A new approach required to alter the youth justice trajectory
In response to the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 passed by the Queensland Government, the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod (Uniting Church in Queensland) calls for effective, compassionate and evidence-based solutions.
“Most repeat young offenders are growing up in entrenched, intergenerational disadvantage. We need to address the complex and long-term causes and resource real long-term solutions.” said the Moderator of the Uniting Church in Queensland, Rev Andrew Gunton
“Family support services are crucial in assisting the whole family when trying to address offending by children and young people. Unfortunately, there are long waiting lists to access these services due to a lack of funding.” he said.
The Uniting Church in Queensland with agencies like UnitingCare Queensland and Wesley Mission Queensland provides services and support to Queensland families and young people coming into contact with police and the courts.
“We have seen that engagement in education is central to developing the skills and capacity that children and young people need to enter and remain in the workforce, which is what really brings change. It is vital that teachers and principals receive adequate training to identify and respond to the trauma related responses they see in the classroom. Increased funding should be directed at the Youth Support Coordinator roles in Queensland Schools and alternative models of education delivery, such as flexi schools.
If we address family issues at an early stage and provide therapeutic, flexible and innovative support for children, we have a better chance of reducing youth offending and increasing the wellbeing and security of the whole community.”
The Uniting Church in Queensland’s position paper on youth justice is available here.