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Care criminalisation: issues and current research – Research brief

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Young people who are in, or have been in out-of-home care, particularly those with experience of living in residential care, are vulnerable to a number of negative outcomes, including having contact with criminal justice systems. Fundamental to this trajectory is the lived experience and impact of complex trauma. Other factors associated with involvement with justice systems include receiving insufficient support during their time in, and prior to leaving care; a failure to address the unique cultural needs of Indigenous young people and inadequate agency policy and resources to respond to their complex and challenging needs. A number of measures available to care agencies can reduce the chances of young people becoming involved in criminal activities and the justice system. Chief amongst these are ensuring that staff have a comprehensive understanding of the effect of trauma on behaviour; that they are supported to respond to challenging behaviour constructively; and that they are able to develop consistent, trusting and supportive relationships with young people that will enable them to thrive.

 

 

This brief addresses the following issues:

  • What is care criminalisation?
  • Residential care as a predictor of contact with justice systems
  • Types of offences and experiences of young people in out-of-home care
  • What are the main antecedents of offending?
  • Conceptualising care criminalisation through a trauma-informed lens
  • Implications for practice: trauma-informed responses

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