YNOT Submission on the Youth Justice Continuum of Care

Date: Fri, 09/08/2013

The Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT) welcomes this opportunity to provide a submission to Children and Youth Service’s comprehensive consultation paper A Continuum of Care: To Prevent Youth Offending and Re Offending.

The issue of youth justice reinvestment has long been of concern to YNOT and its members. YNOT has been a contributing member to the Ashley Youth Detention Centre Advisory Group, the Youth Justice Amendment Act Steering Committee and is now a member of the Expert Reference Group for Advocacy for Children in Tasmania.

The organisation has also actively lobbied on many areas concerning the legal rights of young people, including police searches of young people.

According to the National Children and Youth Law Centre’s (2004) Consultation Paper on Australia’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, “juvenile justice is an issue that is often the subject of political rhetoric and misinformation. These ’law and order actions’ can lead to punitive laws which do not accord with the Government’s stated aims of crime prevention and rehabilitation.”

As you will see, YNOT submits that the key to an effective youth justice system is a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion. Therefore, YNOT’s recommendations focus strongly on these areas of the Continuum of Care, to ensure that young people, to the greatest extent possible, avoid the prospect of detention. There is merit in many of the interventions across the spectrum that are outlined within the paper, the challenge is in recognising which to prioritise.

The following submission is YNOT’s response to selected questions from the consultation paper.