Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


Diversionary pathways for Aboriginal youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Indigenous health Aboriginal Australian youth Youth justice Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Western Australia
Attachment Size
apo-nid188906.pdf 336.43 KB

This article reports on a study undertaken in three Indigenous communities in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia (WA) intended to develop diversionary strategies for young people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Rates of FASD in the West Kimberley were comparable to those of high-risk populations internationally and there are concerns that youths with FASD are being enmeshed in the justice system. Further, under WA law they are at risk of being held in indefinite detention if found unfit to stand trial.

Besides recommending legislative reform, the authors urge a ‘decolonising’ approach, meaning maximum diversion into community owned and managed structures and processes, able to offer a culturally secure environment for stabilising children with FASD. The study calls for reform of police diversionary mechanisms and the creation of mobile ‘needs focused’ courts, offering comprehensive screening and rapid entry into on-country programs with strong Aboriginal community involvement.

Publication Details
License type:
All Rights Reserved
Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice, no.557