Young people's engagement in remand decisions

Published: December 10, 2018

This report presents perspectives on young people’s participation and engagement in youth justice system in relation to remand decisions.


The Oranga Tamariki Evidence Centre carried out this research in order to better understand the factors that drive remand recommendations made for young people in the Youth Justice system. The research findings are expected to support the design and delivery of new youth justice services in Oranga Tamariki.

Minimising the use of custodial detention to remand young people, as far as practicable, is a key focus for Oranga Tamariki.

Furthermore, the Ministry is committed to creating a child-centred system that embeds children and young people’s participation rights and includes their views and experiences.

The findings in this report are informed by young people’s perspectives on and experiences of youth justice processes, as well as by the views of youth justice professionals who are involved in those processes.

Key findings

The findings are informed by qualitative data collected from interviews with eight young people in two youth justice residences; 23 focus groups and/or interviews with staff from Police and Oranga Tamariki and youth advocates; and, direct observations of 144 court cases in two Youth Courts. The research sites include Christchurch and Counties Manukau.

Key themes from the research include:

  • Young people need encouragement and support to engage in the youth justice process.
  • Communication with young people must be clear and in a way they understand.
  • A relational experience with skilled professionals is the key to quality engagement.
  • Young people’s whānau must be part of the youth justice process to support engagement.

Thank you

Oranga Tamariki Evidence Centre would like to express their thanks to all the people involved in the study who offered their time and shared their experiences.

The results of the research were made possible by the willingness of interview participants to participate and their openness with the Evidence Centre researchers.

The Evidence Centre would especially like to thank the young people who, during their time in residence, shared their experiences with us.