Understanding youth detention in Australia

In Australia, young people who are charged with, or proven guilty of, criminal offences may be supervised by state and territory youth justice agencies. Supervision may take place either in the community or in detention facilities.

Among the states and territories, variations in the numbers and rates of young people under supervision reflect differences in youth justice legislation, policy and practice. This includes differences in police practices, the types of legal orders available and the options for diversion.

This report is part of an annual series that looks at trends in the numbers and rates of young people in secure detention facilities in Australia due to their involvement or alleged involvement in crime.

A better understanding of the characteristics and seasonal trends of young people in detention can help support staff, case workers, and policy makers to get the best outcomes for these young people. The data can also support the work to consider raising the age of criminal responsibility that is currently underway in a number of states and territories.

This report and accompanying supplementary tables (those with a prefix of ‘S’) are available from Youth detention population in Australia 2022, Summary—Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.