1 October 2020

Tania Maxwell MP, Member for Northern Victoria, has today responded to the Sentencing Advisory Council’s report on children on remand by repeating her call for significant investment by the State Government in early intervention programs.

Ms Maxwell describes the report as ‘disturbing’ and holds serious concerns about the lack of investment by the Government in providing support to vulnerable families and their children.

The Sentencing Advisory Council report found that the number of children held on remand in Victoria’s youth justice system – that is, children who have been detained or denied bail but are yet to be sentenced – more than doubled between 2010 and 2019.

The report found that children on remand make up 47% of all children in custody in Victoria, with many children in custody denied bail because safe accommodation and access to support services could not be guaranteed.

Ms Maxwell has spoken numerous times in Parliament about the importance of primary prevention and early intervention programs to help drive down instances of youth crime.

Ms Maxwell said that there was a strong case for re-evaluating funding opportunities and ensuring a continued focus on long-term maternal child health interventions and other intensive supports for vulnerable families and children.

Ms Maxwell said the report by the Sentencing Advisory Council gives rise to an opportunity to reassess how better to use early intervention principles with a strong investment in service models which increase bonding and attachment between children and parents.

Ms Maxwell said that such strategies were imperative in reducing the number of children being held on remand, and/or entering the youth justice system.

Quotes attributable to Tania Maxwell MP:

 “Engaging vulnerable parents and children at the early stages is vital, and early intervention is a better long-term approach as opposed to addressing issues once a child is in regular contact with the justice system.”

“There is a significant case for prioritising funding for early intervention and primary prevention programs to empower, educate and support parents and their children.”