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Youth Justice Domestic and Family Violence Strategy and support programs

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Respect, listen and respond to the diverse lived experience and knowledge of women and their children affected by violence
    • 11 Deliver policies and services to address the disproportionate impact of violence on particular groups.
  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 16 Enable workforces to provide trauma-informed support with a focus on safety and recovery to victims and survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence.
    • 18 Improve access to and embed trauma-informed support for perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence to prevent reoffending and promote rehabilitation and treatment.

What are we doing?

The Youth Justice Domestic and Family Violence Strategy 2019 – 2022 (the Strategy) is a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of young people who commit, and/or who are victims of, domestic and family violence, and come into contact with the Youth Justice system.

Support programs for young people sentenced to a supervised court order for domestic and family violence offences include evidence-based and trauma-informed individualised support and a range of criminogenic interventions guided by a comprehensive practice framework.

What have we achieved so far?

The Youth Justice Domestic and Family Violence Strategy 2019 – 2022 is the first comprehensive strategy in NSW that addresses the specific needs of young people committing, or experiencing, domestic and family violence Youth Justice has achieved the following under the Strategy so far:

  • Youth Justice Community Offices participate in Regional Strategy Group meetings on an ongoing basis to advocate for the specific needs of young people engaged in DFV across the state and have made significant progress across individual regional action plans over 2020, to ensure the plans address the needs of and support young people.
  • Referral pathways and eligibility criteria across programs and support services for young people involved in violence in the home have been mapped and analysed. Findings confirm that some interventions for young people are not DFV-specific, are not available state-wide and that there is a general lack of DFV services available in the community to support young people under Youth Justice supervision and to complement Youth Justice Conferencing.
  • Youth on Track, (Youth Justice’s flagship early intervention scheme for 10-17-year olds that identifies and responds to young people at risk of long-term involvement in the criminal justice system) has expanded its referral network to include solicitors, Community Services, Out of Home Care providers, Community Health and Family Referral Service, Headspace, and other mental health services to allow for greater program reach in the sites where Youth on Track is delivered.
  • Two multidisciplinary court-based pilots intended to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes for children and young people in the justice system (Broadmeadow Children’s Court Pilot and A Place to Go) are being evaluated and have been extended until 31 December 2021.
  • Youth Justice has also developed a program for young Aboriginal women and girls to address the use of violence.
  • Youth Justice commenced piloting Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) in September 2020 with a cohort of girls at Reiby Youth Justice Centre. DBT is an evidence-based intervention that has been shown to be effective with young people involved in DFV.

What is next?

In 2021, under the four-year Strategy (2019 to 2022), Youth Justice NSW will:

  • Enhance workforce capability with respect to young people who use violence in the home or are victims of violence in the home through the design and delivery of a comprehensive training package. The training package will include a strengthened introductory e-learning module for all Youth Justice staff; one-day training for all staff; specific training for Youth Justice Conference convenors and Assistant Managers; and specific training for caseworkers.
  • Strengthen workforce capability to facilitate safe and effective conduct of Youth Justice Conferences where there is a context of domestic and family violence.
  • Provide DBT training to an additional 90 clinical staff from Youth Justice and Justice Health so that DBT can be provided more broadly across Youth Justice Centres and in the Community.
  • Identify funding options to continue research into young peoples’ understanding of Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders, bail conditions and court processes, whilst also starting to implement some digital solutions likely to improve young peoples’ experience of court and Youth Justice.
  • Build on the completed mapping of programs and interventions to develop information packages for Youth Justice staff, young people, and their families.
  • Develop best-practice safety planning resources for young people who use violence in the home; and,
  • Improve access to psychologists or specialist family counsellors for referral of young people who use violence in the home, and/or are victims of domestic and family violence.

What difference will we make?

The Strategy aims to reduce youth domestic and family violence by:

  • increasing awareness of this form of violence;
  • developing an expert and well-supported workforce; and,
  • ensuring that effective and evidence-based interventions and programs are being delivered to young people in contact with Youth Justice.

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