This study is a collaboration between Monash University and the Children’s Court of Victoria. It was funded both by a Criminology Research Grant (CRG 03/15-16) from the Australian Institute of Criminology and by the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation, and undertaken between July 2016 and August 2018. The study set out to examine the extent to which children and young people before the Criminal Division of the Victorian Children’s Court were also clients of the statutory Child Protection system, and to better understand the characteristics of this group. It aimed also to discover the factors which contribute to the entry and entrenchment of these children in the criminal justice system. A mixed methods research design was adopted, with data collection from Children’s Court file audits, and key stakeholder consultations, including focus groups and individual interviews.
The study findings revealed that cross-over children were overwhelmingly impacted by cumulative harm across their lives, faced considerable co-occurring challenges affecting their engagement with statutory and nonstatutory social systems, and were more likely to be among children convicted with earlier onset, more violent and more voluminous offending.