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Naming and shaming youth offenders: Bonfire of the vanities

Indigenous Law Bulletin
Volume 8 Issue 9 (Nov/Dec 2013)

Abstract: Imagine if you would, an immature, Aboriginal teenage girl sitting in the Brisbane Murri Court, about to be sentenced for a range of drug related property offences - a repeat offender and an all too familiar story to many working at the coalface of the criminal justice system. Further to that, imagine that this 'child' has lived on the streets for the last five years to escape a highly dysfunctional family environment - one which has included being repeatedly raped by an intoxicated uncle since the age of eight. Imagine that the only real family this child now has is a group of street-living peers, some with similar tales of extreme disadvantage. The child turns to drugs (and thus to offending) in order to deaden the pain of her past and suppress the feelings of utter hopelessness in terms of any belief in a meaningful future. Imagine that despite being a tragic victim whom society has failed, she carries deep within her core a sense of extreme shame, a shame which is almost palpable to her defence lawyer. Her legal representative, a thick-skinned, somewhat cynical defence lawyer and one used to remaining objective and dispassionate, is much to his embarrassment and despite his best endeavours, moved to tears during the sentencing process. In reality, the defendant is an emotionally fragile child in desperate need of help.

To cite this article: Shadbolt, Gregory. Naming and shaming youth offenders: Bonfire of the vanities [online]. Indigenous Law Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 9, Nov/Dec 2013: 3-6. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=801648877990753;res=IELIND> ISSN: 1328-5475. [cited 25 Jun 16].

Personal Author: Shadbolt, Gregory; Source: Indigenous Law Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 9, Nov/Dec 2013: 3-6 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 1328-5475 Subject: Juvenile delinquency; Youth--Suicidal behavior; Youth--Protection; Juvenile detention homes; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Principal, Legal Officer Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service Ltd ('ATSILS')

Database: Indigenous Collection