Youth Justice supervises children and young people who are in the criminal justice system.

This includes:

  • young people 10-18 years of age
  • young adults up to 24 years of age who are serving their sentence in Youth Justice’s ‘dual track’ system.

Youth Justice may work with young people in the community, or in custodial services.

Our vision for a leading youth justice system

Youth Justice strives to:

  • reduce offending by children and young people and improve community safety
  • work with others to provide genuine opportunities for children and young people to turn their lives around.

Youth Justice works in partnership with families, communities, services and professionals.

An evidence-based approach

Evidence on youth offending shows that for most young people, diversion from the justice system and early intervention are the most effective approaches to reduce reoffending.

Youth diversion provides young people with pathways to avoid progression into the Youth Justice system. Programs and services support young people so they can address the underlying reasons for their offending. In most cases, this means they can remain in the community.

In 2017, the Armytage-Ogloff Youth Justice Review and Strategy identified key changes to Youth Justice to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Since then, Youth Justice has undergone significant transformation. In 2020-21, Victoria had the lowest rate of young people under Youth Justice supervision in the country – and one of the lowest rates of young people in custody.

Child Safe Standards

Youth Justice is committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. We seek to prevent harm of any kind impacting children and young people and have zero tolerance for racism, child abuse and inequality. Children and young people’s rights, relationships, identity, and culture must be recognised and respected, their voices heard, and their concerns acted upon. We aim to foster a culturally safe, child safe and child friendly environment for all children and young people we have contact with, deliver services to, or are impacted by our work.

Learn more about Child Safety in Youth Justice by accessing the child safe policy – interacting with children and the child safe code of conduct.

The future of Youth Justice

Youth Justice continues to transform and invest in services for young people and community safety. You can read about our key initiatives:

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Youth Justice Strategic Plan

The Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-30 is the roadmap to ongoing reform of the Youth Justice system.

The plan sets out how Youth Justice is working with partners to achieve a leading youth justice system for Victoria which supports young people to turn their lives around.

Read the Youth Justice Strategic Plan  

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Youth Diversion Statement

The Youth Diversion Statement is a guide outlining efforts to divert young people from the justice system to improve community safety in Victoria.

A range of programs and services are available to support young people to address the underlying reasons for offending.

View the Youth Diversion Statement

Painted artwork from the Wirkara Kulpa document

Wirkara Kulpa

Victoria's first Aboriginal Youth Justice Strategy has been written by and for Aboriginal young people.  

The strategy commits to supporting Aboriginal children and young people so they remain outside the Youth Justice system and live culturally rich lives. 

Learn more about Wirkara Kulpa (External link)