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Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory – our response

This submission responds to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

In it, we draw on almost 40 years’ experience accompanying people involved, or at risk of becoming involved, in the criminal justice system. We also draw on evidence of how to create better outcomes for young people and their communities.

We believe current approaches to children who display antisocial behaviour often fail to engage with them in ways that are developmentally appropriate. Too often, responses miss the opportunity to address issues contributing to their problematic behaviour, and to avoid their entrenched involvement in the child protection and justice systems.

Our submission shows why service systems in the Northern Territory should better contribute to young people’s development. It calls for changes to culture and practice, through a series of recommendations shown below.

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We believe our recommendations will:

  • help prevent vulnerable children and young people from being detained in the first place, and
  • safeguard against inappropriate treatment in detention facilities.

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