A statewide strategy that enables all young Victorians to thrive must specifically target people at heightened risk of disadvantage and be grounded in a framework of human rights principles.

Jesuit Social Services was pleased to contribute a submission in response to the Victorian Government’s ‘What matters to young people in Victoria’ discussion paper, as part of a consultation process to inform the development of a new statewide youth strategy due to be released in late 2022.

Our submission emphasises that the best outcomes for young Victorians will only be achieved by a holistic, whole-of-government approach that specifically targets young people who are at heightened risks of marginalisation and disadvantage. We call for the youth strategy strategy to be underpinned by a framework that embeds human rights principles, contain clear and measurable outcome targets and establishes clear levels of accountability.

Summary of our recommendations:

Our key recommendations for creating an environment in which young Victorians flourish and thrive include:

  • Reform towards a more fair, compassionate and effective youth justice system, with expanded and improved access to restorative justice programs, increased investment in training and education initiatives, and an increased age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.
  • Investment in positively shifting cultures and attitudes to address the underlying drivers of male violence and other harmful behaviours, including in research, workforce capacity building, and the development, piloting and evaluation of early interventions.
  • Increase investment in initiatives that address locational disadvantage, including embedding a First Nations-informed and -led approach into ecological practices.
  • Creating sustainable ongoing supported housing options for young people at greatest risk of homelessness.