Crossover Kids in the Youth Justice System

The Council has published its findings on ‘crossover kids’: sentenced and diverted children known to the Child Protection Service.

The study included 5,063 children who were sentenced or received a youth diversion order in the Victorian Children’s Court from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2017. It examined their child protection history (if any) over 22 years from 1996 to 2018, including before, during or after their offending occurred.

The Council has published three reports from the study.

 The first report examines:

  • the proportion of sentenced and diverted children who were ‘known to child protection’ and their level of child protection involvement (for example, the proportion who had experienced out-of-home care)
  • the proportion of crossover kids who were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • the association between age at first sentence and the likelihood that a child was known to child protection
  • the association between sentence type and the likelihood that a child was known to child protection.

The second report examines:

  • whether child protection or youth justice involvement occurred first
  • how child protection backgrounds varied according to children’s age, gender and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status
  • associations between offence type and the existence and extent of child protection involvement
  • geographical differences in the prevalence of children known to the child protection service (including the number who were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children) and the proportion of children first sentenced aged 10–13 among sentenced and diverted children.

The third report examines the principles that apply to considering trauma and child protection issues when sentencing children. The report canvasses possible changes to the youth justice system to more holistically and effectively address the causes of children’s offending.

The Council has also published a factsheet that compares key findings of the study with the findings of a study by researchers from Monash University.

This project builds on the Council’s previous work on sentenced children and young people.

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