This is the second of three reports by the Sentencing Advisory Council examining crossover children in Victoria: children who were sentenced or diverted in the Children’s Court of Victoria between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2017 (youth justice system involvement) and who were known to child protection, in that they were the subject of at least one report to the Child Protection Service (child protection involvement).
Of the 5,063 children sentenced or diverted in Victoria in 2016 and 2017, 1,938 were the subject of at least one report to the Child Protection Service. This report also analyses aspects of children’s child protection involvement such as out-of-home care and, specifically, residential care.
- Regional Victoria had a higher proportion (44%) of sentenced and diverted children who were known to child protection than the Melbourne metropolitan area (35%). Around half of sentenced and diverted children were known to child protection in some regional areas, including Wangaratta (57%), Bendigo (50%), Horsham (48%), Sale (48%), the Latrobe Valley (47%) and Geelong (45%).
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were substantially over-represented among crossover kids sentenced or diverted in regional Victoria, even accounting for higher Aboriginal populations in some parts of regional Victoria.
- Children sentenced or diverted in regional areas are likely to be younger (aged 10–13) at their first sentence or diversion compared with children sentenced or diverted in the Melbourne metropolitan area.
- Crossover kids first sentenced or diverted aged 10–13 are a particularly vulnerable group. They are more likely to be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, to have been the subject of at least one child protection report alleging physical harm, to have experienced out-of-home or residential care and to have experienced more carers.
- The overwhelming majority (82%) of children from out-of-home care backgrounds who entered the youth justice system had multiple carers, with one in four experiencing 10 or more different carers (23%). One child had 50 care placements with 36 different carers.
- Children who experienced residential care were about twice as likely as other sentenced or diverted children to have committed particular offence types. These included property damage, bail-related offences, drug offences and weapons offences.