New Framework to reduce criminalisation of young people in residential care will help stem the levels of incarceration of Indigenous young people

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Date: 13 February 2020

New Framework to reduce criminalisation of young people in residential care will help stem the levels of incarceration of Indigenous young people

85 Aboriginal young people make up 23% of the residential care population in Victoria currently. Regrettably many of these young people will almost inevitably move into the adult prison system. Victoria Legal Aid (2019) found that 57% of young people in Residential Care will face criminal charges within a year with Aboriginal young people over-represented in this number.

VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett AO says “The launch of the Framework to reduce criminalisation of young people in residential care today is a welcome development which will lead to the reduction of the high levels of criminalisation of our young people”

“As one of the signatories of the Framework we are committed to doing everything we can to make this new approach work.” adds Muriel

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in residential care have already experienced a great deal of trauma in their lives before they enter residential care. A punitive approach to their rehabilitation in residential has been shown to fail and will inevitably lead to criminalisation.”

“This Framework offers an approach for VACCA to work with agencies including Victoria Police, State Government, the courts and our sector partners to de-escalate problems and work to address the trauma as we reconnect these young people to their communities and culture.”

The Framework will enable

  • Greater focus on understanding Aboriginal Communities – development and maintenance of relevant, appropriate and ongoing preventative supports and resources for Aboriginal families
  • Implementation of a new model of care (AHCCS) – tailored to better meet the needs of Aboriginal children and young people residing in residential settings
  • Children and young people remain safe, strong and connected to culture and their communities through Culturally Sensitive Programs 
  • Consider child’s voice
  • Divert Aboriginal children to ACCO and community-led programs (before and as a part of sentencing), rather than after being processed into the mainstream Juvenile justice system

The Framework is being launched by Ministers’ for Child Protection Luke Donnellan and Crime Prevention Ben Carroll, VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett AO and others today.

For all media queries contact VACCA Communications Manager Vanessa Morris: vanessam@vacca.org or 0457 153 850.

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