Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Inquiry into Youth Justice Centres in Victoria. We believe youth justice in Victoria must be delivered according to a clear model, underpinned by a philosophy aligned with what we are trying to achieve – meeting the needs of children and young people, and creating a safer community for all.

In meeting the needs of children and young people involved in the youth justice system, our approach must first recognise that they often come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have complex needs and lack developmental maturity.

Outlined in our submission are a range of initiatives that should be adopted in Victoria to prevent vulnerable children and young people from being detained in the first place, and to safeguard against inappropriate treatment in detention facilities.

Adopting such measures will help to ensure that harm to children and young people is minimised, their rights are protected in youth justice centres, and we use detention as an opportunity to deliver a whole-of-person, individually tailored response designed to support them to make a successful transition back into community. Ultimately, by adopting these measures, we will create safer communities.

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