Breaking the Cycle of Youth Crime - Palmerston
The Northern Territory Government has a comprehensive plan to tackle youth crime in Palmerston.
NT Police and Territory Families have identified up to 20 young people at any given time who regularly commit property and other offences in Palmerston. Police have also confirmed that youth represent 73.1% of apprehensions for break-ins in Palmerston. Additionally around 80 young people are at risk, and beginning to disengage from education.
Breaking the Cycle of Youth Crime in Palmerston is a targeted three-pronged strategy to:
- Intervene with families before kids do the wrong thing
- Make sure there are consequences for those who have done the wrong thing
- Engage all young people in Palmerston to be part of a strong community
1. Intervene with families before kids do the wrong thing
The Breaking the Cycle of Youth Crime in Palmerston strategy delivers initiatives to get young people who are at risk and beginning to disengage from education back on the right path by:
- Appointing FIVE specialist Territory Families officers to a new Crossover Families Management Unit to case manage the core group of re-offenders and their families. The five officers will work to address family issues such as overcrowded housing, alcohol abuse, family violence, poverty, not attending school, unemployment and will work closely with police and the courts to advise on appropriate alternative sentencing or diversion programs that fit each individual young person.
These staff will also be used to advise courts on the best sentencing options and will manage the existing Crossover Families Working Group. $1 million has been allocated to the Crossover Families Management Unit which includes the employment of the five staff. The positions will be recruited to in January 2019.
- Establishing a Palmerston Youth Skills Centre. This centre will operate from mid-2019 and will focus on the 80 or so young people who are at risk in Palmerston. It will be the first Government education training centre to focus on training young people for the skills of the 21st century. Training will be in artificial intelligence, VR, computers and information technology including the use of drones as well as training in life skills, cooking, cleaning, banking and finance.
The centre will form an immediate part of the Back on Track youth diversion program for frequent offenders as an alternative education program for at risk youth.
- Giving the Top End School of Flexible Learning – Palmerston Campus a psychologist position commencing from 2019 to better diagnose the needs of young people disengaging from education and determine the best course of individual action.
- Adding an additional patrol to the Larrakia Youth Night Patrol in Palmerston, including two staff and a larger vehicle to take young people home and off the streets from Monday 10 December.
- Establishing a 24/7 youth drop in facility for youth to drop in and access safe, supervised activities. It will also have emergency accommodation for young people who do not have a place of safety to stay overnight.
2. Make sure there are consequences for those who have done the wrong thing
The Breaking the Cycle of Youth Crime in Palmerston strategy will place unprecedented focus on young people, and their families, identified as being regularly involved in crime to ensure issues causing this behaviour are identified and tackled by:
- Giving courts more diversion and sentencing options through the newly announced Back on Track program that will ensure each of these young people take responsibility for their actions and understand the consequences of their behaviour. Offenders will be required to face their victims and victims will see offenders providing the community with restitution.
- Building a new, modern, secure youth justice facility. The new facility will be purpose-built and ensure the highest standards of safety and security for the community, young people, staff, and visitors. The facilty will also focus on education, training, and rehabilitation for young people.
- Building a new Palmerston Police Station. The station will be double the size of the existing facility and will include a 24-hour watch house. This will enhance the response times of Police as they won’t have to travel to Darwin CBD to process offenders.
3. Engage ALL young people in Palmerston to be part of a strong community
The Breaking the Cycle of Youth Crime in Palmerston strategy will engage all young people in Palmerston to be part of a strong community with programs and events including:
- An annual Palmerston Youth Festival to be held in the July school holidays. The festival will encourage young people to express themselves through music, the arts, culture and performance with substantial prizes for each category. An overall winner will be announced with support to pursue their art.
- E-sports have recently taken the world by storm and a feasibility study will be undertaken to see if it would be suitable for Palmerston to support an E-sports facility. E-sports is competitive video-gaming with tournaments played online and in stadiums where players battle each other in a variety of games.
- Backing the Student Voice Positive Choice Program started by Palmerston schools to give youth a voice in the community. The Student Voice Positive Choice Program focuses on providing positive key messages to change the youth narrative for young people in Palmerston.
The mission is to encourage students to make positive choices, have a strong voice in the community and work together to stand up for what is right, ensuring all young people feel safe, connected and valued. The mantra developed by the student coalition is: Let’s Be: Awesome, Respectful, Brave & Positive.
- The highly successful Boys and Girls Engagement Programs like Clontarf will be expanded into Palmerston primary schools, starting with Moulden and Driver Primary Schools. These programs divert young people from making bad choices and potentially ending up in the youth justice system.
Last updated: 25 February 2019