On April 1, the Victorian Government released the Youth Diversion Statement. It is a guiding document that outlines the continued transformation of the Youth Justice system and investment in crime prevention and diversion.
Youth diversion provides young people with pathways out of the justice system and supports them to address the underlying reasons for offending to help them get their lives back on track.
Evidence on youth offending shows that for most young people, early intervention and diversion from the justice system are the most effective approaches to reduce reoffending.
The Youth Diversion Statement shows that in 2020-21 Victoria had the lowest rate of total young people under Youth Justice supervision in the country (7.3 per 10,000 young people aged 10-17).
It also shows that over the past five years the sentenced custodial detention rate for children and young people reduced by 75 per cent from 0.8 in 2017 to 0.2 in 2021.
Keeping young people out of the criminal justice system requires a comprehensive approach. It involves coordination between Youth Justice, Victoria Police, local communities and the broader service system. Working together, they address young people’s developmental needs and factors such as childhood trauma, family violence, health issues, housing insecurity and other forms of disadvantage.