1st Edition

Children, Care and Crime Trauma and Transformation

    230 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    230 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The historical context of colonisation situates the analysis in Children, Care and Crime of the involvement of children with care experience in the criminal justice system in an Australian jurisdiction (New South Wales), focusing on residential care, policing, the provision of legal services and interactions in the Children’s Court.

    While the majority of children in care do not have contact with the criminal justice system, this book explores why those with care experience, and Indigenous children, are over-represented in this system. Drawing on findings from an innovative, mixed-method study – court observations, file reviews and qualitative interviews – the book investigates historical and contemporary processes of colonisation and criminalisation. The book outlines the impact of trauma and responses to trauma, including inter-generational trauma caused by policies of colonisation and criminalisation. It then follows a child’s journey through the continuum of care to the criminal justice system, examining data at each stage including the residential care environment, interactions with police, the provision of legal services and experiences at the Children’s Court. Drawing together an analysis of the gendered and racialised treatment of women and girls with care experience in the criminal justice system, the book particularly focuses on legacies of forced removal and apprenticeship which targeted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. Through analysing what practices from England and Wales might offer the NSW context, our findings are enriched by further reflection on how decriminalisation pathways might be imagined. While there have been many policy initiatives developed to address criminalisation, in all parts of the study little evidence was found of implementation and impact. To conclude, the book examines the way that ‘hope tropes’ are regularly deployed in child protection and criminal justice to dangle the prospect of reform, and even to produce pockets of success, only to be whittled away by well-worn pathways to routine criminalisation. The conclusion also considers what a transformative agenda would look like and how monitoring and accountability mechanisms are key to new ways of operating. Finally, the book explores strengths-based approaches and how they might take shape in the child protection and criminal justice systems.

    Children, Care and Crime is aimed at researchers, lawyers and criminal justice practitioners, police, Judges and Magistrates, policy-makers and those working in child protection, the criminal justice system or delivering services to children or adults with care experience. The research is multidisciplinary and therefore will be of broad appeal to the criminology, law, psychology, sociology and social work disciplines. The book is most suitable for undergraduate courses focusing on youth justice and policing, and postgraduates researching in this field.


    Chapter 1: Historical and contemporary contexts of out-of-home care

    Chapter 2: Care-experience, trauma, Abuse and the criminal justice system

    Chapter 3: The residential care environment

    Chapter 4: Policing children with care experience

    Chapter 5 Lawyers, cultural competence and advising children with care experience

    Chapter 6: Care-experienced children in the NSW Children’s Court

    Chapter 7: Gender and criminalisation

    Chapter 8: Reducing criminalisation: innovations from England and Wales

    Conclusion: 'hope tropes' and routine criminalisation


    Alison Gerard is the Head of the Canberra Law School, University of Canberra, Ngunnawal Country. Her research program focuses on social justice and has been published in leading international and Australian journals. She is currently a CI on an ARC Discovery Project examining 'Crimmigration' in Australia. Alison has co-published on the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives in university curriculum.

    Andrew McGrath is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Charles Sturt University. His PhD research, in which he interviewed 200 young people after they appeared before the NSW Children’s Court, was published as a journal article that won the Allen Austin Bartholomew Award for best article published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology in 2009. Since then, he has published a number of articles in both Australian and International journals on topics ranging from the impact of custodial penalties on re-offending, the sentencing of young Indigenous offenders, serious and violent offending careers and juvenile risk assessment.

    Emma Colvin is a Senior Lecturer in law and criminology at Charles Sturt University in NSW Australia, Wiradyuri/Wiradjuri Country. Her research explores the criminalisation of groups of people, such as children with experience of the out-of-home care system. Her research also examines bail and the impact of risk determinations on people perceived as risky because of their vulnerability or disadvantage, such as homelessness or substance use. Emma’s work has been published by high-quality publishers and high-impact journals, and she has attracted government and charitable funding to support her research interests.

    Annette Gainsford is a Wiradyuri woman from Bathurst NSW and is the Associate Dean Indigenous Teaching and Learning in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership and Engagement at the University of Technology, Sydney. Annette has extensive experience in Indigenous curriculum development that embeds Indigenous graduate attributes across higher education curriculum. Her experience specifically covers the disciplines of law, criminal justice, business, and education. She is a recognised leader and expert in the field of Indigenous pedagogy, andragogy, and Indigenous research methodologies.

    "Children, Care, and Crime: Trauma and Transformation takes an in-depth look at the experiences of
    those with care experience in the criminal justice system in an Australian jurisdiction and children
    involved in the youth justice system. The authors effectively revealed the impact of the intergenerational trauma caused by colonisation policies such as criminalization and forced expulsion from families and communities, as well as evaluating the gender understanding of historical approaches to care that included specialised institutions for girls and women in a cross-sectoral framework to concentrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults.

    Overall, this book is recommended to read. This book provides readers with an understanding of the historical context and contemporary social realities of criminalization using an intersectional lens that enables structural determinants to be considered together, including indigenousness, gender, and disability. " - Nila Amania, Yusriyadi & Yunanto. International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2023.2288682