Serious increase in young people facing court

THE number of juvenile offenders appearing before Children's Courts across Queensland has risen sharply over the past year.

The Queensland Children's Court annual report, which was tabled in State Parliament this week, revealed 6642 juveniles faced court in relation to 26,186 charges.

The figures represent a 10.1% and 21.6% increase respectively over the previous year.

Queensland Children's Court president Michael Shanahan said the increases were of concern.

"The trend line in relation to the number of charges against juveniles shows an upward trend," he said.

"There may be a number of factors contributing to that, including a substantial drop in the number of cautions being administered by the police and legislative amendment which abolished the diversionary mechanism of court ordered youth justice conferencing.

"However, as I noted in last year's report, the statistics seem to demonstrate that there are a number of persistent offenders who are charged with multiple offences."

The report revealed juveniles across the state were charged with 10,645 offences with theft, property damage, burglary and drug offences topping the list.

The report did show a drop in the number of those offences compared to the previous year.

However, the majority of offenders escaped with a slap on the wrist with reprimands and probation seen as the most suitable form of punishment by magistrates across the state.

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