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Pre-court diversion scheme in the Northern Territory

Findings from Australian Institute of Criminology Trends and Issues in crime and criminal justice, Paper no. 339: 'Pre-court diversion in the Northern Territory: impact on juvenile reoffending':

An evaluation of the juvenile pre-court diversion scheme introduced in the Northern Territory in 2000 (that uses warnings and conferences to divert selected juveniles from the court process) has found significant differences in the reoffending patterns between juveniles who attended court and those who were diverted from the court process:

  • Males who received a diversion were 44% less likely to reoffend than those who went to court.
  • Females who were diverted were more than twice as likely (57%) not to have reoffended as those who made a court appearance.

Data were taken from police records of 3,597 juveniles who had been apprehended by the police between August 2000 and August 2005 and found significant differences in offending related to age, gender, Indigenous status and location.
Indigenous juveniles were almost twice as likely to reoffend than non-Indigenous juveniles within 12 months (59% of offenders were Indigenous).

The paper also found that juveniles in regional or Indigenous communities had higher probabilities of re-offending regardless of whether they were diverted or went to court. However, those who were diverted in those communities had better outcomes than if they went to court.

Download report:

Source: Australian Institute of Criminology, media release no. 2007/05: Promising results from pre-court diversion scheme in the Northern Territory
[viewed 13/9/2007].

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Kids Help Line NT 2005 Report

General information

  • In 2005, Kids Help Line received 3,384* telephone and online contacts from the Northern Territory and were able to respond to 1,451* of these contacts (1,293* telephone contacts and 158 online contacts).
  • 48% of calls to Kids Help Line required counselling or support.
  • 4 young people from the Northern Territory reported current thoughts of suicide, while 11 young people reported having deliberately injured themselves (as distinct from suicidality).
  • 19% of telephone callers were referred to other support services in their local area. Duty-of-Care actions, such as contacting an emergency service or child protection agency, were required for 1 Northern Territory caller.

* Estimation due to 6 days of missing data.

Location of callers

Region % of calls
NT land line telephones 85%
NT mobiles 15%

The following figures are based on data gathered from 199 telephone counselling sessions with children and young people in the Northern Territory aged 5–25 years:

Age and sex of callers

Age Females Males Total
5–9 years 3.3% 2.2% 5.4%
10–14 years 31.5% 8.7% 40.2%
15–18 years 31.0% 15.2% 46.2%
19–25 years 3.8% 4.3% 8.2%
Total 69.6% 30.4% 100.0%

10 most frequent concerns of Northern Territory KHL clients in 2005

Concern Proportion of NT contacts Proportion of national contacts
Family relationships 17.1% 17.7%
Peer relationships 13.1% 13.4%
Partner relationships 9.0% 10.0%
Drug or alcohol abuse 7.5% 2.7%
Child abuse 6.5% 4.9%
Emotional/behavioural management 6.5% 7.1%
Bullying 5.5% 5.8%
Homelessness/leaving home 4.0% 4.0%
Study issues 4.0% 1.9%
Grief and loss 3.5% 2.4%

Note: KHL advise that compared to national rates, young people from the Northern Territory made a greater proportion of calls in relation to drug and alcohol use. Other comparisons about particular problem types were not meaningful (i.e. not statistically significant) due to the large differences in the number of telephone counselling sessions from the Northern Territory compared with Australian totals.

The report is available for download from the Kids Help Line website:

Source: Kids Help Line 2006, Northern Territory 2005 Report, Kids Help Line, Milton, QLD, [viewed 25/01/2007].

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2004 literacy and numeracy results

Comparing 2001 figures to 2004 figures, the literacy and numeracy results show:
  • 8% overall increase in students achieving Year 3 reading benchmark, from 68% (2001) to 76% in 2004. There was a 15.5% increase in Year 3 reading for Indigenous students over the four years
  • Year 5 reading: overall 5.5% increase from 71.7% (2001) to 77.2% (2004) – Indigenous: 12.4% increase over the four years
  • Year 7 reading: overall 4.3% increase from 69.6% (2001) to 73.9% (2004) – Indigenous: 9.2% increase over the four years
  • Year 3 numeracy: overall 1.4% increase from 86.6% (2001) to 88% (2004) – Indigenous: 4% increase
  • Year 5 numeracy: overall 2.7% increase from 68.8% (2001) to 71.5% (2004) – Indigenous: 6.5% increase
  • Year 7 numeracy: overall 0.9% increase from 65.2% (2001) to 66.1% (2004) – Indigenous: 3.8% increase
  • Year 3 writing: overall 4.7% increase from 79.1% (2001) to 83.8% (2004) – Indigenous: 8.3% increase
  • Year 5 writing: overall 3.6% increase from 77.6% (2001) to 81.1% (2004) – Indigenous: 7.9% increase
  • Year 7 writing: overall 4.3% increase from 75.1% (2001) to 79.4% (2004) – Indigenous: 6.4% increase
Source: Northern Territory Government media release, Syd Stirling Minister for Employment, Education and Training, 5/2/2005, [viewed 25/01/2007].
Northern Territory News, 5/2/2005, p.7.

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NT youth web site

The Northern Territory has set up a web site targeted at young people that offers information about health, education, employment, recreation and decision making. It includes information about government programs and services, and links to community-based youth services. URL:
[viewed 25/01/2007].

Source: Northern Territory News, 15/12/03, p.7.

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Young people in the Northern Territory

2001 Census figures

0–14 15-24
Males 25,494 15,767
Females 23,651 14,336
Total 49,145 30,103
Percentage 24.2% 14.8%

Source: adapted from Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

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