- Youth Justice State Plan
- Disability Screening Assessment Project
- Youth Justice in SA
- Youth Justice Services
- Youth Justice Partners
- Working in Youth Justice
- Young People and the Law (sa.gov.au)
- Contact Youth Justice
Response rate and engagement
The screening project assessments took place from Monday 25 March to Thursday 18 April 2019.
In that time, a total of 38 suitable young people were approached to participate in the screening project. Of these, 36 (~95%) consented to participate in at least one assessment, with two individuals declining to participate at all.
A total of 243 assessments were conducted as part of the project:
- 67 psychology
- 113 occupational therapy
- 63 speech pathology assessments completed and included in the analysis below.
This comprised 67.5% of the maximum 360 assessments that could have been completed (10 assessments per young person).
Figure 1 shows:
- more than half of participants (52.8%) completed at least one assessment with all three disciplines
- approximately a third (36.1%) of the population completed assessments with two disciplines (that is, participant declined to participate further, or may have been released from custody
- approximately one-in-ten participants (11.1%) completed assessments with only one discipline.
Figure 1: Representation of number of young people who participated in assessment with each discipline.
- 33 young people completed at least one occupational therapy assessment
- 30 young people completed at least one psychology assessment
- 26 young people completed at least one speech pathology assessment.
These figures appeared to be influenced by the order in which young people met with each discipline (young people were observed to be increasingly more likely to decline with each subsequent discipline they were scheduled to meet), and length of time taken to administer each assessment (whether multiple sessions were required to complete a particular discipline’s assessments).
Of the assessments that were not completed, 39 were not completed due to being declined by the participants for the following possible reasons:
- Some young people experienced testing fatigue and this impacted on willingness to continue. By the time young people had seen one professional, a number of individuals reported they were not interested in participating in further assessments.
- Some young people reported they did not see the point in continuing assessments.
- Assessment times clashed with favoured school subjects, activities or other scheduled appointments.
A further 84 assessments were not completed due to reasons other than young people declining, including:
- Logistical challenges causing late arrivals for assessment times, causing a decrease in available time to complete assessments.
- Young person was released from custody.
The majority of young people agreed to participate in assessments with at least one discipline; however, the level of engagement in assessments varied. Strategies which helped engagement were:
- the use of incentives
- giving participants an option for short breaks during assessments
- rapport building where possible
- pairing participants with staff with whom they may already have clinical relationships.
While the majority of participants were observed to engage thoughtfully throughout assessments and the overall response rate and engagement of young people exceeded expectations, a small number of participants were observed to rush through particular tasks with little care, which may have affected accuracy and negatively impacted their scores. This was especially pertinent during the Beery VMI assessments, where accuracy is paramount. Additionally, participants only partially completed assessments. In instances where scores were deemed to have been negatively impacted by engagement, results were excluded from the data analysis, so as to not over-represent disability-related needs in the population.
- The total number of young people who participated in at least one assessment was 36.
- The population included 7 female (19.4%) and 29 (80.6%) male participants.
- 21 participants (58.3%) identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
- 14 participants (37.8%) were under Guardianship of the Chief Executive.
- The youngest participant was aged 12 years at the time of assessment, with the maximum age of 18 years and a mean of 15.7 years.
Victorian Offending Needs Indicator for Youth
The Victorian Offender Needs Indicator for Youth (VONIY) is an assessment tool completed by a Case Manager for a young person who has received a sentenced order of three months or more (in custody or the community). For those young people with multiple completed VONIYs, only the most recent VONIY scores were utilised. Data analysis was completed in September/October 2019, and a small number of VONIY scores included in the analysis were completed in the months immediately after the screening assessments were completed. However, the decision was made to include all available data at the time of data collection.
- 26 participants (72.2%) had a completed VONIY at the time of the data collection, with 18 of those having multiple historical VONIY scores.
- 10 participants (27.8%) had no VONIY completed in their history with Youth Justice (Figure 2).
- Of those with a completed VONIY, 2 young people (7.7%) were in the Moderate need range, 19 (73.1%) were in the High range and 5 (19.2%) in the Intensive range.
- In 2 cases, the most recent VONIY was completed more than one year prior.
- One participant had presented to AYTC on multiple occasions and had been remanded in custody for approximately 17 months in total since their most recent VONIY. Notably, that young person had never been a client of Youth Justice Psychology Services (YJPS) or YJAIS due to their remand status.
Figure 2: VONIY level of criminogenic need categories
Nights in Custody
The nights-in-custody figures were calculated by totalling the number of nights each participant had spent in detention (including all historic and current custodial periods) at the time of the screening project. As previously noted in the ‘Participant Inclusion Criteria’, assessment sessions were scheduled, in part, by prioritising young people who were most likely to remain in AYTC long enough to complete all assessments, therefore the figures included below may not be representative of the AYTC population overall.
- 20 young people (55.6%) had spent between 30 and 365 nights in custody.
- 15 young people (41.7%) had spent more than a year (>365 nights) in custody in total.
- The smallest nights-in-custody figure was 28 nights (the only participant with less than 30 days), and the largest was 1531 nights – showing that one individual had spent a total of more than four years in detention (not in one period).
- The participant population had a mean of 423.1 nights in custody and a median of 269.8 nights in custody.