11 February 2023

The answer to youth crime will take time  

Queensland Law Society calls upon the state government and opposition to consult experts in youth justice to implement measures that will work to address youth crime.

Every Queenslander deserves the right to feel safe in their homes and within their communities, but the Society fears the government’s “stronger laws for community safety” campaign, will only serve to fail Queenslanders and create more community harm.

Queensland Law Society President Chloé Kopilović said the government’s tough stance on youth crime does not address the issue.  

“Locking up children will not stop crime. It has been proven that after a child’s first interaction with the youth justice system they are more likely to re-offend. Further to this, the longer a child spends in custody, the more likely they are to be pipelined into the adult criminal justice system. And this is no place for them to be.”

Queensland Law Society believes an urgent injection of funds is needed to address the root causes of child offending, such family violence, substance abuse health, mental health and education issues that many of these children deal with.

“The answer is not to build more detention centres, but rather invest in building communities to support our children, particularly those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Ms Kopilović said.

The government’s proposed legislative responses, such as increasing the maximum penalty for car theft, have not worked in the past there is no reason to think it will again. Queensland Law Society asks the government to consider justice re-investment.

“We empathise with communities that have been impacted by increasing rate of youth crime, and we implore the government to implement solutions that will result in a long-term reduction in crime.”

“Justice re-investment works by diverting funds that would ordinarily be spent on keeping individuals in prisons to communities with high rates of offending and incarceration, giving those communities the capacity to invest in programs and services that address the underlying causes of crime,” Ms Kopilović said. 

“This reduces criminal behaviour and the rate of re-offending. Justice re-investment focuses on both existing criminal behaviour and reducing the number of people entering the criminal justice system in the first place.”

For more information on Queensland Law Society and our advocacy, visit

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About Queensland Law Society:

Queensland Law Society (QLS) is the peak representative body for the legal profession in Queensland, providing leadership, guidance and support for more than 13,000 members, across all categories. QLS holds specific statutory responsibilities under the Legal Profession Act 2007. 

QLS empowers good lawyers, advocates for good law and serves the public good by providing a clear and passionate voice for solicitors and the legal profession in Queensland. 

We engage with government, the public and the legal community on issues of importance to the profession.