Current juvenile justice policies in Australia are fraught with confusing and conflicting views. This has occurred because we have often failed to ask the most basic of questions: Who comprises the group we call "youth"? Do we take a justice or a welfare approach to their situation? Are they predominantly victims or offenders? In addition, we need to examine the broader questions: How do changes in public attitudes (like victims' rights and law and order lobbies) affect youth policies? How does fiscal constraint and political expediency alter policy directions? This paper explores these questions and then examines recent juvenile justice developments in Western Australia and Queensland. It critically analyses the schemes in these states to arrive at the view that the justice and welfare models work against each other and that it is therefore time to take a new approach - namely, a social development model.
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|Published - 1994