Dr Shane Warren and Ms Alyssa Venning
A number of academics from QUT School of Social Work and Public Health, many of who are members of QUT Centre for Justice, supported a submission to the Queensland Parliament Economics and Governance Committee Strengthening Community Safety Bill 2023 that was authored by QUT Centre for Justice member Dr Shane Warren and Ms Alyssa Venning.
In its recommendations the submission stated –
We are strong supporters of the Open Letter to the Queensland Parliament “Getting Smarter: Not
Tougher” on youth crime in Queensland that was published in The Courier Mail on Saturday 20th
January 2023. The nine recommendations spelt out in this letter were:
1. Stop politicising youth crime
2. Take notice of the Facts
3. Protect our children – More than any other age group they are the victims of crime
4. Let First Nations Leaders Lead
5. Properly resource our Teachers and schools
6. Take account of children disabilities and mental health concerns
7. Tackle our social problems
8. Hold children accountable for their behaviour in ways that work
9. Divert children and young people under the age of 14 from the criminal justice system.
Each of these recommendations need to be taken seriously and reflected in government policy
and practice. Additionally, we ask the government to do more at times of known peak offending.
It is widely known that the summer months coincide with a peak in youth offending. We suggest
the Queensland Government work proactively with non-government agencies and the
community at this time to better support young people and prevent them from engagement with
the police and youth justice services. An increase in flexible and responsive support services to
young people during this critical time is strongly recommended.
We also urge you to return the original policy intent spelt out in your own youth justice strategy.
Strategies that focus on higher levels of criminalisation of young people and greater rates of
incarceration deliver poor outcomes for children and young people and do not make the
community any safer. Now more than ever, we need strong leadership that brings the
community together to prevent youth crime now and into the future.
Despite very short timeframes given to prepare the submission (three days) the key points raised in the submission were included in an article in the Brisbane Times titled, “Spikes in youth crime over summer need a proactive response, hearing told”
“Leadership, ultimately, is the ability to transform values and to promote changes that are collaborative, ethical and progressive,” the QUT submission states.
“Now more than ever, we need strong leadership that brings the community together to prevent youth crime now and into the future.”
Read more about Shane’s research here.