The new Aboriginal Elders and Mentors Program has launched today in the Territory’s youth detention centres.
Aboriginal young people are overrepresented in the youth justice system in the Territory, with approximately 98 per cent of young people in detention identified as Aboriginal.
The Aboriginal Elders and Mentors Program brings strong Aboriginal role models into the youth detention centres to help young people stop reoffending.
The Program provides young people with guidance, increase cultural connection, improve engagement with education and training, reduce negative behaviour and prevent reoffending.
The program is in collaboration with the North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA).
The Elders will attend the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre and Don Dale Youth Detention Centre each month and mentors will attend fortnightly.
More than 20 Aboriginal Elders and mentors have joined the program. The program includes:
- Visits by the Grannies Group
- Leadership and development sessions
- Truth-telling and tough conversations
- Support for young people in classrooms
- Culture and family
- Connectedness to country
The Aboriginal Elders and Mentors Program is in addition to Aboriginal cultural activities that are provided as part of the daily program in both youth detention centres.
As noted by Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield
“Youth crime – any crime – is unacceptable. Young people who do the wrong thing will face the consequences because all Territorians have the right to be safe.
“One of those consequences is youth detention. However, simply locking kids up will not work. We also need to ensure that time spent in detention can be used effectively to get young people back on the right track and not reoffend.”
As noted by Member for Namatjira, Chansey Paech
“The Aboriginal Elders and mentors who have joined the program are leaders in leaders in our community and will be role models for the young people. They will reconnect the young people to country, culture and ensure that they take accountability for their actions.”