YSAS public health industry partnership project

Project Details


Young people involved in the criminal justice system often experience complex and co-occurring health issues, including mental illness, substance use issues, suicidality, and self-harm. These health issues are perpetuated within a backdrop of social disadvantage including high rates of homelessness, violence victimisation, and difficulties accessing education and employment. This project is a close collaboration between the Justice Health Unit and YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service). It aims to lay the groundwork for rigorous, translational research designed to improve the lives of Victoria’s most vulnerable young people. It also aims to involve young people with lived experience of youth justice contact to inform knowledge and recommendations stemming from this project.

The first stage of this project synthesised the literature on, and develop recommendations for, violence prevention programs for justice-involved young women. A Delphi study is also underway to identify priority interventions identified in the systematic scoping review. A key conclusion was that, although 70-90% of young women exposed to the criminal justice system have experienced violence victimisation, there are few violence prevention programs designed for this population. This work was co-designed with YSAS staff and Youth Advocates in the YSAS Crew.

Moving forward, the Justice Health Unit and YSAS plan to conduct another systematic review to fill critical knowledge gaps on how to best support the health and wellbeing of young people exposed to the criminal justice system, that will be supported by targeted advocacy for government and the general public.


The Justice Health Unit (JHU) researchers involved with this project are:

Lindsay Pearce

Prof Stuart Kinner

A/Prof Rohan Borschmann

Dr Jesse Young

Emilia Janca

Dr Kathryn Snow (JHU alumna)


YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service)


YSAS funded the following grant:

  • Kinner, Borschmann, Snow & Young, 2019-2021, YSAS Industry Partnership: Public Health, Youth Support & Advocacy Service, $160,000

MSEI (Melbourne Social Equity Institute) funded a further project, details of which can be accessed here. Grant details are:

  • Borschmann, Willoughby, Keen, Kinner, Johns, Gooding & Gallant, 2020-2021, Preventing violence against young women exposed to the criminal justice system, MSEI Interdisciplinary Seed Funding, $34,734.

Research Publications

Willoughby M, Glover-Wright C, Kwon S, Janca E, Tamlynn T, Johnston B, Borschmann R. Interventions to prevent violence against young women who have had contact with the criminal justice system: protocol for a scoping review [Internet]. Open Science Framework; 2021 Oct 13. doi: 10.17605/OSF.IO/THP7W. Available from URL

Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.