‘Cross-over kids’: Effective responses to children and young people in the youth justice and statutory child protection systems

Dr Susan Baidawi1, Professor Rosemary Sheehan1
1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Children who come to the attention of statutory Child Protection services due to abuse, neglect and parental incapacity are twelve times more likely to offend and come under the supervision of Youth Justice services. Yet little is known about the characteristics and trajectories of this group of ‘cross-over’ children. This presentation outlines findings of a Criminology Research Council (CRC)-funded study undertaken in partnership with the Victorian Children’s Court. The study’s mixed-methods approach involved i) Children’s Court case file analyses of 300 cross-over children who in 2016-17 came before three Victorian Children’s Courts (2 metropolitan and 1 regional in location), and ii) interviews and focus groups with 82 professional stakeholders including the Children’s Court Judiciary, lawyers, police prosecutors and officers, Child Protection and Youth Justice practitioners, and other child and family welfare and educational professionals.

Drawing on the study’s findings, this presentation will focus on three key areas, namely i) the role and impact of family violence victimisation and perpetration in children’s trajectories, ii) the role and impact of intellectual and neurodevelopmental disability in children’s trajectories and iii) methodological challenges and insights raised in the study concerning the field of cross-over children’s research.


Dr Susan Baidawi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Social Work, Monash University, Melbourne. Her research spans aspects of the child protection, youth justice and adult justice systems. Her research interests include ageing in prison, and the nexus between child maltreatment, child protection involvement, and youth offending.

Professor Rosemary Sheehan works in the Department of Social Work, Monash University, Melbourne.  She has 17 years’ experience as a Dispute Resolution Convenor in the Children’s Court of Victoria. Professor Sheehanteaches mental health and researches in child welfare and the law, mental health, and corrections responses to women offenders.


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