Sorry statistic as young offenders skip meeting victims

 

One third of restorative justice conferences ordered to rehabilitate young crims didn't go ahead over the past three years because children denied the crime, moved, or were sent to detention.

Victims also refused to take part, unwilling to come face-to-face with the person who wronged them.
The LNP says many young crims don't want to participate in the program, which is meant to show the offender the consequences of their actions.

Of the 8956 conferences that were requested in the three years to 2020, 5633 took place.

Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard said there were many reasons why conferences didn't go ahead but insisted they worked.

Opposition police spokesman Dale Last said "a lot" of the young offenders had no interest in taking part in the conferences which "adds to the problem" of youth crime.

"It can be a valuable process," he said.

 

Burdekin MP and shadow police minister Dale Last. Picture: Matt Taylor
Burdekin MP and shadow police minister Dale Last. Picture: Matt Taylor

Under the program, police or courts redirect young people from the courts to try to reduce their reoffending.

A 2018 evaluation of the program found 97.1 per cent of conferences resulted in parties reaching an agreement about what restorative actions needed to be undertaken.

And 77 per cent of young people who completed a conference did not reoffend, or the magnitude of the reoffending decreased in the six months following.

Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard said the number of young people agreeing to take part in the conferences was increasing.

"Restorative justice conferencing is one of our most successful alternative sentencing options to detention, with 90 per cent of victims who take part saying they're satisfied with the outcome," she said.

Queensland’s Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Queensland’s Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Meanwhile, a coalition of children's advocates have voiced their strong opposition to the government's youth justice crackdown, arguing it is punitive and doesn't respect children's rights.

Queensland Council of Social Services chief executive Aimee McVeigh said the "shortcut" approach didn't appropriately consider the rights of children, including the right to freedom of movement, privacy and non-discrimination.

She said the solution was in programs that broke the cycle of recidivism connected with poverty and disadvantage.

Save the Children executive director Matt Gardiner said the government needed to "use things that work, not punitive measures that are shown to increase the likelihood of repeat offending".

But Police Minister Mark Ryan said it was important to bring about a "harder, more severe approach to these serious recidivist offenders".

Originally published as Sorry statistic as young offenders skip meeting victims



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