Department of Human Services

Connections Map Video Transcript

The speaker is Rohan Bennett, Director Youth Justice.

When a young person comes into the justice system and we have our first contact with them it's certainly not the first time that they have been in contact with government departments and with support services. The reality is that a young person who's in the justice system has probably already experienced a number of interventions and a number of supports that have not been effective. And in fact a young person who's in contact with the justice system is a direct result of a variety of systems and supports that have not been successful. We recognize that. We want to do something about that.

As government, our responsibility is to recognize where the opportunities are for us to support a young person in a different way. The reason that we've put this journey map together is to start to represent in a much more understandable way what would typically happen for a young person.

The young person has been part of a family and has started to drift away from the strong aspects of that family that we would hope would normally keep a young person safe from being involved in something like the justice system or in child protection. What happens in some circumstances is that the young person does start to drift away from the strengths of their family and their community and that's represented through the fading footprints that lead down the left hand side of the page.

Typically, a young person's journey in the justice system is representative of child protection notifications, multiple in most circumstances. Typically, they are not attending school and if they are only attending very irregularly they have educational outcomes that are not up to the same level as their peers. They are experiencing social exclusion in that school environment and the chances are that they've probably actually stopped attending altogether by the time they come into our system.

There are a whole host of other supports that should be available to that young person that for a variety of different reasons are not being effective in keeping them out of the justice system. And what we see is the beginnings of contacts with police and with the justice system.

Young people first of all are likely to be coming in on a very sporadic basis into contact with police. But as their reputation and their profile grows that we start to see them more often coming into police custody or coming into the courts. The journey of a young person once they commence in our system can be interrupted at a variety of different points. And this diagram demonstrates that while there is a potential for a young person to spiral through a number of different contacts with the police with child protection with youth justice with the youth court and even on into the adult correctional system that doesn't have to be their journey. What they can also do is to be provided with and experience the support of a number of different very deliberate and very crafted interventions that seeks to lift them back up to the top journey line which is one where they experience growth, love, learning, connection, cultural strength, wellbeing, resilience, stability, safety, hope and we feel that there's probably other things we could add to that as well because this journey is one that's very personal to every single young person.

The reason that young people come into the justice system and are also just about systemic failures. The reality is that young people typically would be experiencing poverty would be experiencing racism would be experiencing intergenerational trauma. And what we as a group of practitioners across a variety of different services within government must continually do is to apply that to our approach to working with young people.

We recognize that cultural connections and supports, family inclusive practice, assessment and relationship building, trauma informed care, evidence based interventions and behaviors support are absolutely critical in the way that we formulate our response to these young people and our desire is for the green arrows to represent that they are moving up out of the system and that they're starting to experience culture and respect, they have support in the community, that we're getting there early before they even reach the youth justice system would be the ideal that the diversion model, that we have in place is effective and that it keeps them away from more serious offending or more serious engagement with the justice system, that the individualized support and through care they receive and the aftercare once they leave custody or once they leave a community based order has the desired impact of actually supporting a young person to be more effectively connected in the community.

We also recognize that there are a number of agencies that work on these same outcomes across government. The green arrows cannot do it alone. And likewise as government we need to work in partnership as effectively as we possibly can. We all have a common outcome for these young people we all have a different mandate to work with these young people. But each of those things can be used to work together. Whether it's a health outcome an education outcome an employment outcome or a drug and alcohol outcome or some other sort of program regardless. All of those things when they're working together and are working in tandem with the young person's own objectives for themselves can start to be effective.

The pathway back into strength is also a pathway that works in partnership with the young person's family and community. As we look to connect young people back to their community we're searching for role models. We want those young people to feel that they're safe and we want them to feel themselves to be protected. But we also recognize that that is not likely to happen unless they've got people in their community that are invested in them in the same way that we want them to be invested in themselves. Role models and mentors and so important in their path. And we also recognize that trainers employers all play that same sort of role of building a young person in their confidence to be a part of their community.

The goal for each of our young people is that they end up back on the path of strength that they are experiencing love they have hope that they experience stability. They're becoming more resilient because their well-being is strong.

Allan Sumner's artwork in the background of the picture represents connectivity endeavouring to bring through in the use of their artwork is the story that sits behind all of this. We cannot be affected by working in silos. We cannot be affected by expecting one part to do the business and the rest of it to sit back and watch. Everything has to be connected.

Return to the Connected Youth Justice - Connections Map

Page last updated : 04 Dec 2019

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