Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Youth Justice Reforms take effect

Today, the Territory Labor Government’s plan for improving youth justice took another important step forward with the final transfer of all responsibilities for youth justice and youth detention to Territory Families.

Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield, said that the revised Act ensures young people are dealt with in a manner appropriate for their age, level of maturity and with a key focus on trauma-informed care - a principle already endorsed in the Youth Justice Act.

“This was a key promise going into the last election and we are doing what we said we would do. Bringing youth justice and child protection under one agency is key to reforming the broken child protection and youth justice systems,” Mrs Wakefield said.

“It is crucial to recognise that children are different to adults and much more likely to respond to therapeutic interventions, education and re-engagement in the community. A proactive approach gets better results and helps get kids on the right path.”

Nine Senior Youth Outreach and Re-Engagement officers (YOREOs) were recruited in October 2017 and have completed comprehensive training to equip them to take on the statutory functions of probation and parole officers expanding the capacity of the current YOREO case managements and outreach team. They will work collaboratively with the courts, families and the community to get the best outcomes for young offenders. 

“The youth justice system was broken,” Mrs Wakefield said.

“We are well on track with reforming the Youth Justice system and implementing the recommendation of the Royal Commission report:

The transfer of parole and probation functions from Corrections to Territory Families adds to the Territory Labor Government’s broader focus on improving bail accountability for young people, providing support and resources to help them meet their bail conditions and divert them from repeat offending and a life of crime.

Media contact: Trish Grimshaw 0401 119 242