Dr Kelly Richards, School of Justice,
Queensland University of Technology
Research themes:
Social and Indigenous justice
Sexuality, gender and justice
Eco-crime and corruption
International Journal and biennial conference:
Recognising young people as young people
Recognising the diversity of young people
Jumping in the deep end
Knowing what we are doing, and why we are
doing it
Avoiding being hijacked
Diversion is defined as the channelling of
cases to noncourt institutions, in instances
where these cases would ordinarily have
received an adjudicatory (or fact-finding)
hearing by a court (Nejelski 1976: 396).
[‘Diversion’ is] a means of diverting eligible
offenders from the criminal justice system to
specific programs that address issues related
to criminal behaviour (Heseltine & Howells
2012: 512).
Diversion primarily operates at three levels:
o crime prevention strategies — which aim to
prevent young people becoming involved in
criminal activity in the first instance;
o diversionary schemes — which aim to divert
young offenders away from the criminal
justice system as early as possible; and
o sentencing options — which aim to divert
young people away from custodial
sentences (Jordan & Farrell 2013: 421).
[‘Diversion’ is] any process that is used by
components of the criminal justice system
whereby youths avoid formal juvenile court
processing and adjudication (Roberts cited in
Bechard et al. 2011: 607).
What are young people to be ‘diverted’ from
and to?
Are young people to be ‘diverted’ from the
criminal justice system or from offending
Are young people to be ‘diverted’ from
criminal justice processes or outcomes?
Although police cannot always be involved in
community development strategies and social
programs that aim to prevent crime, these
should be facilitated wherever possible.
Policing initiatives that divert offenders from
the criminal justice system at a young age are
critical (Attorney-General’s Department 2010:
Attorney-General’s Department 2010. National youth policing model. Canberra: Australian
Australian Capital Territory Department of Disability, Health and Community Services nd.
Diversionary framework for youth justice: Questions and answers. Canberra: ACT Government
Bechard S et al. 2011. Arbitrary arbitration: Diverting juveniles into the justice system - A
reexamination after 22 years. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative
Criminology 55(4): 605-625
Heseltine K and Howells K 2012. Community-based corrections. In Marmo M et al (eds) Crime
and justice: A guide to criminology. Sydney: Thomson Reuters: 507-526
Jordan L and Farrell J 2013. Juvenile justice diversion in Victoria: A blank canvas? Current Issues
in Criminal Justice 24(3): 419-437
McAra L & McVie S 2010. Youth crime and justice: Key messages from the Edinburgh Study of
Youth Transitions and Crime. Criminology and Criminal Justice 10(2): 179-209
McAra L & McVie S 2007. Youth justice? The impact of system contact on patterns of desistance
from offending European Journal of Criminology 4(3): 315-345
Nejelski P 1976. Diversion: The promise and the danger. Crime & Delinquency 22: 393-410
New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research 2011. Submission No 9 to NSW
Department of Attorney-General and Justice, Review of the Young Offenders Act 1997 and the
Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987, 12 December
Weatherburn D, McGrath A & Bartels L 2012. Three dogmas of juvenile justice University of
New South Wales Law Journal 35(3): 781-809
Dr Kelly Richards
Ph: (07) 3138 7125
[email protected]

Ethics in crime and criminal justice research