10 October 2019


JOINT STATEMENT – Victorian Government’s youth custody announcement a positive step, say health, legal, community leaders

Victorian Government’s youth custody announcement a positive step, say health, legal, community leaders

3 October 2019

The Victorian Government’s decision to retain the Parkville Youth Justice Centre for young women and the youngest boys is an important step in the right direction, say leaders from Victoria’s health, legal and community sectors.

The Government’s announcement to keep the Parkville site aligns with a key recommendation of the 2017 Youth Justice Review by Professor James Ogloff and Penny Armytage, which strongly advocates for its retention given its central location and proximity to specialist services, the CBD and public transport.
All Victorians deserve to be safe and feel safe, and all children deserve a safe, healthy and loving childhood. Addressing the drivers of offending is the best way to build stronger communities. We believe more needs to be done in order to effectively reduce the trauma, discrimination and inequality that leads some children and young people to get in trouble, but this is a step in the right direction – and one that that is based on evidence.
While it remains our view that a new youth detention facility at Cherry Creek is not required, we welcome its repurposing to house boys between the ages of 15 and 18, with young women and boys under 15 remaining at Parkville. This will be more effective and age-appropriate than using Cherry Creek simply as a default option for all children and young people, no matter their needs or age.
We are pleased that the repurposed Cherry Creek facility will include dedicated mental health beds, a specialised health care unit and intensive drug and alcohol treatment. According to the most recent report by the Youth Parole Board, more than half (53 per cent) of the young people who presented to youth justice had mental health issues and 30 per cent had a history of self-harm or suicidal ideation. It is crucial that young people in the justice system have access to effective, age-appropriate services to hold them to account for their actions while supporting them to address the underlying problems behind their behavior.
Children are worth a second chance – that’s why Victoria’s youth justice system needs to be better. We have an opportunity to return Victoria to its previous position as leading the country in humane, effective and evidence-based approaches to young people in trouble in a way that holds them truly accountable for their actions, gives them hope to transform their lives, stops children progressing to a life of adult crime and reduces the number of future victims.
We stand ready to support the Victorian Government in making this a reality.
As experts with deep experience seeking solutions and working with people intersecting with the justice system, as well as their families and communities, we call on the Victorian Government to adopt and put into action the following key principles for an effective and humane youth justice system:

  • Incarceration as a last resort, including raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years of age
  • Focus on early intervention and diversion
  • Listening to the voices of people and their families
  • Developmentally appropriate approaches to children and young people
  • Addressing the disproportionate number of children and young people with a care experience who get caught up in youth justice and detention
  • Recognising the importance of culture and country for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Connection to families, communities and culture
  • Thorough assessment and planning
  • Addressing offending behaviour
  • Addressing mental health, substance abuse and other health and wellbeing needs
  • Strong framework of support and accountability
  • Restorative justice approaches
  • Education and training focus that builds practical and social skills for re-socialisation, and builds skills for future employment opportunities
  • Holistic and appropriate wrap-around support services are available for those exiting youth detention in order to assist their reintegration into the community.



Jesuit Social Services
Bernie Geary – Former Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People
Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
CREATE Foundation
Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network
Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria
Justice-involved Young People (JYP) network
Professor Patrick McGorry AO – Executive Director, Orygen (The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health)
SHINE For Kids
Stan Winford – Associate Director, Centre for Innovative Justice
The Salvation Army
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association
Victorian Council of Social Service
Youth Support and Advocacy Service
Youth Affairs Council Victoria

23 September 2016

Veterans to mentor juvenile detainees

NSW Government media releaseThe Veterans Young Offender Mentoring Program, in coordination with the NSW RSL, will match mentors with about 40 young people each year, providing opportunities to develop a young person’s social skills, self-esteem, and help them reach their potential. SHINE for Kids will run the program, provide training and carry out relevant criminal record and Working with Children checks.

David Elliott
Minister for Corrections | Minister for Veterans Affairs

Juvenile Justice NSW Department of Justice

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30 August 2016

Hills Shire ClubGRANTS supports programs for children of prisoners in Hills LGA

Download the PDF of this media releaseA selection of programs by SHINE for Kids, a not-for-profit supporting children of prisoners, has received $10,000 of funding from Castle Hill RSL through the Hills Shire ClubGRANTS. This funding will give 30 Hills LGA children full access to a series of proven, established SHINE for Kids programs collectively known as ‘Connecting Kids’. They are: Child/Parent Activity Days, Story Time Program, Children’s Supported Transport Service and Child and Family Centres.

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26 July 2016

SHINE for Kids commends rapid Federal Government response

Download the PDF of this media releaseAn Australian NGO has commended the Federal Government for its rapid response to child abuse in the Northern Territory juvenile justice system. “The footage of abuse of young people at the hands of staff in the old Don Dale youth detention facility, shown on Four Corners last night, was absolutely shocking,” the Chief Executive Officer of SHINE for Kids, Gloria Larman, said today. “We commend the Australian Government for the announcement of a Royal Commission into this issue,” Ms Larman added.

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15 May 2016

SHINE for Kids commends anti-recidivism program in Wales

Download the PDF of this media releaseAn Australian NGO has commended a ground-breaking program in a Welsh prison that seeks to reduce re-offending by strengthening emotional connections between inmates and their families. In the Family Interventions Unit at HMP Parc, Bridgend, Wales, inmate fathers are encouraged to acknowledge the effects of their crimes on their families. “A few months ago I visited this prison and saw first-hand how it has operated over the last five years,” the Chief Executive Officer of SHINE for Kids, Gloria Larman, said today.

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