Justice Access Research Alert No. 93
February 2022
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Children and Young People

Towards a Youth Homelessness Strategy for Victoria
T Alves & C Roggenbuck | Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), Melbourne, November 2021

REPORT | This final report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) contains the findings for the project Towards a Youth Homelessness Strategy for Victoria. The report integrates the findings of a positioning paper and subsequent deliberations of an investigative panel, comprised of sector leaders and policy experts. Information contained in the positioning paper was collected by evidence review and synthesis of published and grey literature, analysis of homelessness data and a review of the current Victorian youth homelessness system and relevant policy. The findings and recommendations of the positioning paper informed the discussions of the investigative panel. This final report states that young people experiencing homelessness in Victoria have distinct needs. The authors argue that current policy efforts have been ineffective in reducing youth homelessness, support systems are not well integrated, and that there are issues with current service delivery. In response to this, the report outlines number of considerations to assist in the development of a youth-specific homelessness strategy in Victoria.
Do violent teens become violent adults? Links between juvenile and adult domestic and family violence
H Boxall, K Pooley & S Lawler | Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra
December 2021

RESEARCH | This article outlines the findings of a study conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology to examine the relationship between early domestic and family violence (DFV) offending and future offending. Using data extracted by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) linked with incarceration records held in BOCSAR’s Reoffending Database, the study analysed the data of 8,4565 juveniles, aged between 13 and 17, who had been proceeded against in NSW for a violent or non-violent offence between 2008 and 2009. These juveniles were followed until age 23 in order to investigate any relationship between juvenile DFV offending and adult DFV offending. The study found that those juveniles who had been proceeded against for a DFV offence were much more likely to become adult DFV offenders and accounted for a disproportionate number of the adult DFV offences committed. The authors recommend the implementation of further programs focusing on DFV offending among adolescents.
Youth detention population in Australia 2021
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Canberra
December 2021

REPORT | This report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), presents data on young people aged 10 and over in youth detention due to their involvement, or alleged involvement, in crime. The report examines trends in the available data over a four-year period from the June quarter 2017 to the June quarter 2021. Data provided by states and territories is supplemented the Youth Justice National Minimum Data Set. Key findings include: the average number of young people in detention a night decreased from 958 to 819 throughout this period; 50% of those in detention throughout this period were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people; and trends varied across the states and territories.

Criminal Justice System

Improving the justice system response to sexual offences
Victorian Law Reform Commission
November 2021

REPORT | This report from the Victorian Law Reform Commission investigates ways to improve the justice system’s response to sexual offences and assist people who have experienced sexual violence. In its inquiry, the commission received 71 written submissions, held two stages of consultations with stakeholders and community members, invited responses from victims of sexual violence, and analysed a range of data regarding the justice system’s response to sexual violence. The report outlines a series of recommendations, including: the need for better data to determine what works in responding to sexual violence; that improvements be made to better enable victims to access support and report offences; the need to expand and strengthen justice options for victims; the need to focus on the prevention of sexual offences and move to an ‘affirmative consent’ model in Victoria; and that improvements be made to the criminal justice system and criminal trials. It further recommends ongoing monitoring of the report’s recommendations, to assist in their effective implementation.

Domestic and Family Violence 

Adapting Service Delivery during COVID-19: Experiences of Domestic Violence Practitioners
N Cortis, C Smyth, K Valentine, J Breckenridge & P Cullen | University of New South Wales, Sydney
July 2021

RESEARCH | This article investigates service responses to family and domestic violence in Australia within the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysing data from a qualitatively enriched online survey of practitioners, the authors found that service delivery quickly transitioned to a remote service delivery model. The article’s findings presented mixed attitudes and experiences as to the effect of this change on service delivery. The authors found that many practitioners believed that remote service delivery improved accessibility and efficiency, whilst others expressed concern as to whether remote service delivery could effectively enable them to assess risk and meet the needs of all client groups.
Rante-rante ampe Marle and Urreye: “Safe, respected and free from violence” projects evaluation
C Brown, S Homan, C Simpson & L Leung | Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), Sydney Sydney, November 2021

EVALUATION | This evaluation carried out by ANROWS examined two primary prevention projects in the Northern Territory designed to help prevent violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. These projects were, namely, the Girls Can Boys Can (GCBC) project and the Old Ways are Strong (OWS) project, both of which were governed by the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group (TWSFG), a group of senior Aboriginal women from Alice Springs Town Camps. The GCBG project worked with early years educators and developed culturally appropriate resources to challenge gender stereotypes that exist in the Alice Springs community, while the OWS project developed animations to challenge the view that violence against women is condoned by traditional Aboriginal cultures. The evaluation investigated participants’ attitudes and beliefs about gender, violence and Aboriginal cultures, and whether this was impacted by their engagement with the projects. The author’s note  that the projects impacted respondents’ reported knowledge and attitudes about gender, violence and Aboriginal cultures.
Family, domestic and sexual violence service responses in the time of COVID-19
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Canberra
December 2021

REPORT | This report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) investigates how service responses to family, domestic and sexual violence (FDSV) was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Data was collected from a range of national sources, including federal and state government agencies, research centres and FDSV organisations, with a focus on data from January to June 2020. The report provides a mixed picture of evidence in relation to FDSV and FDSV service use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report states that changes to service use can occur for a number of reasons, including increased availability of services, increased awareness of services, and increased need for services, stating that the long-term effects of the pandemic on FDSV and FDSV service use are still unknown. The report also identifies the existence of several key data gaps, including the limited availability of data from specialist FDSV services ambulance, emergency departments and primary health care services.
“Never waste a crisis”: Domestic and family violence policy and practice initiatives in response to COVID-19
G McKibbin, C Humphreys, E Gallois, M Robinson, J Sijnja, J Yeung & R Goodbourn | Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), Sydney
December 2021

RESEARCH | This study by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) examines Australian initiatives implemented in Australia in the COVID-19 pandemic up until June 2021, with a specific focus on initiatives in Victoria. This forms part of a larger international study taking place in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. The study addressed 10 research questions raised in all four countries, conducting interviews with 10 experts in relevant sectors as well as a rapid review of 31 documents. The authors state that whilst the pandemic deepened social inequalities amongst women and children living with DFV, there was a positive  increase in collaboration between the DFV sector and the government. The authors present a number of key recommendations based on the study’s findings.

Family Law

Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders: Views of professionals and judicial officers
R Kaspiew, R Carson, H Rhoades, L Qu, J De Maio, B Horsfall & E Stevens | Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), Sydney
January 2022

RESEARCH REPORT | This report by ANROWS is one part of a four-part research program investigating non-compliance with, and the enforcement of, parenting orders in Australia. The report is based on a survey conducted with 343 professionals who work with separated parents and 11 judicial officers working in family law. The authors note  that the reasons behind non-compliance are complex, but often involve certain overlapping themes such as family violence and safety concerns, and child related issues. The report indicates some preliminary findings suggesting  that the system for responding to contraventions of the regime is viewed as ineffective and inconsistent with client needs, and that the inclusion of punitive responses in the regime may have unintended consequences. Amongst other things, the authors call for a more child-focused approach when developing parenting orders in order to reduce non-compliance.

First Nations People

The Family Matters Report 2021
Family Matters, Australia
December 2021

REPORT | This annual report by Family Matters examines the work being done by the federal, state and territory governments to combat the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. The report also discusses structural drivers contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children encountering the child protection system, and makes several key recommendations.

Health Justice

Working together for client wellbeing: an outcome of health justice partnership
S Forell | Health Justice Australia, Sydney,
November 2021

REPORT | This discussion paper from Health Justice Australia examines the concept of client ‘well being’ as a means of determining the impact of health justice partnerships. The paper presents reasons why well being may be beneficial as an expressed outcome for health justice partnerships. The paper goes on to identify the different ways in which the concept of well being is measured, the strengths and limitations of this concept as a measurement tool, and how measures may be tailored to health justice partnerships. 


The impact of the NSW Driver Licence Disqualification Reforms on sentencing and reoffending
I Klauzner | NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), Sydney
November 2021

RESEARCH | This report outlines the findings of a study carried out by BOCSAR as to the effectiveness of NSW Driver Licence Disqualification Reforms on sentencing outcomes, reoffending, and monthly court finalisations. The study analysed a total of 118,248 finalised driving offences from BOCSAR's Reoffending Database. The study used a difference-in-differences methodology, comparing outcomes of individuals who committed an unauthorised driving offence to those who exceeded the prescribed content of alcohol while driving (the latter of which were not affected by the relevant reforms) before and after the reforms. The author notes that the reforms reduced the average length of licence disqualifications by 53%, reduced the length of prison sentences imposed by 28%, and decreased the probability of imprisonment by 37%. The impact of the reforms on Aboriginal offenders was even more significant, with the probability of receiving a prison sentence for Aboriginal offenders declining by 44%.


NSW Criminal Courts Statistics Jul 2016 - Jun 2021
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR)
December 2021

STATISTICS | This report by BOCSAR, updated twice a year, contains information relating to defendants dealt with in NSW criminal courts. The report found that NSW criminal court finalisations increased by 17% between  2019/2020 and 2020/2021 , which reflects a return to more usual numbers following a decrease in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the report found that the operation of the higher courts continued to be limited by social distancing requirements, leading to fewer finalisations. There was limited change in the number of defendants receiving a custodial sentence compared to the years prior.
Deaths in custody in Australia 2020-21
L Doherty | Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra
December 2021

STATISTICAL REPORT | This report from the National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) at the Australian Institute of Criminology examines the extent and nature of deaths occurring in prison and police custody and custody-related operations in 2020–21, and compares these findings with long-term trends. In 2020–21 there were 82 deaths in custody: 66 in prison custody and 16 in police custody or custody-related operations. The report looks, amongst other things, at the demographics of those who died, causes of death, offences committed and circumstances of the death.

About this newsletter

JARA is a free email alert service covering recent research in the area of access to justice and legal need. JARA entries are publications identified by Foundation staff rather than the product of a systematic search or review. Foundation staff have produced the summaries based on the original publications. The summaries do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors or the Law and Justice Foundation. Your feedback is important to us. If you have any comments or suggestions please email us at
© Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, 2022.
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