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Adopt & implement a justice reinvestment approach

Youthlaw calls on the Victorian government to:

1.    Adopt targets to reduce adult and youth imprisonment.

2.    Invest in evidence based effective programs to reduce crime including community driven justice reinvestment & early intervention & diversion.

3.  Pilot Justice Reinvestment in Victoria with a focus on children and young people

4.    Develop an integrated whole of government strategy to identify & address the needs of vulnerable & marginalised young people.
5.    Introduce policies and fund initiatives to decrease disengagement from school

6.    Introduce policies and fund initiatives that increase employment pathways & opportunities for young people.

 7. Fully fund and implement recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016) that recognise the importance of a youth specific response to young people using and/or experiencing family violence.

8. Adopt policy, protocols, practices, and training in child protection residential and out of home care that address trauma, promote well-being and reduce criminalisation (e.g. reduce police involvement in response to challenging behaviours of young people in care).

9.  Raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years to 14 years.

10. Introduce spent convictions legislation in Victoria to reduce life long impacts of having a criminal record.

Ensure police interactions with children and young people are respectful, professional and accountable 

11.   Arrange independent monitoring and evaluation of police training on interacting with children and young people.
12.   Require complaints against police be investigated independently of Victoria Police by an independent investigatory body such as a resourced and expanded Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

A fair & effective system designed to keep young people in the community (not in detention) whenever possible

13.    Reduce & expedite processing of the high number of young people un-sentenced in cells or detention on remand.
14.    Fund more bail support services to support and supervise young people to remain in the community

15.   Monitor & evaluate Youth Justice reforms passed in 2017 (including Youth Control Orders and Intensive Monitoring and Control Bail Supervision Scheme) and any additional reforms in 2018 to determine negative, discriminatory and net widening impacts.

Keep disadvantaged children and young people out of the fines system

16.  Facilitate the early exit of young people with special circumstances and without capacity to pay from the infringements system.

17.  The Victorian infringements system for children (CAYPINS) be reformed to prevent children from having contact with the court or criminal justice systems.


Respect, defend and promote the rights of children and young people in youth justice detention facilities

18.  Ensure the treatment of children in youth justice centres is independently monitored and scrutinised.

19.  Oppose the use of or introduction of punitive responses in detention, including solitary confinement, lockdowns etc. (i.e. adult justice style critical response teams & laws to allow OC spray, batons & restraint belts). Support this by professionalizing, training, supporting & investing in youth justice staff.

20. Urgently & substantially increase training of youth detention staff & require staff to have qualifications and experience commensurate with working with complex and traumatized young people.

21. Introduce comprehensive assessment of young people entering detention & this including those young people on remand.

22. Current or new youth justice facilities to have an operating model that has rehabilitation as the central focus & to be as small and as close to community as possible.

23. Adopt targets to reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children and young people in detention and ensure those in detention are connected to their culture and community.

24. Adequately fund and provide post detention transitional support for young people exiting youth.

A differentiated and specific response to young people under 25 years in the adult prison system.

25.  Fully reinstate the dual track sentencing alternative for vulnerable 18 to 20 year olds
26.  Adequately fund youth specific services and facilities for young people under 25 in adult prison.