This brief describes the experience of attending a Youth Justice Conference, with regard to how long conferences take, who attends, what kinds of outcomes are agreed on, and whether these factors change in respect to the age, Indigenous status or gender of the young offender, or the location of the conference.
Method: This study utilised data from the Re-Offending Database maintained by the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research for 2010, together with data from the Client Information Management System maintained by the Department of Juvenile Justice for the 2009–2010 financial year.
Results: 54.2 per cent of referrals to a YJC came from a court, however this varied by offender demographics and location. Four-fifths (81.4%) of young offenders were male, 23.9 per cent identified as Indigenous, and the average age was 15.6 years. One-half (52%) of YJCs were held in the Metropolitan region. The most frequent outcome task was an apology (1,484 plans, 79.6%) however the content of plans and the number of tasks varied by offender demographics and location. Most (88.7%) outcome plans were completed and this varied by offender demographics and location but not by type or number of tasks. A typical conference took place two months after referral, lasted 71 minutes, and nine weeks later the Outcome Plan was completed, although there were regional differences. The victim attended 41.5 per cent of the time and in 51.2 per cent of conferences the young offender’s mother attended.