Policing and Pathways to Diversion and Care

Characteristics of vulnerable young people in inner city areas who use alcohol and other drugs

This study focuses on a small group of young people in the community who are involved in multiple risky activities, including involvement with police, the juvenile justice system, and youth and other community services and, usually, drugs and alcohol are implicated in some way. The justice system seeks leniency when these youth commit offences, especially in relation to alcohol and illicit drug use. While Australia has comprehensive (and often complicated) diversion programs in place for young people who offend, there is still opportunity to improve pathways into treatment and care rather than direct them into the courts and prison. Police play an important first-stage role in deciding whether a young offender gets directed into the criminal system or diverted into treatment. CSRH in collaboration with Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre will use existing survey data sets, together with newly collected qualitative data to examine police and their diversion practices in relation to young substance users. Interviews will be conducted with police, young substance users aged 16-24 years, and staff of youth-focussed alcohol and drug services.

Funding Agency

National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

Non-Staff Involved

Rachel Green

Sarah MacLean


Policing and pathways to diversion and care among vulnerable young people who use alcohol and other drugs. (Published in Monograph no. 64, 2016.) http://www.ndlerf.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/monographs/monograph-64.pdf (PDF)

Policing and pathways to diversion and care among vulnerable young people who use alcohol and other drugs: Summary of report. (Published in NDLERF Research Bulletin no. 5, 2016.) http://www.ndlerf.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/bulletins/bulletin-5.pdf (PDF)

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