying factors leading to offending behaviour, such as lack of impulse control or empathy for others.

“Stigmatising children by forcing them to wear ankle bracelets will not achieve this. Initiatives such as our Youth Partnership Program and the Mobile Youth Vans are examples of early intervention programs that work.

“We work collaboratively with young people, police, schools and communities to keep kids out of the criminal justice system through engaging them through education, digital media, art, sport and culturally appropriate activities to improve their health and wellbeing, build positive social networks, confidence and life skills.

“Queensland should be looking at investing and expanding early intervention programs in the same way that other states have to create safe communities.

“We’re expecting the Premier, Children’s Commissioner and Human Rights Commissioner to uphold the Rights of the Child as they are enshrined in the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019.”

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