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Department of Human Services

Youth Justice Strategic Research Agenda

The aim of the Youth Justice Strategic Research Agenda 2016-2018 (PDF 212.9 KB) is to assist researchers and research funders to understand the Youth Justice strategic priorities and knowledge needs of the Division.

The Strategic Research Agenda aims to stimulate high quality research activities to ensure the findings have tangible benefits for improving outcomes for young people who offend their families and the community. The Strategic Research Agenda is organised around the three objectives of the DCSI Strategic Plan 2014-2018:

  • Support independence and participation
  • Make our communities stronger
  • Provide the best services.

Potential research topics ought to address these broad strategic aims, and those of the Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2015-2018 (PDF 288.5 KB) by focusing on identified key themes and/or needs of population groups. For example, researchers might consider exploring the key themes with particular regard for gender, age, and/or cultural background.

Research Themes

The following provides an overview of the key areas of interest to the Youth Justice Division:

  • Aboriginal Over-Representation: Research proposals may consider how research outcomes could assist in contributing to an understanding of the reasons for, and potential ways to reduce, over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the justice system. This would aid the Youth Justice Division by informing the development of policies and strategies to address this issue.
  • Evidence-based: Research could build on knowledge of effective risk and need assessment, and the inter-relationship of factors related to reoffending, to inform targeted intervention. Program evaluation is also an area of interest, as described in the Youth Justice Programs Framework 2016-2019 (DOCX 470.1 KB).
  • Young People: Having a greater understanding of the young people we work with will assist the Youth Justice Division in delivering more effective and targeted services. Research could include: demographic factors; offence related characteristics; protective factors; mental health, health, behavioural, developmental and/or physical needs; disability; cultural considerations; and education and employment.
  • Trauma-Informed: Many young people involved with the Youth Justice Division have experienced significant trauma. Research could inform the knowledge and understanding of the origins and impact of trauma, its relationship to offending and contribute to more effective interventions and policies.
  • Family Inclusive: The Youth Justice Division is committed to family-inclusive practice, involving families or caregivers in assessment and treatment, where possible and appropriate. Research proposals could explore effective family-inclusive policies, programs and skills.
  • Integration: Research could focus on effective structures and practices of sentence management that support successful re-integration, exit from custody, through-care and end of-order transition.
  • Custody: Research could contribute to improving policies and practices for the rehabilitation, support and safe management of young people who are in custody. Research could also explore the application and effectiveness of alternatives to and/or diversion from custody.
  • Collaborative: Youth Justice staff seek to work actively in partnership with a range of agencies and community groups. Research exploring effective engagement and partnership strategies in a statutory context could support this approach.

For further information or to discuss a research proposal, phone the Youth Justice Division on 1800 621 425 or email DCSI Youth Justice Directorate.

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05 Jul 2018
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