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The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum 29 May 2010 Guest Speaker: Judge Reynolds.

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Presentation on theme: "The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum 29 May 2010 Guest Speaker: Judge Reynolds."— Presentation transcript:

1 The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum 29 May 2010 Guest Speaker: Judge Reynolds

2 I wish to recognise the traditional owners of this land both past and present The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum 29 May 2010

3 “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

4 THAT MIGHT STRIKE A CORD WITH SOME OF YOU ABOUT “THE YOUTH OF TODAY” The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum 29 May 2010

5 IT WAS ACTUALLY MADE BY:

6 SOCRATES “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

7 And now for one a bit more recent… “Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable”

8 THAT WAS MORE RECENT BUT BY PLATO WHO WAS A DISCIPLE OF SOCRATES The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

9 PLATO “Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable”

10 Over 96% of young people both aboriginal and non-aboriginal have had little or no formal contact with police in the past five years. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

11 Statistics and on the ground observations support a compelling need for an urgent change of approach. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

12 Over the last 20 years or so the total of aboriginal imprisonment has nearly tripled, and the rate of aboriginal imprisonment over non-aboriginal imprisonment is about 27 times. Recent statistics show that 1 in every 12.5 aboriginal adults spent the night in a prison or a police lock-up within the State. The rate of aboriginal imprisonment is very relevant for aboriginal children because it means that many children are often at least without a parent, mostly a father. This creates or adds to lack of family support, both physically and emotionally. The lack of positive male role models for young male aboriginal children is a cause for concern. Law & Order Forum

13 Average Daily Numbers of Aboriginal Children in Detention in April 2010 Aboriginal children represented about 69% of the remand population (64 of 93) made up by about 60 males and 4 females. Aboriginal children represented about 73.5% of the sentenced population (72 of 98) made up by about 68 males and 4 females.

14 Criminal Charges Lodged Against Aboriginal Children Over this period the total number of charges across the State has increased by 56.8%. Some of the categories of offences have increased as follows: -Acts intended to cause injury : 42.3 % -Sexual assault and related offences : 56.8% -Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons :65.7%

15 -Robbery and related offences : 78.7% -Unlawful entries and burglaries : 20.5% -Theft and related offences : 113.3% -Public order offences : 90.5% -Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences : 102.6%

16 There has been above average increases in the number of charges over this period in the Kimberley, the Pilbara, Carnarvon, Albany, Bunbury, Northam, and in and about the metropolitan area in Armadale, Joondalup, Midland, and Rockingham. There has been a decrease in the number of charges lodged in Kalgoorlie and Geraldton by about 27% (Youth Justice has resourced and implemented particular youth strategy programs in these two regions). Law & Order Forum

17 A Report by the Auditor General on Juvenile Justice in June 2008 included the following statistics: Aboriginal children make up 5% of all young people but account for 50% of formal police contacts (this could be more because of identification issues) Over the last 5 years aboriginal children make up 40% of cautions and 45% of Juvenile Justice Team (JJT) referrals. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

18 Indicative costs of dealing with 250 young people with the most expensive pathways in the justice system were estimated to be $100 million over their juvenile years (i.e years old). This cost includes periods of detention. Between and about ¾ of all arrests of children were aboriginal children. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

19 A small group of 120 children of all ethnicities averaged 25 or more formal police contacts over the last 5 years and these children were mainly male indigenous children in the regions particularly the Goldfields-Esperance, the Midwest/Gascoyne, and the Pilbara. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

20 Increase in Aboriginal Children Under 10 Years Coming into Contact with the Law Population data shows that for the next 5 years from June 2008 the numbers of aboriginal children less than 10 years of age will increase. If these children are directed to the Court at the same rate as currently, then another 237 aboriginal children will enter the juvenile justice system at a cost of $2.8 million per annum.

21 In the Kimberley, over the years , burglary offences have increased by 41% ( ) and of the 759 offences in 2009, 56 offences involved children less than 10 years of age (the age of criminal responsibility) i.e. about 7.4%. For all offences recorded in the Kimberley in 2009, about 7.3% were committed by aboriginal children under 10 years of age and were statue barred. Law & Order Forum

22 As a result of police coming into contact with more aboriginal children of ages less than 10 years, it may be that when they reach 10 years of age the police will regard them as a greater risk to the community and therefore be less likely to direct them away from the Court. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

23 The Objectives and Principles of the Young Offenders Act 1994 (the YOA Act) The objectives and principles of the YO Act require agencies, including the police, and also the Court to treat children different to adults. Emphasis on prevention and diversion.

24 Rehabilitation and enhancement of the role of family. Need for Youth Justice systems to be different to adult systems and be more focused on rehabilitation and welfare issues than compliance issues. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

25 Causes of Criminal Behaviour Aboriginal children who commit serious offences are themselves victims for any one or more of the following: adverse impacts of colonisation (disempowerment and disconnection) parents are usually separated parenting skills are relatively poor or non existent

26 they have been exposed to various neglects and abuses (physical and mental and sometimes sexual) they have been subjected to and/or been witness to domestic violence abuse of substances and violence are the norm they have been subjected to death and grief within the family

27 FASD they have attended an inadequate amount of schooling - they are too tired to go to school or too traumatised to learn if they do go to school they have no sense of their own identity they have no sense of any positive self esteem they have an overwhelming sense of hopelessness The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

28 they have no respect for themselves and so none for anyone else or the property of anyone else they often have unstable accommodation or have to fend for themselves for accommodation, food and other necessities of life they often have to worry about one or both of their own parents and/or take on the caring role of another family member and as a result miss out on their own childhood. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

29 The underlying causes of criminal behaviour show the need to reconnect justice and welfare systems for children and families in crisis. Criminal justice needs to be seen as a part of social justice.

30 The lives of young aboriginal offenders include multiple layers of crises all happening at the same time. Increase in serious mental health problems. An emergence of cases where very young children are not fit to stand trial. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

31 Because causative factors are outside the criminal justice system, solutions must include programs provided from outside the criminal justice system. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

32 Key Players The aboriginal communities and aboriginal people themselves. Police Youth Justice DCP Department of Health Drug and Alcohol Office Education and Training Sport and Recreation Housing DOTAG DIA

33 There are obvious long term problems if 2- 3 years of primary education is missed. Poor life skills, literacy and numeracy levels minimize employment prospects.

34 Remands / Bail Bail Act – Children have qualified right to bail Need for placements and responsible adults Need for safe houses and hostels

35 Remands in custody in country WA result in children being transported to a detention centre in Perth. This results in dislocation from family, land and culture. Need for collaboration, and particularly after hours, by the police, the community, Youth Justice, and DCP on bail placements. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

36 Empowerment The power of and respect for current and prospective elders and leaders of aboriginal communities needs to be supported and enhanced. Aboriginal people should be supported and be allowed to take ownership of youth issues. Need for partnerships between agencies and aboriginal organisations and aboriginal people for program development and delivery.

37 Need for culturally appropriate programs. Need for aboriginal mentors. Local communities have ownership and develop solutions best suited for their particular community – one size does not fit all. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

38 Involvement of aboriginal people in JJTs particularly in regional areas. Capacity building and supports need to be at the three levels of: the child the family the community There needs to be empowerment and connection at all three levels. Providing buildings is important but providing things such as culture, values, and emotional supports is more important.

39 In addition to case management, there also needs to be a community management model applied. That is particularly so where communities have a high level of dysfunction. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum

40 Alcohol Restrictions Alcohol restrictions are having positive results – Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing While there may be some mobility away from restricted areas to non-restricted areas there is a level of mobility in any event To deal with underlying causative issues there is a need to take away the overlay of alcohol abuse and the constant flow of alcohol.

41  The number of damaged aboriginal children appearing before the Children's Court who are themselves expecting a child or have children is increasing. If these damaged children themselves each have six children, who in turn each have six children, which is very possible, then in two generations, each of short duration, the number of damaged aboriginal children could increase exponentially from a multiple of 1 to 36 (1 x 6 x 6 = 36). To some extent this will be cushioned because people, including children, do not all react to the same trauma in the same way. Even so this is an alarming prospect.

42  Every child is entitled to expect a long life and quality of life. We are talking about children.  There is an urgent and increasing need for change in service delivery for aboriginal children which will benefit both the children and also the community as a whole. The University of Notre Dame Australia Law & Order Forum


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