The Youth Justice Coalition formed in early 1987 under the auspices of the NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS). The creation of the Coalition brought individuals and agencies together to discuss and lobby Government on youth justice issues. The Coalition identified areas for law reform and worked on projects that ultimately contributed to the development of new legislation in the areas of juvenile justice and child welfare.
In 1990 the Coalition produced the report Kids in Justice which had over 200 recommendations for a better juvenile justice system. In 1994 the Coalition produced the report Nobody Listens that examined the problematic relationship between police and young people. The successful advocacy of the Coalition played a key role in the development of the Young Offenders’ Act (1997) NSW which enshrined in legislation a scheme to divert young people out of the criminal justice system.
In 1998 the Coalition participated in the project Let’s Make It Our Act which was an innovative response to the review of the Care and Protection Act that led to principles of participation being included in the preamble of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
The Coalition also developed community legal education and in 2000 produced the educational video “Joe’s Conference” about youth justice conferencing. The video is still relevant as an educational tool and is used by Schools and Juvenile Justice to this day.
The Coalition continues to remain active meeting bi-monthly to discuss legislative, policy and service delivery issues and advocating for children and young people. Today it is an independent body with close links to key government and non-government stakeholders that works across a wide range of youth justice issues.
The YJC is made up of youth workers, children’s lawyers, policy workers and academics across NSW. Our members include:
- Aboriginal Legal Service
- Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies
- Beaches Outreach Project
- Catholic Care
- Create Foundation
- Dr Elaine Fishwick
- Dr Vicki Sentas
- NSW Council of Social Services
- Jenny Bargen
- Justice Action
- Legal Aid NSW
- Macarthur Legal Centre
- Marrickville Legal Centre
- Marrickville Youth Resource Centre
- Mission Australia
- Public Interest Advocacy Centre
- Shopfront Youth Legal Centre
- Western Sydney Legal Centre
- Youth Action