Panel discussion: Trauma-informed care in youth detention


Youth justice systems across Australia are grappling with balancing their role in supporting young people, with meeting community expectations about managing and responding to their behaviour. Growing evidence suggests that childhood trauma exposure is a key risk factor for subsequent juvenile justice involvement. Young people who have youth justice involvement are a particularly vulnerable population and those with histories of trauma exposure and complex trauma have higher rates of recidivism, co-occurring disorders, disengagement from school and mental health issues.

Based on this evidence, there is increasing recognition and reforms nationally, to draw on trauma-informed care (TIC) and interventions within youth detention in Australia. TIC is an approach to organising services that integrates an understanding of the impact and consequences of trauma into all interventions and aspects of organisational functioning. Implementing TIC requires organisations and service systems to examine how their practices, policies, and environments foster a sense of safety among service users with histories of trauma. However, there are inherent tensions between adopting a TIC model or approach, and the treatment, control, and security models within youth justice.

In August, we are bringing together a panel of professionals to speak to the topic of trauma-informed care and young people in youth detention. Our panel have expertise, knowledge, and reflections into trauma-informed care and the intersection of therapeutic and security models. This panel will explore the challenges, considerations, and opportunities for future development to consider how best to align models of care for young people within youth justice, to improve wellbeing outcomes for young people and reduce future custodial admissions.

This webinar will include a short presentation by each of the panel members followed by a question and discussion time.

Panel members:
Associate Professor Tim Moore (Australian Catholic University) 
Tim Moore is Deputy Director at the Institute of Child Protection Studies at the Australian Catholic University. For almost 20 years, Tim has conducted research with children and young people including those in the child protection and youth justice systems. In 2015, Tim led a series of studies for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and, more recently, the Tasmanian Commission of Inquiry. He is interested in how statutory systems can foster young people’s safety and reduce the risks of harm. Tim believes that it is only when services and systems engage children and young people in informing policy and practice that positive outcomes will be achieved. 
Joanne O’Connor (Senior Psychologist, Enhanced Support Team, Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre, South Australia).
Joanne is an Aboriginal woman of Barkindji, Boandik and Meintangk ancestry, who was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. Joanne currently works as a Clinical Psychologist and Senior Behavioural Support Practitioner within Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre, which is the sole youth detention facility in South Australia. She is a member of the Enhanced Support Team, which contributes to the integration of therapeutic approaches with operational practices in Kurlana Tapa. Joanne has worked in the youth justice sector since 2018 and is passionate about work with young people who have experienced adversity. Joanne’s other clinical practice experience includes youth mental health, forensic, education and child protection settings, with particular interest in the translation of lived experience and quality research into responsive practice.
Murray Robinson (Consultant Specialising in Youth Justice)
As a qualified social worker, Murray commenced his career working as a practitioner in child protection before moving into out-of-home care and eventually youth justice. He has worked in Australia and the UK. Murray has a strong record of success in managing programs. He managed a fostering and adoption program in the UK and specialist adolescent and infant child protection units in Victoria. He also has been the Director of Operations of both youth justice centres in Victoria and had had executive level responsibility for Child Protection, Corporate Service and Youth Justice policy. In the five years with the Secretariat of the Youth Parole Board in Victoria, he brought sound governance to its operations, digitalised its practice and drove improvement in the quality of case management. In 2016, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in recognition of his expertise in youth justice and the care of complex young people. At the invitation of the Tasmanian Department of Education Children and Young People, Murray has been supporting the management team in Ashely Youth Detention Centre in improving centre operations since July 23.

Please note: all course and workshop times are displayed in Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra time zones. Please ensure you convert the time to your current time zone. 

Target Audience

The panel is for anyone who works in the youth justice, legal or child protection sectors, including: youth workers, social workers, psychologists, therapists, community case managers, management, legal professionals, students, researchers, and managers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Opportunities to explore the strengths, challenges and realities of implementing trauma informed care for young people in detention.
  • Current approaches in youth justice from around Australia that are working towards therapeutic care and building cohesive teams.
  • Increased understanding of the care being provided to young people in detention with consideration of the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
  • Discussion on research and best practice to improve the wellbeing of young people and reduce the risk of repeat custodial admissions.
  • Exploring the links between trauma and contact with the youth justice system.


Name Date Time Cost Register
Panel discussion: Trauma-informed care in youth detention 15 August 2024 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM $0.00

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