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Research projects involving face-to-face contact with YJNSW staff and/or young people may now be conducted with adherence to local procedures.
Following the National Cabinet Meeting on Friday, 20 March 2020, a decision was made to suspend all research involving personal contact with staff and/or young people under the supervision of YJNSW for the foreseeable future. This decision was made to assist in the prevention of the spread of any potential cases of COVID-19.
On Monday 9 November 2020, the YJNSW COVID Working Group provided the following advice;
Approved researchers can now enter Youth Justice Centres to run programs and / or interview young people and staff for research purposes.
Approved researchers can now meet with young people and / or staff to interview them face-to-face in the community.
All research proposing face-to-face contact with staff and/or young people, or non-contact forms of data collection, will be considered on a case by case basis.
In addition, the YJNSW Research and Information Unit will continue to support those projects, already approved, where the face-to-face component of the research has been finalised, as well as those solely involving the provision and/or analysis of data. This support will continue to be provided via email or other online methods.
Should you have any queries in relation to your research project, please contact the YJNSW Research and Information Unit at Research.JJ@justice.nsw.gov.au
Youth Justice NSW (YJNSW) views research undertaken in its community and custodial centres as a significant contributor to the development and maintenance of evidence-based interventions for young people involved in the criminal justice system.
YJNSW, however, has a responsibility to ensure that research conducted in its community and custodial centres does not infringe upon the rights, or jeopardise the welfare of, young people involved in the youth justice system or personnel employed by YJNSW, and that research activity does not impede rehabilitation programs, or the provision of a safe and secure environment.
YJNSW is also responsible for the provision of advice to the Minister on a full range of information in order to assist him to make informed decisions or respond where necessary.
Accordingly, all proposals to conduct research in YJNSW centres/offices require the approval of the YJNSW Executive Director.
All research proposals and applications are processed through Youth Justice Research and Information Unit.
It is the responsibility of the Research & Information Unit to assess and review all proposals for research in a rigorous manner to determine if the research is appropriate for YJNSW, particularly in regard to our duty of care for young people in our supervision and our staff. This process allows senior executives of YJNSW to review and approve all research in the agency. It also allows for the briefing of the Minister when findings are made public.
Proposals will be assessed with the intention of ensuring:
It is a condition of approval that, upon completion of a project, the researcher provide YJNSW with a report of the findings of the study and grant YJNSW the right to disseminate this report to personnel employed by YJNSW.
The researcher will also provide participating centres and/or offices, and the participants (young people and/or personnel), with a summary of the study findings.
Researchers will be required to sign a written contract agreeing to abide by the conditions of approval.
The agency reserves the right to terminate research at any time, especially if the researcher acts unethically or compromises the security of the agency/confidentiality of the participants.
All researchers are strongly advised to read the Youth Justice NSW Research Agenda 2017-2020 [PDF, 259kb] and the
Policy and Procedures for Applying to Conduct Research within YJNSW [PDF, 1.1MB] prior to applying to conduct research in YJNSW.
Youth Justice NSW Research Agenda 2017-2020 [PDF, 259kb] outlines the priority areas guiding JJNSW research activities.
It is intended to be a guide to assist researchers to identify areas of research that will contribute to the existing body of knowledge that can be used to inform and shape policies and practice, and enhance evidence-based decision-making within the youth justice system.
YJNSW considers the following as priority areas for establishing a research base for evidence-based decision-making;
Research Priority Area 1: Building an evidence base about what works (how, when, where, and why) with young offenders in NSW.
Research Priority Area 2: Evidence based post-release support with specific focus on reintegration and the continuity of service delivery to young people in the community.
Research Priority Area 3: Early intervention and diversionary programs with specific focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in early contact with the criminal justice system.
Research Priority Area 4: Effective engagement and practice for working with young people with specific focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and young people with mental health issues and/or cognitive impairment.
Research Priority Area 5: Provision of appropriate training, resources, and supervision to staff to ensure continuous improvement.
Research Priority Area 6: Innovative practice to improve outcomes for staff and young people.
These research priority areas should not be regarded as an exhaustive list. Rather, they reflect YJNSW’s current priorities and should be used as a guide or prompt for researchers.
All researchers are strongly advised to read the Policy and Procedures for Applying to Conduct Research within YJNSW [PDF, 1.1MB] prior to applying to conduct research in YJNSW.
Researchers are also encouraged to read documentation provided on this site regarding previously
current projects when considering an application to conduct research. This is to ensure that possible project areas will not overlap with existing, or recently completed projects.
Interested persons should also
contact the YJNSW Research and Information Unit (RIU) in the first instance to speak with the Manager or Senior Research and Information Officer, to seek initial support for their proposal.
In addition to the documents above, all researchers are advised to read the following documents prior to applying to conduct research in YJNSW;
The Commission for Children and Young People - Count me in!
The Commission for Children and Young People have published a practical resource Count me in!, which was developed in conjunction with the Social Justice and Change Research Centre, University of Western Sydney. This resource contains information for those conducting social research with children and young people.
The Research and Information Unit is available to answer questions regarding all aspects of the application process. Please contact the Research and Information Unit at
Currently, there are a number of research projects and evaluations being undertaken by or in collaboration with Department of Justice, YJNSW.
Case management in YJNSW: client perspectives
Collaborative family work in youth justice: a model for reducing recidivism in young offenders
Comparative youth penalty project
Correlates of Oral Language Skills of Young Offenders
Criminal identity formation – the aspects of identity development amongst adolescent males in the YJNSW system
Development of core effective practice skills in Youth Justice
Growing up with family trauma and violence: positive and negative interpretations in young adult life
Policing young people in care – impacts of not-for-profit carer decision making on sentencing and bail
Positive pathways for vulnerable adolescents: the role of a life management program approach
Prevalence of Hearing Loss and Spatial Processing Disorder in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescents in Youth Justice Centres
Stages of psychosis in the prison population
Towards an effective practice model for youth detention in NSW
Under-utilising youth diversion: exploring multiple perspectives
Young People on Community Orders Health Survey (YPoCOHS) 2003-2006
Please note: The views expressed in the following publications do not necessarily represent any official views of YJNSW.
Aboriginal young people
Adolescent sex offenders
Psychopathology and behaviour
Speech and language functioning
Supervision skills for working with young people
Transition and reintegration after release from juvenile detention
Youth Justice Conferencing in NSW
Youth level of service/case management inventory - Australian adaptation
Youth People in Custody Health Survey project
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research publish the NSW Criminal Court Statistics Report, which has a specific section for Children's Court outcomes. This report contains information provided by Youth Justice. NSW Recorded Crime Statistics reports are published annually by the Bureau and these reports are available on their website from 1997.
The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) The Australian Institute of Criminology publishes a range of research papers detailing crime figures and trends, along with technical and background reports on specific areas, such as youth detention.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics - National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics of the Australian Bureau of Statistics provide a number of annual Crime and Justice publications that include information about crime rates among youth. The ABS also provides population information through the Census, which can be accessed here.
Report on Government Services (ROGS) The Report on Government Services is an annual report providing information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia. In 2018, Chapter 18 reported on the performance of governments in providing youth justice services.
Audit Office of NSW The NSW Auditor General’s Financial Audit Report on Justice analyses the results of the financial statement audits of Justice cluster entities for each year ending June 30. The annual cost per youth detainee for 2013-2017 is shown on page 39 of the 2017 report.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) The AIHW produces reports and other information products, on key health and welfare issues in Australia. These include annual reports and fact sheets on Youth Justice in Australia, Youth Detention Population in Australia, and Young People Returning to Sentenced Youth Justice Supervision.