Early intervention & prevention
- Adopt a justice reinvestment approach to crime prevention by developing and implementing whole of government community-led, place based initiatives to tackle systemic disadvantage and address other drivers of child and adolescent offending and to strengthen children and families.
- Raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years to 14 years
- Adopt targets to reduce the overrepresentation in the criminal justice system of Aboriginal children and young people, over represented CALD background young people, and children with Out of Home Care experiences.
- Increase the provision of flexible and proactive mental health, substance abuse and homeless support services for vulnerable and marginalised young people.
- Increase investment in education pathways, programs and supports for young people at risk of or disengaging with mainstream education
Young people using or experiencing family violence
- Funding of therapeutic family violence for young people as recommended by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016) (VRCFV)
- Fund Adolescent Violence in the Home (AVITH) services & approaches to assist young people using or experiencing family violence, including legal services at court and pre-court.
- The family violence system addresses and rectifies common misidentification of a young person as the primary aggressor and/or failure to identify a young person as a victim
- Introduce legislative amendment to the FVPA so that the court needs to be satisfied of capacity of young person to understand an Intervention Order (IVO) before the court makes such an order
Young people in Out of Home Care
- In recognition of the high victimisation & criminalisation of young people in , and leaving Out of Home Care (OOHC) , fund advocacy services for those in care and for care leavers.
- All young people with an OOHC background to have free access to their care records & this be facilitated by the state.
- Implement and monitor the Framework to reduce criminalisation of young people in residential care (the framework), to promote trauma informed responses rather than policing responses to challenging behaviours of young people in care.
- Clarify the breadth of role of Youth Support Officers (YSOs) and monitor any unintended impacts of YSOs in their interactions with young people in care, especially in relation to protecting their privacy.
Unmet legal need
- All young people under 25 facing criminal charges have access to free legal representation.
Police interactions & accountability
- Police interactions with children and young people are minimal and conducted respectfully, professionally & accountably.
- Increased training of police to ensure professional and human rights based interactions with young people.
- Review of the YSO program to ensure it is being used for its funded purposes and not to monitor and intervene in the lives of vulnerable young people & net widening.
- Adequately fund an effective independent investigatory body that investigates all serious complaints against police including human rights breaches, excessive use of force and police shootings. (e.g. resource and expand IBAC)
The criminal justice system
- Fund & embed comprehensive assessment of disability at all stages of interaction with the criminal justice system.
- Legislate cautions in the new Youth Justice Act.
- Increased investment in state-wide diversion programs for children in the Children is Court and adequately fund the CISP program in the magistrate’s court to provide diversion/assistance to all who need it. Diversion programs to be flexible, trauma-informed, culturally relevant and available to all young people under 25.
- Reduce & expedite processing the high number of young people on remand & un-sentenced in cells or detention.
- Repeal or amend the Breach of Bail offence for young adults (under 25).
- Further amend the Bail Act in regard to children to so that they are exempted from certain offences related to bail, including failure to answer bail (s 30), committing and indictable offence while on bail (s 30B) and from having to show ‘compelling reasons’ and ‘exceptional circumstances’ why they should be granted bail (s 4C and 4A).
- Fund more bail support services to support and supervise young people to remain in the community.
The fines system
- A public health response to breaches of COVID19 restrictions including warnings and education, instead of fines. Fines to reflect a young person’s capacity to pay and be reviewed fairly and withdrawal of fines where appropriate.
- Facilitate the early exit of young people with special circumstances and without capacity to pay from the infringements system.
- The Victorian infringements system for children (CAYPINS) be reformed to prevent children from having contact with the court or criminal justice systems wherever possible, including introducing a sunset clause for children’s fines not registered with CAYPINS by Victoria Police.
- Support effective use of the Work Development Permits to work off fines.
Detention & prison
- Fully reinstate dual track sentencing for vulnerable 18 to 20 year olds.
- Respect, defend and promote the rights of children and young people in youth detention facilities.
- Ensure the treatment of children in youth justice centres is independently monitored and scrutinised in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT )
- Youth detention staff to have qualifications and experience commensurate with working with complex and traumatized young people.
- Comprehensive assessment of young people entering detention & support young people with disabilities in detention to access NDIS services
- Cherry Creek youth detention facility to have an operating model that has rehabilitation as the central focus.
- A differentiated & specific response to young people under 25 years in the adult prison system & adequately fund youth specific services and facilities for these young people.