Mandated therapeutic treatment for young people suffering from severe substance abuse

Magistrate Jennifer Bowles1,
1Churchill Trust, Canberra, Australia, 2Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria

Magistrate Jennifer Bowles was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to explore international options for providing therapeutic treatment services to young people suffering from severe alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues. As a Magistrate in the Children’s Court of Victoria, she regularly witnesses young people whose lives are on a downward spiral and who can not or do not access voluntary treatment services at present. Her overseas observations demonstrated that mandated residential treatment can work provided a clear set of criteria are met. She will outline the criteria and progress regarding the implementation of her ‘What Can Be Done…’ Fellowship Report recommendations.


Jennifer Bowles has been a Magistrate since 1998. For more than half of this time, she has been a Magistrate in the Children’s Court of Victoria. She was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2014 to explore treatment options for young people suffering from serious substance misuse issues. Together with a colleague, she respectively established the Sexual Offences List and Sexual Abuse List in the Criminal and Family Divisions of the Children’s Court. She is currently the supervising magistrate of the Children’s Koori Court at Melbourne and she is Chair of the Professional Development Committee of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. Magistrate Bowles annotated the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (CYFA) in the publication “Family Violence and Child Protection Law in Victoria”.



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