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Criminal Care? · 28 Sep 2018

Australian data shows high rate of criminalisation among children in residential care

Earlier in the year I blogged about some research from New South Wales, Australia, on the criminalisation of children in residential care. It showed that concerns in England and Wales are shared in other jurisdictions – something we also discovered in Scotland.

Now lawyers in one of Australia’s most populous states, Victoria, have raised concerns about the police being called to deal with low-level incidents within residential care units.

More than half of children placed in residential care face criminal charges within the space of a year

Victoria Legal Aid analysed data which suggests more than half of Victorian children placed in state residential care face criminal charges within 12 months.

As a result of this, there is now a call for a protocol to be developed between the Victorian government, police and residential care providers to help prevent the unnecessary criminalisation of children in the system. Similar initiatives are in place locally in parts of England and Wales – some examples are cited in our briefing on police practice – and the Howard League is one of the bodies advising the Department for Education on the development of a national protocol.

You can listen to a radio report from the Australia Broadcasting Corporation which looks at the issue in more depth.

Andrew Neilson

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