LGBTIQ children and young people experience higher rates of substance misuse and selfharm, and are at higher risk of family disruption, homelessness and education disengagement. They also experience poorer physical and mental health outcomes. This is not inherent to their sexuality or gender diversity, but stems from family, community or structural responses to LGBTIQ young people.
We must respond holistically, both at a community level and within Youth Justice.
The government is committed to creating a fairer Victoria. Led by the first Minister for Equality in Victoria and supported by Victoria’s first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner, the government is supporting every LGBTIQ person in Victoria. At a community level, this includes removing the stigma of old criminal convictions for homosexual activity, allowing couples to adopt regardless of sex or gender identity, establishing Victoria’s first pride centre and making birth certificates fairer for trans and gender diverse Victorians.
Within Youth Justice, we work with young people during a time of significant physical, emotional and psychological development. Gender and sexual identity are normal parts of child and adolescent development. Young people who identify as sexually or gender diverse may have unique health, mental health and support needs. There is a need for Youth Justice to ensure that all diverse young people and staff feel comfortable, safe and appropriately supported.
In the custodial environment, LGBTIQ young people may have particular medical or accommodation considerations that need to be met. Creating a youth justice system that understands, responds to and celebrates LGBTIQ young people is an important step to improving outcomes for young people and LGBTIQ staff.
Reducing reoffending and promoting community safety by supporting children and young people to turn their lives around
- Review our custodial policies and procedures to reflect the needs of LGBTIQ young people. As part of this, our staff will be trained and supported to work inclusively with LGBTIQ young people, including through a practice framework that responds to this cohort of young people.
- Work with custodial health and support services to ensure that the needs of LGBTIQ young people are recognised and accommodated, including the specific health and mental health needs of this group.
Strengthening partnerships with children and young people, families and all services and professionals who support rehabilitation
- Work with Parkville College to embed the Safe Schools program into their curriculum.
- Collaborate with experts and stakeholders on the LGBTIQ Justice Working Group to ensure that our practice and any emerging issues are informed by relevant knowledge holders.
Investing in a skilled, safe and stable Youth Justice system, and safe systems of work
- Develop and embed LGBTIQ awareness and inclusive practice in our workforce learning and development program, including as part of the new custodial operating philosophy, and new practice framework for custodial staff.