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Across Australia - and around the world - communities and governments are changing the way they respond to children and young people who break the law. This shift has been away from systems that deal largely with the consequences of youth crime, towards ones that address the underlying causes of offending by children and young people.

Efforts and resources are directed towards early intervention and prevention, diversion, including restorative justice practices, and only using detention for serious and repeat offending behaviour. For young people who come into contact with the youth justice system, the focus is on rehabilitation and reconnection with families and the community. Such approaches are not only delivering better outcomes for children and young people, but they have an important role in shaping community safety.

National and international research tells us about what works, and what doesn’t, in getting children and young people back on track. While early intervention and prevention are very much guiding the direction for youth justice in the ACT — and indeed are at the heart of the Blueprint — many Canberrans also had a say about how we can make our youth justice system better.

The Blueprint draws on the experiences and understanding of people who work with young people who come into contact with the law. Importantly, we have also listened to the voices of young people and their families and to victims of crimes committed by young people. The Blueprint sets out the ACT Government’s commitment over the next ten years to provide better supports for vulnerable young people to make positive life choices, strengthen their families and build connections within the community. This is the basis for creating lasting change in the lives of children and young people, and their families.

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