Image zone
Reintegration puzzle conference
June 2010
Sarah Niblock, Senior Disability Advisor,
Disability Forensic Assessment and Treatment Services, Victoria
Young People With a Disability in the Victorian Youth
Justice System: Ensuring a Collaborative Approach
Reintegration Puzzle Conference 2010
Sarah Niblock
24 June 2010
Senior Disability Adviser (SDA) – : a Collaboration
Aims: to build capacity of youth justice and disability client services staff to
effectively respond to the needs of young people with a disability involved in
the youth justice system with a focus on youth justice custodial facilities.
Also focuses on strengthening and supporting collaboration between
Disability Services and Youth Justice throughout the case management
Funded by Disability Services and Youth Justice (Victoria)
State-wide role and ongoing since 2008
Client Group is all young people involved with the youth justice system in
Victoria who have a registered disability
Works with a variety of agencies
Works at Parkville Youth Justice Precinct and Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre
Based at and managed by the Disability Forensic Assessment Treatment Service
Reports to a high level of departmental interface committee
Contributes to broader disability, youth justice and youth justice custodial policy
and service planning
Key activities
Secondary consultation to youth justice staff.
Staff development for YJCC staff and Disability Client Services staff.
Building knowledge of YJCC staff about Disability, supports and services, and
provision of resources.
Establish effective networks between regional disability services, youth justice,
youth custodial, education and health services.
Assist with joint case planning, exit planning for young people in custody,
including advising on individual behaviour management strategies.
Promotion of protocol between Youth Justice and Disability Client Services
The role has continued to evolve within a context of
legislation, practice and policy developments
Revised Protocol between Disability Services and Youth Justice (2009)
– Joint and individual responsibilities at difference stage of contact with justice
– key collaboration points: assessment, identification of supports and services,
and information sharing
– Co-signing of parole plans developed by Youth Justice before returned to the
Youth Parole Board
– For further information about the protocol, see
At times the focus of statutory and voluntary services can differ –
collaboration is critical
Role is informed by a range of information and data sources
Specific tools are utilised to assist with identification of young people with a disability:
Self identification on arrival in custody.
Use of the Victorian Offending Needs Indicator for Youth (VONIY).
Identified through external reports, behaviour in custody, or collaboration with other
Databases such as the Client Relationship Information System (CRIS) are used to
inform service planning.
Consultation with Disability Services, Youth Services and Youth Justice Custodial
Clients referred to the Senior Disability Advisor, 2008 - 2009
Referrals to SDA – Indigenous status
Cultural Background of Clients
Referrals to SDA - Young people from a Culturally and
Linguistically Diverse background
Current challenges
Identification of young people with a Disability.
Increased presentation of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
Complexity of cognitive assessments
Ensuring responsitivity to needs of young people from a Culturally and
Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background.
Complex presentations of young men and women with a Disability that exhibit
violence and other behaviours of concern.
Multiple agency involvement including Child Protection and Non – Government
Teamwork is vital
Source: The Guardian Weekly, 28 May 2010
Capacity building of youth justice and disability services staff
Seeks to capacity build within custody centres and across the state
Strengthening formal linkages between Youth Justice and Disability
Services and encouraging collaborative practices
Assisting with staff development for YJCC and regional disability client
services staff around specific needs of client group and collaborative
Assisting to develop workable and practical interventions that will divert
young people with a disability away from the youth justice system
Facilitating understanding and cooperation around the revised Protocol
between Youth Justice and Disability Services – and guidelines for
workers (2009)
Two sides of the collaboration coin
Youth Justice / Disability
Increased understanding amongst youth justice custodial staff of how to work with
young people with a disability
Increased use of positive behaviour management strategies by youth justice staff
with young people.
Greater understanding amongst youth justice staff understanding of disability
service system and how to access
More active involvement of disability services staff in exit and parole planning for
young people.
Improved working relationships between youth justice and disability client services
as well as with other agencies such as the Statewide ABI Paediatric Coordination
Further Outcomes …
Increase in the engagement of young people in custody with disability
services case management
Increase in number of referrals from custodial staff to the SDA over a two year
period Skill development through workforce and learning initiatives – collaborative
training and provision of induction training for new YJ and DCS case managers\
Increased engagement by Disability Client Services case managers at Youth
Parole Board and greater involvement in exit planning
Future priorities and opportunities
Building on the knowledge base of youth justice staff on working with young people
with a disability:
Understanding nature of disabilities
Positive behaviour supports
Pathways into assessment
How to access support services in the community for young people with a
Assisting with the ongoing training of youth justice staff on:
– Positive behaviour strategies
– Effective communication strategies.
Further contribute to policy and service planning.
Contact details
Sarah Niblock, Senior Disability Advisor
[email protected]
(w): 03 9389 4435
(m): 0417 120 691

Sarah Niblock Fri 1100