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Only a small proportion of young people involved in the Australian youth justice system are aged 10-14 years (the youngest group involved in the system), however, these young people are at risk of becoming chronic, long-term offenders, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
‘Of concern is that Indigenous over-representation in youth justice is greatest at younger ages,' said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.
Indigenous young people aged 10-14 years were about 6 to 10 times more likely as non-Indigenous young people of the same age to be proceeded against by police during 2010-11, compared with 3 to 5 times as likely among those aged 15-17 years.
Mr Beard stated 'There is some evidence that people who enter the youth justice system at younger ages are more likely to return to supervision in the future, compared with those who enter at an older age.'
Longitudinal data show that 85% of young people in a cohort born in 1993-94 who were supervised at age 10-14 years returned to, or continued under, supervision when they were 15-17 years. This was particularly the case for the most serious type of supervision - detention.
‘Young people aged 10-14 years from the 1993-94 birth cohort who return to supervision at older ages also tend to have more serious involvement in the system and are supervised for longer,' Mr Beard said.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Source: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
Ph: (02) 6244 1270
Mobile: 0418 271 395
For media copies of the report:
Ph: (02) 6249 5048 / (02) 6249 5033