The Adultification of the Youth Justice System: The Victorian Experience

Natalia Antolak-Saper   | Bio
Faculty of Law, Monash University
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Abstract

In early 2018, an Inquiry into Youth Justice Centres in Victoria (Inquiry) found that a combination of a punitive approach to youth justice, inadequate crime strategies, and a lack of appropriately trained and experienced staff at youth justice centres, greatly contributed to the hindrance of the rehabilitation of young persons in detention in Victoria, Australia. In addition to identifying these challenges, the Inquiry also determined that the way in which young offenders have been described by politicians and portrayed in the media in recent times, has had a significant impact on shaping youth justice policies and practices. This article specifically examines the role of the media in the adultification of the Victorian youth justice system. It begins with a historical examination of youth justice, drawing on the welfare model and the justice model.  This is followed by a discussion of the perception and reality of youth offending in Victoria. Here, it is demonstrated that through framing, the media represents heightened levels of youth offending and suggests that only a ‘tough on crime’ approach can curb such offending; an approach that has been adopted by the Victorian State Government in recent years. Finally, the article considers how recent youth justice reforms are examples of adultification, and by not adequately distinguishing between a child and adult offender, these reforms are inconsistent with the best interests of the child.

 

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How to Cite
1.
Antolak-Saper N. The Adultification of the Youth Justice System: The Victorian Experience. LiC [Internet]. 2020Nov.24 [cited 2021Jun.24];37(1):99-113. Available from: https://journals.latrobe.edu.au/index.php/law-in-context/article/view/118

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