ARC Discovery Grants Project :challenges, possibilities and future directions: a national assessment of AustraliaÔÇÖs ChildrenÔÇÖs Courts. ACT Report

Peter Camilleri
Morag McArthur
Lorraine Thomson


This report summarises the findings of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) component of the Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project: Challenges possibilities and future directions: a National Assessment of AustraliaÔÇÖs ChildrenÔÇÖs Courts. This project was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. The ACT study was one of nine parallel studies ÔÇô one covering each state and territory and the ninth, based on the eight others, focusing on Australia as a whole. Each study had its own set of Chief Investigators and in the ACT these were Professor Peter Camilleri and Professor Morag McArthur. A book, published by Springer, is under preparation which will outline the findings of each jurisdiction and of the national research project. The aim of the study was to address the following research questions: (1) What is the contemporary status of, and current challenges faced by, AustraliaÔÇÖs ChildrenÔÇÖs Courts in relation to both their child welfare and criminal jurisdictions from the perspective of its judicial officers and other key stakeholders? (2) What issues and challenges do judicial officers and other key stakeholders believe the ChildrenÔÇÖs Court will face over the next decade? (3) What are the judicial officersÔÇÖ and other key stakeholdersÔÇÖ assessments of, and degree of support for, child welfare and juvenile justice jurisdiction reforms that have recently been canvassed in Australia and overseas? This report very briefly overviews the work of the ACT Childrens Court and outlines the results of interviews conducted with key stakeholders in 2010. The Australian Catholic UniversityÔÇÖs Human Research Ethics Committee and the Research Committee of the ACT Department of Disability Housing and Community Services approved the research. Stakeholders almost without exception enthusiastically participated in the research which was seen as a step towards filling a knowledge gap. This reflected one of the key findings in the A