QCOSS welcomes the work of the Youth Justice Reform Select Committee in continuing to consult on significant themes and priorities that have emerged through their Inquiry. QCOSS previously responded to the initial call for submissions in relation to the Committee’s Terms of Reference. This submission was prepared and structured in response to the Committee’s priority areas for Phase Two of the Inquiry.

Our submission outlines that an evidence-based strategy must underpin the Queensland Government’s response to youth crime. Queenslanders should not need to choose between keeping the community safe, treating children humanely and ensuring victims are heard and their rights protected. A credible youth justice strategy can achieve all of these objectives together. As the Committee prepares to release its interim report, we emphasise that “tough-on-youth-crime” measures are not effective and are not consistent with Queensland’s commitment to human rights. The continued use of adult watch houses to detain children and the current over-reliance on detention centres is counterproductive.

Current human rights failings in the youth justice system are not acceptable and must not continue. Inaction on this will result in increasingly catastrophic outcomes for communities, children and families. Queensland has the resources, skills and capacity to become a leader in the youth justice setting, and to implement an ambitious evidence-based strategy that is in alignment with a human rights framework while increasing community safety.

15 March 2024 |Service type: