Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Australian youth justice: A Western Australian prevalence study

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 19 September 2017


HC Coombs Extension 1.04
ANU Canberra


Sharynne Hamilton, Jacinta Freeman


+61 (0) 2 1625 0647

The Telethon Kids Institute has conducted the first Australian study to examine the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other cognitive disorders at Banksia Hill Detention Centre – Western Australia’s only youth detention facility.

Approximately seventy-five percent of the young people in the WA youth justice system are Aboriginal. The young people participated in a variety of assessments to explore their cognitive abilities. They also participated in various interviews which examined their experience of the assessments and their lives more broadly. Their parents and extended family members, non-custodial staff at the detention centre and youth justice workers in the community also participated in interviews to explore the successful and not so successful aspects of the project.

The researchers will present the preliminary findings from the prevalence study and experiences of these multiple stakeholders who have been involved in the project; providing a complex insight into the lives of some of Western Australia’s most vulnerable youth.

About the speakers

Jacinta Freeman: Jacinta has a background in nursing, midwifery, health promotion and public health and has worked in regional and remote areas of Australia as a nurse and midwife. Jacinta is the research officer for the project and is based at Banksia Hill Detention Centre.

Sharynne Hamilton: Sharynne is a descendant of the Ngunnawal people with family links to Canberra and Yass. Sharynne has worked in the area of parental and family engagement in child protection as a community worker, advocate and researcher. Sharynne has undertaken the qualitative research for the project, talking with young people, families and community members involved in the project about their experiences as participants.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet