1st Edition

Decolonising Justice for Aboriginal youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book reflects multidisciplinary and cross-jurisdictional analysis of issues surrounding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and the criminal justice system, and the impact on Aboriginal children, young people, and their families.

    This book provides the first comprehensive and multidisciplinary account of FASD and its implications for the criminal justice system – from prevalence and diagnosis to sentencing and culturally secure training for custodial officers. Situated within a ‘decolonising’ approach, the authors explore the potential for increased diversion into Aboriginal community-managed, on-country programmes, enabled through innovation at the point of first contact with the police, and non-adversarial, needs-focussed courts. Bringing together advanced thinking in criminology, Aboriginal justice issues, law, paediatrics, social work, and Indigenous mental health and well-being, the book is grounded in research undertaken in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The authors argue for the radical recalibration of both theory and practice around diversion, intervention, and the role of courts to significantly lower rates of incarceration; that Aboriginal communities and families are best placed to construct the social and cultural scaffolding around vulnerable youth that could prevent damaging contact with the mainstream justice system; and that early diagnosis and assessment of FASD may make a crucial difference to the life chances of Aboriginal youth and their families.

    Exploring how, far from providing solutions to FASD, the mainstream criminal justice system increases the likelihood of adverse outcomes for children with FASD and their families, this innovative book will be of great value to researchers and students worldwide interested in criminal and social justice, criminology, youth justice, social work, and education.


    Magistrate Catherine Crawford and Robyn Williams

    1. Introduction
    2. Tamara Tulich, Harry Blagg, Robyn Williams, Dorothy Badry, Michelle Stewart, Raewyn Mutch, Suzie Edward May

    3. Children, adolescents and FASD in the criminal justice system
    4. Raewyn Mutch, Dorothy Badry, Robyn Williams, Tamara Tulich

    5. FASD Prevalence and Assessment
    6. Raewyn Mutch, Tamara Tulich, Harry Blagg, Suzie Edward May

    7. FASD in the Courts: fitness to stand trial
    8. Tamara Tulich

    9. Sentencing and courts
    10. Suzie Edward May

    11. A decolonising and human rights approach to FASD training, knowledge and case practice for justice involved youth in correctional contexts
    12. Robyn Williams, Dorothy Badry

    13. FASD, the criminal justice system and Indigenous people: Diversionary pathways and decolonising strategies
    14. Harry Blagg

    15. FASD, Justice, Decolonisation and the Dis-ease of Settler Colonialism: Contemporary Justice Issues in Canada
    16. Michelle Stewart

    17. Conclusion

    Harry Blagg



    Harry Blagg is a Professor of Criminology at the University of Western Australia (UWA) Law School and Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Community Justice Centre in the Law School.

    Tamara Tulich is a Senior Lecturer at the UWA Law School.

    Robyn Williams is a Nyoongar woman with extensive experience as a FASD trainer, advocate, and researcher. She works at the Medical School, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, and the University of Melbourne.

    Raewyn Mutch
    is a Ngāi Tahu woman of New Zealand and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia, and Invited Faculty for the Harvard Program for Refugee Trauma, Global Mental Health, Trauma and Recovery (2019–2020).

    Suzie Edward May
    is a Lawyer and Research Officer at the UWA Law School and a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Community Justice Centre.

    Dorothy Badry
    is a Professor in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary.

    Michelle Stewart
    is an Associate Professor at the University of Regina on Treaty Four Territory.