Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity and entering the youth justice system. A better understanding of the characteristics and pathways of children and young people who are both in the child protection system and under youth justice supervision will assist support staff, case workers and policy makers to achieve optimal outcomes for these children and young people. With the recent introduction of a national unit record child protection data collection, it is now possible to link child protection and youth justice supervision data to explore the relationships between child protection and youth justice supervision.
This report presents information on young people aged 10-17 who were involved in the child protection system and who were subject to a youth justice supervision order in 2013-14 using data from the linked child protection and youth justice supervision data collection. Results are limited to the 4 states and territories with both child protection and youth justice supervision data for 2013-14 (Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory).
The results from the linked data collection will be enhanced in future years as data become available for more states and territories and as years of data accumulate. In addition, linking to other health and welfare data collections would also provide additional information on multiple service use among vulnerable children and young people.
In 2013-14, young people who were the subject of a care and protection order were 27 times as likely to be under youth justice supervision in the same year as the general population
In 2013-14, 8% of those who were the subject of a care and protection order were also under youth justice supervision in the same year (although not necessarily at the same time), compared with just 0.3% of the general population aged 10-17. Youth justice supervision was most likely for Indigenous young people: Indigenous males were 1.7 times as likely to be under supervision as non-Indigenous males, and Indigenous females were 2.2 times as likely.
The level of dual involvement was similar for those in out-of-home care (7%), and lower for those who were the subject of an investigated notification (4%), although this was still greater than the rate for the general population.
Almost half of young people in detention in 2013-14 were also in the child protection system in the same year
Almost half (45%) of those in detention were also involved in the child protection system, which is 23 times the rate for the general population. The level of child protection involvement for those under community-based supervision in 2013-14 was also high: more than one-third (34%) were also in the child protection system.
The younger someone was at their first youth justice supervision, the more likely they were to also be in child protection in 2013-14
Of those under youth justice supervision in 2013-14, over two-thirds (70%) of those aged 10 at their first youth justice supervision were also in child protection in 2013-14, compared with 12% of those aged 17.