Aboriginal children and young people in the youth justice system

The number and rate of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10-17 under Youth Justice supervision on an average day has shown strong signs of decreasing over recent years. Nevertheless, the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in Youth Justice remains high and more work is required to close the gap.

In 2020-21, there were 70 Aboriginal children and young people under Youth Justice supervision (aged 10-17) in Victoria on an average day, within this cohort, the majority (85 per cent) were under community-based supervision (on an average day) while 15 per cent were in Youth Justice custody (on an average day).[5]

Aboriginal children and young people are over-represented in Youth Justice

On an average day in 2019-20, Aboriginal children and young people aged 10-17 were:

  • 10 times more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to be under youth justice supervision.
  • 9 times more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to be in youth justice detention.
  • 10 times more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to be under youth justice community-based supervision.

Source: AIHW (2021), Youth Justice in Australia 2019-20

Over-representation is reducing

From 2016-17 to 2019-20:

  • The rate of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10-17 being under youth justice supervision on an average day compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts (rate of over-representation) reduced by 28%.
  • The rate per 1,000 population of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10-17 under youth justice supervision on an average day reduced by 36%.

Figure 3: The number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10 to 17 under youth justice supervision on an average day

Source: (Historical tables 2010-11 to 2019-20): AIHW, (2021), Youth Justice in Australia 2019-20. * 2020-21 data has been sourced from the Youth Justice Client Relationship Information System (CRIS). This data is not published and may be subject to change

View Figure 3: The number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10 to 17 under youth justice supervision on an average day in full screen. (External link)

 

The number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10 to 17 under youth justice supervision on an average day
Year Community-based Custody Total
2010-11 126 14 140
2011-12 119 13 132
2012-13 113 8 121
2013-14 106 10 116
2014-15 98 14 112
2015-16 113 19 132
2016-17 100 20 120
2017-18 88 18 106
2018-19 81 18 99
2019-20 65 16 81
2020-21* 59.5 10.5 70

Youth justice supervision numbers have reduced

Following the launch of Burra Lotjpa Dunguldja (AJA4), the number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10 to 17 under youth justice supervision on an average day has reduced.

From 2016-17 to 2020-21, there has been a:

  • 42% reduction in the number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10-17 under youth justice supervision on an average day
  • 41% reduction in the number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10-17 under youth justice community-based supervision on an average day
  • 48%reduction in the number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10- 17 under youth justice detention on an average day.

 

End notes

[5] *2020-21 Data has been sourced from the Youth Justice Client Relationship Information System (CRIS). This data is not published and may be subject to change.