Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

New South Wales juvenile detainees

In 2013–14, juvenile detainees were only interviewed at the New South Wales (NSW) sites of Bankstown, Kings Cross and Surry Hills. It is important to note that the juvenile data do not reflect the total number of juveniles processed by the police at each station—police are often able to attend to juveniles away from the police station; primary caregivers can refuse access to the young person; and, as with adults, young people can refuse to participate, despite their primary caregiver(s) agreeing to the interview. Due to specific police protocols, different procedures exist for accessing juveniles aged 15 years or younger at each site. These factors may lead to a biased sample.

Summary

Of the 31 juvenile detainees who were approached, only six (19%) agreed to be interviewed. Given the small number of juveniles interviewed, caution should be exercised when interpreting the findings outlined below.

  • The majority of juvenile detainees were male (83%; n=5) and juvenile detainees were, on average, 15 years of age.
  • Fifty percent (n=3) of juvenile detainees reported having been charged on a previous occasion in the past 12 months.
  • Forty-four percent (n=4) of all charges recorded against juvenile detainees were violent, and 33 percent (n=3) were disorder.
  • Detainees may have been charged with multiple offences; each detainee was categorised according to the most serious offence (MSO) that they were charged with (see Technical Appendix). Sixty-seven percent (n=4) of juvenile detainees were categorised in the violent MSO category.
  • Of the five detainees who agreed to the interview who were eligible to provide a urine sample, three (60%) agreed to provide a urine sample.
  • None of the urine samples provided tested positive for a drug.