Page 4349 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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Research highlights a decrease in seriousness and delay in onset of offending as other critical measures for determining effectiveness of justice systems. Working with young people who have received a custodial sentence to reduce their offending behaviours requires considerable effort. Young people receive custodial sentences only as a measure of last resort. It is important to note that once a young person has received a custodial sentence, they frequently have entrenched behavioural difficulties and limited supports in the community. Supporting young people in their efforts to rehabilitate, to change the behaviours that led to offending and to put them on a more positive pathway is an objective we all share, but it is amongst the hardest jobs in government. Once again, I commend the commitment of the youth workers, teachers and other staff who work with young people in Bimberi.

We know the quality of programs and services provided to young people in Bimberi can maximise the chance of disrupting the trajectory of lifelong offending. I am pleased to be able to report that Bimberi has some of the most comprehensive and established services provided by government and also by our community partners. I remind the Assembly of the services and supports available to young people in Bimberi, including: the extensive work of staff from the Murrumbidgee Education and Training Centre, including a school transition officer; specialist health and mental health staff from ACT Health; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff from Gugan Gulwan and Winnunga Nimmityjah; the Canberra Raiders and staff from PCYC; drug and alcohol specialists from Ted Noffs Foundation and ACT Health drug and alcohol service; Relationships Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counselling; Australian of the Year finalist Alan Tongue, who delivers a variety of programs; and the shine for kids program.

To directly address the motion and my amendment, as I have indicated, there is already an extensive and robust collection of data on youth justice matters. This data has been reported regularly in the Legislative Assembly through the blueprint progress report. Data is also reported nationally by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and in the annual report on government services. The motion goes to the collection of data for young people who later receive a sentence of detention as an adult in the AMC.

I am happy to stand today and agree in principle with this motion that data about adult offending outcomes for young people on release from Bimberi would add to the data that is already collected and reported about young people exiting youth justice. However, my amendment notes that many young people who have been in Bimberi, as Mrs Kikkert acknowledged, move to other jurisdictions, and it needs to be understood that any sampling from the sentencing of former ACT-sentenced youth detainees to AMC would not be a complete picture.

It is also important to understand that such a data collection engages with the privacy requirements in a very direct way. The need to understand the outcomes of the system must be balanced with the privacy of the young person, particularly those young people who go on to be law-abiding citizens. As Mrs Kikkert noted, these young people have served their sentences and have the right to privacy. Their personal information should not be provided to others unnecessarily.

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