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Preventing Crime and Promoting Rights for Indigenous Young People with Cognitive Disabilities and Mental Health IssuesCover

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Part 1: Why do we need this research? Arguing for protection, prevention and knowledge for Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health issues

  1. Introduction
  2. Methodology
  3. Definitional Issues

Part 2: What do we know about Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health issues?

  1. Human Rights and Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health issues
  2. Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health issues and the juvenile justice system: What are the connections?
  3. Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health problems in context: Issues in development, education and the juvenile justice system
  4. What works: Interventions for Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health issues
  5. Summary of key findings and issues from the literature

Part 3: Stories from the field: A life course approach to Indigenous young people with Cognitive disabilities and mental health issues

  1. Common Themes
  2. The early years and family support
  3. The school years
  4. Early adolescence and offending

Part 4: Conclusion and Recommendations

Appendix 1: List of consultations

Appendix 2: Government responses

Appendix 3: List of Government responses


Forward

We know that Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system are some of the most disadvantaged young people in Australia but Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities and mental health issues face an even greater burden of disadvantage. They are faced with institutions that fail to pick up on their disabilities, services that do not cater to their needs and a culture where they are simply forgotten or put in the ‘too hard’ basket.

We decided to undertake this research because so little attention is paid to this group of young people whose needs are so great.

We have approached this problem with optimism that through early intervention and diversion we can do these young people’s needs justice rather than defaulting to a law and order position that results in further criminalisation of the vulnerable.

This report will look at the evidence on Indigenous young people with cognitive disabilities, map some of the services available and then based on consultations with experts, look at a variety of programs that show promise in helping these young people. This provides the basis for our best practice principles and recommendations.

I am glad to have brought some of these issues to light and look forward to sharing our findings with government departments, service providers and workers to develop a future for these forgotten young people.

Tom Calma
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner

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