In relation to YANQ's advocacy work, the report specifically mentions concerns regarding the overmedication of children with 'ADHD' in state care, and treating seventeen year olds as adults under the criminal justice system.
"The Committee notes as positive that the State party's territory of Western Australia has carried out research investigating the effectiveness of drugs currently used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). However, the Committee remains concerned that current diagnosis procedures may not be adequately addressing the underlying mental health issues linked to it resulting in significant increases and/or erroneous prescription of psycho-stimulants to children diagnosed with ADHD and ADD which is of serious concern.
Emphasising the importance of access to child and youth friendly mental health support and services, the Committee recommends that the State party:
- (a) Follow-up on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare health study with measures designed to address the direct and underlying causes of the high rates of mental health problems in children and young people, focussing especially on suicides and other disorders linked to, inter alia, substance abuse, violence and inadequate quality of care in alternative care settings;
- (b) Allocate specific resources for improving the availability and quality of early intervention services, training and development of teachers, counsellors, health professionals and others working with children, as well as support to parents;
- (c) Develop specialised health services and targeted strategies for children at particular risk of mental health problems, and their families, and ensure accessibility for all those requiring such services with due consideration to their age, sex, socio- economic background, geographical and ethnic origin, etc;
- (d) In planning and implementing the above, consult with children and youth for the development of these measures while undertaking awareness-raising on mental health, with a view to ensure better family and community support as well as to reduce the associated stigma; and
- (e) Carefully monitor the prescription of psycho-stimulants to children and take initiatives to provide children diagnosed with ADHD and ADD, as well as their parents and teachers, with access to a wider range of psychological, educational and social measures and treatments; and, consider undertaking the collection and analysis of data disaggregated according to substance-type and age with a view to monitoring the possible abuse of psycho-stimulant drugs by children.
The Committee regrets that despite its earlier recommendations, the juvenile justice system of the State party still requires substantial reforms for it to conform to international standards, in particular the Committee is concerned that:
- (a) No action has been undertaken by the State party to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility
All 17-year-old child offenders continue to be tried under the Criminal Justice system in the State party‟s territory of Queensland.
Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that:
(e) Although the majority of 17 year olds are held separately from the wider prison population, they are still cases of children being held within adult correctional centres; and
(f) There have been instances of abuse of child detainees reported in the State party's Quamby Youth Detention Centre and Bimberi Youth Detention Centre.
The Committee recommends that the State party bring the juvenile justice system fully in line with the Convention, in particular articles 37, 39 and 40, and with other relevant standards, including the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), the Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines), the Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (the Havana Rules), the Vienna Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System; and the Committee‟s General Comment No. 10 (2007) on the rights of the child in juvenile justice (CRC/C/GC/10).
Furthermore, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendations to:
(a) Consider raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable level