NEXT GENERATION (2012)
Better outcomes for vulnerable families in contact with Australian criminal justice systems
This publication looks at the ordinary functioning of the criminal justice system and the unintended adverse effects on families and children of offenders. Through no fault of their own, these children are already exposed to higher than usual levels of parental drug and alcohol use, family violence, mental illness, poverty, housing instability, child abuse and social isolation. Risks to children’s safety and well being then increase with parental contact with criminal justice systems.
The body of the document looks at each critical stage of contact (police, courts, community corrections, custody and reintegration) describing the issues that arise and proposing priorities for action, consistent with a throughcare approach.
The final section of the document addresses actions or planning that need to occur at the level of systems. These include data collection, research, leadership and collaboration. Each action forms part of a coordinated response that will ultimately lead to the delivery of better justice and community service responses.
Why take action on this issue?
The document proposes a coordinated framework for work by many stakeholders that will improve responses to the needs of children and families of offenders. The aim is to protect children from harm and at the same time produce outcomes that will benefit the whole community by reducing the individual and social burden of crime. Reasons for responding in this way include:
- Protecting children from harm and intervening early to protect children from increased exposure to risk factors;
- Promoting children’s growth , well being and healthy development to improve life chances. >> Supporting opportunities for children’s development and engagement in education;
- Strengthening families ’ capacity to cope and to support children with improved access to services, building individual and family resilience;
- Engaging all family members - vulnerable parents, carers and children - in support through local primary care and education systems.
- Reducing the economic and social costs of reactive crisis interventions (health, welfare and criminal justice responses);
- Improving service ability to address multiple forms of disadvantage through joined up services and reducing the social burden of criminal activity.
Download a copy of Next Generation here. Hard copies of the report are available on request. Please contact VACRO Reception (+61 3 9605 1900) or email email@example.com
If you would like further information about Next Generation or to discuss VACRO’s work in this area, please contact: Melanie Field-Pimm, Manager Communications & Development firstname.lastname@example.org