Youth Justice Strategy evidence

The content of the Youth Justice Strategy is founded on careful and thorough analysis of a wide range of:

  • academic literature
  • key strategies and reports
  • qualitative human research.

Academic literature

The department analysed of a range of academic sources to get various insights and perspectives on topics within the strategy, including systematic reviews produced by the Campbell Collaboration’s Social Welfare Coordinating Group on practice, policy, and research. The Campbell Collaboration papers are key sources for the 'What works and what doesn’t' section of the strategy.

What works

The literature shows a number of things work, including:

  • trauma-informed approaches
  • prevention
  • diversion
  • responding to needs and addressing causes of offending
  • programs run at the right intensity and for the right length of time to effect change
  • keeping children and young people active and engaged with community
  • restorative justice
  • mentoring for young people at high risk of offending
  • cultural engagement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Resource list

What doesn’t work

The literature also shows what doesn’t work, including:

  • that detention is not an effective option other than to protect the community from offenders who pose a serious risk to community safety
  • that detention is no more effective than community-based programs and has a range of negative impacts
  • scared straight programs
  • boot camps
  • curfews.

Resource list

Data sources

The department has drawn data from a range of sources in the development of the Youth Justice Strategy. Published data for Queensland youth justice include:

In addition, unpublished data and advice from a range of sources was incorporated:

  • Youth Justice census data 2018, Young people under supervision using two or more substances, unpublished
  • Youth Justice performance and reporting 2018, Number of young people aged 10-15 with a proven offence in 2016-17, unpublished
  • Youth Justice performance and reporting 2018, Profile of children and young people under supervision, unpublished data
  • Queensland Police Service dversion data 2018, unpublished data
  • Program advice on the number of completed certificates through Transition to Success
  • Regional advice on the number of families of children and young people monitored or contacted as part of the Townsville Stronger Communities Action Plan, unpublished.

The department has also drawn data from key external sources including:

Key Queensland strategies and reports

To take into account the Queensland context, various reports and strategies that relate specifically the state were examined including:

Key strategies, reports and resources from other jurisdictions

The department examined reports, strategies and reviews of key Australian and international jurisdictions to take into account the best thinking available across Australian and international jurisdictions.

New Zealand



United States


New South Wales


Northern Territory

Australian Capital Territory

  • ACT Children and Young People Commissioner, 'Children and Young people with Complex needs in the ACT Youth Justice System – criminal justice responses to mental health conditions, cognitive disability, drug and alcohol disorders and childhood trauma', March 2016

South Australia