Crossover Kids in the Youth Justice System

The Council is examining the proportion of sentenced children who have a child protection history. The study includes over 5,000 children who were sentenced or received a youth diversion order in the Victorian Children’s Court in 2016 and 2017.

The children in the study were aged 10–17 when they committed the offence. Some were aged 18–20 by the time they were sentenced.

The first part of the study will examine:

  • the proportion of sentenced children and young people who were ‘crossover kids’, in that they were ‘known to child protection’
  • the level of child protection involvement (for example, the proportion who had experienced out-of-home care)
  • regional differences in the prevalence of crossover kids (by the location of the sentencing court)
  • any association between age at first sentence and the likelihood that a child was known to child protection.

The second part of the study will examine in more detail the children’s child protection backgrounds, prior offences, current offending and sentencing outcome. This will include looking for associations between child protection and youth justice factors.

The Council plans to release its findings in a series of reports, with the first to be published in mid 2019.

This project builds on the Council’s previous work on sentenced children and young people, including our study of Reoffending by Children and Young People in Victoria, released in December 2016. Other previous Council research on sentencing children and young people includes Sentencing Children in Victoria: Data Update Report (2016), Changes to Sentencing Practice: Young Adult Offenders (2015) and Sentencing of Children and Young People in Victoria (2012).

The project team will consult with key stakeholders, organisations and government agencies.

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