Young offenders

a cropped close up image of a guitar being played by a youthYoung people in detention are more likely to move into the adult criminal justice system and be disconnected from their family and community, are less likely to find long-term work.

Mission Australia knows that vulnerable youth, including those who have been abused or neglected, are also more likely to be incarcerated. They risk becoming our most marginalised adults.

It’s not uncommon for young people to engage in some type of anti-social behaviour, but relatively few go on to become persistent offenders.
Young people who get caught up in a cycle of offending can face a bleak future.

We will see them in our homeless shelters, in hospital emergency wards being treated for acute mental illness and in our jails. Jailing young people is costly and counterproductive: it actually increases recidivism rates.

The message we are telling government, the media and community is that locking up young people is not the solution.

We believe investing in diversionary and post-release support programs and improving the capacity of teachers, nurses, counsellors, schools and hospitals to identify children at risk will reduce the likelihood of offending.

Support for young Australians

The following organisations offer health and wellbeing support for young people:

Want to learn more?

Find out more about Mission Australia's Annual Youth Survey, or download our research into young people.

Contact us

Search our service directory for your local Mission Australia service.


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Founding Purpose - 'Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God'