Dr Jocelyn Jones1
1University Of Western Australia, Nedlands, Australia
The over-representation of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in contact with the child protection system and juvenile justice remains high and disproportionate to the non-Aboriginal community. Epidemiology studies provide the much needed data to identify how our young children are progressing and what barriers they are facing along the developmental pathway until adolescence. Western Australia has high quality data that provides the unique opportunity to explore the health and social outcomes of our children into adulthood. Western Australian population-level data was used to explore the trajectory from child protection to juvenile justice in a cohort of Aboriginal children. This paper will address associations between, birth and maternal characteristics, gender, child protection, parental incarceration and contact with Juvenile Justice. Our findings provide significant insight into the plight our young children from birth to 18 years of age. Despite this we also found the importance of keeping children with their mothers to reduce the risk of a child entering the justice system. Evidence from this research suggests that removing children from their families and the community is not a sustainable response to child maltreatment.
Dr Jocelyn Jones identifies as a Nyoongar woman and holds a Masters in Applied Epidemiology and PhD. Dr Jones has extensive experience working in health and justice, and working in both Aboriginal community controlled health services and in senior management positions in the Department of Health. She is an early career researcher and in the last 5 years has made significant contributions to Aboriginal health and social well being through her work with Aboriginal prisoners and juvenile justice.