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Preventing crime and promoting rights for Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health issues

by Calma T

Report
Year 2008
City Canberra
Institution Australian Human Rights Commission
Date 2008
Report number Report no. 3

Abstract

This publication investigates early intervention and diversionary practices aimed at preventing criminal behaviour in Indigenous youth suffering from a mental illness and/or cognitive disability. Points of critical intervention are analysed and an alternative framework is proposed based on effective and holistic intervention.

The literature reviewed for this report stated that:

* Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system are 4 to 5 times more likely to have a cognitive disability than the general population
* Indigenous understanding of cognitive disability and mental illness is related to interpersonal relationships and cultural identity
* Disability issues are secondary to cultural identity
* Social, economic and cultural factors are related to high incidences of cognitive disability and mental illness in this group
* The education system has not effectively handled this issue
* Substance misuse is a major problem

The report highlights that there are currently no specific intervention or diversion programs that target Indigenous youth with mental health problems or a cognitive disability however, crime prevention initiatives are available. Recommendations from the report focus on knowledge translation, education and awareness, support for effective programs and policy processes.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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Last updated: 21 March 2011
 
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