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Juvenile Justice NSW runs a range of events as part of the agency's Community Engagement Program. The program aims to better educate the public on different aspects of the juvenile justice system.

As part of the program, Juvenile Justice NSW partners with the Sydney Institute of Criminology to run seminars on the juvenile justice system. See below for current and past seminars.

Current events

There are no current events.


Past events

1. Descent into crime: Serious repeat offending in the early to mid-life course?

Venue: Law Foyer, Level 2, Sydney Law School Building, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus
7 August 2014

Seminar details:

In this seminar, Professor Mark Halsey drew from the forthcoming book Young Offenders: Crime, Prison and Struggles for Desistance (Mark Halsey and Simone Deegan, 2015, London: Palgrave), focusing particularly on the story of one young man and his descent into serious crime and long-term incarceration. Based on 10 years of interviews with him, his family, and various prison officials, Professor Halsey discussed the key implications. A discussion with a panel of experts followed.

2. The Inbetweeners: Getting Youth Back on Track

Venue: The new law building, University of Sydney
24 April 2013

Seminar details:

Enhancing outcomes for children and adolescents is an important goal of early intervention programs, where critical aspects of risk and need, rather than simply crime, are addressed. A holistic approach to the lives of young people also has significantly broader effects, including community safety, risk reduction and crime prevention. This important seminar focussed on the role of early intervention for juveniles as young as 10 years of age following the NSW Government's announcement of its Youth on Track program. The program aims to respond to the needs of those young people who come into repeated contact with police, and who have previously fallen through the cracks of service provision. The program will provide adequate services to prevent the further entrenchment of young people in the criminal justice system. This second seminar in the 2012 - 2013 Juvenile Justice seminar series explores the role of early intervention for these young people - the inbetweeners - and its effectiveness in getting them back on track.

Guest speakers included:

  • Brendan Thomas, Assistant Director General for Crime Prevention and Community Programs
  • Rebecca Magoffin, Principal Policy Officer, NSW Department of Family and Community Services
  • Professor Ilan Katz, Director of the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW.

3. Used and Abused?: The term 'gang' and its implications for ethnic minority youth.

Venue: University of Sydney, Law Foyer, Level 2, Sydney Law School Building, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus
16 April 2014
6pm - 8pm

Seminar details:

Dr Hannah Smithson, Reader in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, delivered a keynote presentation on the problematic usage of the term 'gang' and its implications for ethnic minority youth in the UK. Having undertaken numerous research and evaluation projects funded by the UK government, local authorities, police forces and charities, her research findings have impacted on policy at a local and national level.

Dr Smithson will present an assessment of the current situation in relation to the extent, and nature, of violent gang activity in three predominately Asian (Pakistani and Bangladeshi) areas and outline empirical evidence of the problematic way that the term 'gang' is being used and abused in the United Kingdom.

Following her presentation, Dr Smithson was joined in conversation with Dr Greg Martin, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, and Dr George Morgan, Researcher at the University of Western Sydney's Institute for Culture and Society, to discuss relevant issues such as:

- How might we extend these insights to the Australian context?
- What are some of the implications for Australian youth around the term 'gangs'?
- What is the role of the media?
- And how might we better understand and respond to young people's behaviour?

4. All in the Family? The use of Family Intervention Programs and Methods in Juvenile Justice

Venue: The new law building, University of Sydney
24 October 2012

This seminar explored models of family intervention and their effectiveness in reducing juvenile offending behavior. In exploring the role of family intervention, the seminar brings together key government, non-government organisation and academic perspectives. Critical attention increasingly is being paid to this area of juvenile justice practice; some jurisdictions are enthusiastic about the uptake of such programs, while others are more cautious. In light of this, it is timely that this seminar asks: how effective are family intervention programs and methods? Do they assist young people from deepening contact with the criminal justice system and prevent offending behaviour? Simply put, can and do they work?

This seminar looked at:

  • models of family intervention and their effectiveness in reducing juvenile offending
  • government, non-government organisation and academic perspectives on family intervention
  • jurisdictions that have used family intervention models successfully

Guest speakers included:

  • Michael Szyjan Ph.D. is the Manager of the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) in Juvenile Justice NSW
  • Bron Parker is Manager ALIVE, Catholic Care
  • Associate Professor Brian Stout, Associate Professor of Social Work in the Department of Social Work, Welfare and Therapy Studies, University of Western Sydney.

5. They tried to make me go to rehab... young offenders and drug use

Venue: The new law building, University of Sydney
9 May 2012

The last young people in custody health survey showed that 89% of young offenders had tried illicit drugs, with cannabis (87%) the most common used. As well, 65% had used an illicit drug at least weekly in the year prior to custody, 65% reported committing crime to obtain alcohol or drugs and 20% were intoxicated (on alcohol, drugs or both) at the time of their offence.

This seminar looked at:

  • the latest research on cannabis use amongst young offenders
  • an innovative intervention program specifically designed for young people with low literacy skills
  • the effect of being caught with small amounts of drugs and their subsequent entanglement in the justice system
  • alternatives to incarceration

Guest speakers included:

  • Melanie Simpson, Senior Research Officer/PhD Candidate, National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre
  • Geoff Wilkinson Program Manager, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Juvenile Justice
  • Jane Sanders, Principal Solicitor, Shopfront Youth Legal Centre

Listen to recordings from this seminar at http://hdl.handle.net/2123/8350

6. Spend less and reduce crime - hear how this is done in the United States

On 29 November 2011 the 'Spend less and reduct crime' seminar was held at the University of Sydney.

Guest speakers included:

  • International guest speaker, Steve Aos, Director of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. The Institute is responsible for conducting practical, non-partisan research at legislative direction on issues of importance to Washington State.

Steve discussed the Institute's criminal justice research findings, and how they believe that the key to success is to think more generally about crime.

7. Youth Justice Conferencing

On 17 October 2011, Juvenile Justice and the Sydney Institute of Criminology presented a seminar on Youth Justice Conferencing. The seminar explored the current state of evidence and practice in restorative justice and Youth Justice Conferencing, and brought together a range of perspectives on the conferencing process.

Guest speakers included:

  • Dr Kelly Richards, Senior Research Analyst, Australian Institute of Criminology
  • John Gralton, A/Assistant Commissioner, NSW Police
  • Bryan Boulton, Youth Justice Conferencing Convenor, based in Lismore

Click here to listen to the audio. http://sydney.edu.au/law/video/

8. Capacity for crime: adolescent brain development, mental health and youth crime

On 2 May 2011, Juvenile Justice and the Sydney Institute of Criminology presented the "Capacity for crime: adolescent brain development, mental health and youth crime" seminar at the University of Sydney Law School. The seminar explored current thinking in the science of adolescent brain development and reviewed recent research into the mental health of young people within the juvenile justice NSW system.

Guest speakers included:

  • Professor Ian Hickie, Executive Director for the Brain & Mind Institute
  • Natalie Mamone, Chief Psychologist, Juvenile Justice
  • Professor David Fergusson, Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the Christchurch Health and Development

International guest Professor David Ferguson spoke of the issues relating to the prevention and treatment of childhood conduct problems.

Listen to the audio (mp3 16.8mb)

View the presentations:

Ian Hickie (to be provided soon)

Natalie Mamone (PowerPoint 1.04mb)

David Fergusson (PowerPoint 555kb)

9. Aboriginal Young People and Crime

On 7 February 2011, Juvenile Justice and the Sydney Institute of Criminology presented the Aboriginal Young People and Crime seminar. The guest speakers discussed the reasons for continued over-representation of Aboriginal young people in the criminal justice system, and highlighted promising programs and strategies to help reduce the numbers in custody.

Speakers included:

  • Edwina Crawford, Manager, Aboriginal Strategic Coordination Unit, Department of Human Services NSW - Juvenile Justice
  • Kate Sullivan, Research Scholar at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University
  • Anthony Paulson, Centre Manager, Tirkandi Inaburra
  • Bob Debus, Former Minister for Home Affairs in the Australian Government and a former NSW Attorney General

Click here to access the audio files.

View the presentations:

Bob Debus (PDF 36kb)

Edwina Crawford (PDF 103kb)

Anthony Paulson (PowerPoint 863kb)

10. Juvenile Offending - What Are the Facts?

On 11 November 2010, Juvenile Justice and the Sydney Institute of Criminology presented the 'Juvenile offending - What are the Facts?'

Speakers included:

Peter Muir, Chair, AJJA
Dr Eric Heller, Manager of Research, Juvenile Justice NSW
Jessie Holmes, Senior Project Officer, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Rachel Aalders, Senior Project Manager, Child and Youth Welfare Unit, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Click here to listen to the audio . (2.71mb)

View the presentations:

Presentations are in PowerPoint format.

Dr Heller's presentation (7.39MB)
Ms Holme's presentation (2.71MB)
Ms Aalder's presentation (582kb) ​