Research from the perspective of children.

Bower, C, Watkins, RE, Mutch, RC, Marriott, R, Freeman, J, Kippin, NR, Safe, B, Pestell, C, Cheung, CSC, Shield, H, Tarratt, L, Springall, A, Taylor, J, Walker, N, Argiro, E, Leitao, S, Hamilton, S, Condon, C, Passmore, HM & Giglia, R (2018) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Youth Justice: A Prevalence Study among Young People Sentenced to Detention in Western Australia. BMJ Open, 8, e019605. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019605.


This study aims to estimate the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among young people in youth detention in Australia. It used a multidisciplinary assessment according to the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD to assess all young people aged 10 years - 17 years 11 months and sentenced to detention in the only youth detention centre in Western Australia. The study period was from May 2015 to December 2016. Neurodevelopmental impairments due to FASD can predispose young people to engagement with the law. The study found high prevalence of FASD and severe neurodevelopmental impairment, the majority of which had not been previously identified. The findings highlight the vulnerability of young people, particularly Aboriginal youth, within the justice system and their significant need for improved diagnosis.

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Bessell, Sharon & Gal, Tali (2009) Forming Partnerships: The Human Rights of Children in Need of Care and Protection. The International Journal of Children's Rights, 17, 283-298.


The authors propose a model for engaging children in child protection which recognizes their needs, human rights and citizenship. In the conclusion to their paper, the authors propose that this approach would afford children dignity, respect and give them some control over their lives. They argue that recognizing children as citizens gives status to their claims for human rights and meeting of basic needs.  Furthermore, they through recognizing children’s citizenship, due respect is given to the responsibilities and roles that many children shoulder, but which are often ignored or undervalued, including for the care of family members. Finally, the authors conclude: “we have sought to synthesise children’s human rights, basic needs and citizenship into the concept of partnership … Partnership with children is a means of redefining the relationship between children and those who hold power over them (most – and usually all adults with whom they come into contact in the care and protection system). Partnership may provide a means of developing genuinely child-inclusive approaches to care and protection, that value children’s views and experiences and engage with children on their own – rather than on adults – terms” (p. 296).

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