The strategic vision for Youth Justice in Victoria
Our vision for Youth Justice in Victoria is for a leading youth justice system that:
- reduces offending by children and young people and improves community safety
- works with others to provide genuine opportunities for children and young people to turn their lives around.
The principles of Youth Justice in Victoria
Ten principles underpin the approach to Youth Justice in Victoria and this strategic plan. In this context, Youth Justice:
- Recognises that children and young people must be treated differently to adults and delivers developmentally distinct and appropriate services
- Understands that prevention, diversion and early intervention are the most effective and fiscally responsible ways of reducing youth crime in the long term
- Builds community confidence in the system and enhances community safety by delivering evidence-based programs that reduce young people’s offending
- Understands that Aboriginal self-determination and Aboriginal communities must be at the centre of efforts to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children and young people in Youth Justice
- Recognises that young people should be subject to the least restrictive intervention appropriate in the circumstances, with custody an option of last resort, cognisant of the need to keep the community safe in both the immediate and longer term
- Partners with families, services, police and the wider community to address the underlying causes of offending
- Builds on the strengths of children and young people to support their positive growth and development
- Supports young people to take responsibility for their actions and acknowledge the impacts of their offending on the victim and the community
- Delivers individualised services that are cognisant of young people’s age, gender, Aboriginal status, cultural background, family circumstances, health, mental health, disability and social needs, and sexuality and gender identity
- Recognises that our people are our strength and provides a safe and supported workplace, safe systems of work, as well as equipping staff with the skills and resources required to work effectively.
Reform directions for Youth Justice in Victoria
Over the next 10 years, we will focus on four reform directions:
- Improving diversion and supporting early intervention and crime prevention.
- Reducing reoffending and promoting community safety by supporting children and young people to turn their lives around.
- Strengthening partnerships with children and young people, families and all services and professionals who support their rehabilitation and positive development.
- Investing in a skilled, safe and stable Youth Justice system and safe systems of work.
Each of these directions will contain a set of objectives and supporting key actions for 2020–24. Throughout this plan, there are eight identified areas of focus for Youth Justice, each of which contain their own key actions mapped against the above reform directions. While presented as areas of focus, Youth Justice responds holistically to each child and young person, including addressing their intersecting needs and multiple layers of identity.