Police, justice join forces with university to reduce youth reoffending

A collaboration between police, the justice system and a university is set to make a positive impact on youth crime rates.

Earlier this year, police from Wollongong and Lake Illawarra partnered with Youth Justice and students from the University of Wollongong to develop innovative solutions to reduce the risk of reoffending by young people and reduce the number of young people breaching AVOs.

As part of their university studies, a group of 10 students were tasked with finding solutions to reduce reoffending, as well as ensuring young people and their carers understood conditions of AVOs and the support services available to them. The student cohort were given a brief and linked up with a children’s court magistrate to enable a better understanding of the justice system.

The group of students today (Friday 2 August 2019) will present their findings and recommendations to a panel of senior police and Youth Justice from the Illawarra/Shoalhaven Taskforce to Reduce Domestic Violence Reoffending.

The students will provide an update of how their findings will be implemented and showcase three strategies that can be implemented independently or in collaboration with police and justice, including the development of an app for support services.

Lake Illawarra Police District Commander, Superintendent Dean Smith said the impact of domestic and family violence across all communities is devastating for victims.

“For youth who are involved in these incidents as victims or perpetrators, it is critical that there are appropriate support services and information to assist them,” Superintendent Smith said.

“The work by the students on the development of the app and information packages allows us to better connect with our youth and provide them with the tools and information they need to make better decisions, as well as providing a level of support during difficult times.”

Wollongong Police District Commander, Superintendent Chris Craner praised the collaborative efforts by students, police and justice.

“The enthusiasm and skills of both the students and the University has been outstanding,” Superintendent Craner said.

“We believe a collaboration of this nature can make a significant difference in reducing reoffending rates among our young people.”

Acting Area Manager for the Wollongong Youth Justice community office, Kylie Patterson said a number of the ideas put forward by students are already in the process of being actioned.

“Youth Justice are committed to addressing a reduction of domestic and family violence for youth and are hoping further collaboration can achieve this as a Premier’s priority,” Ms Patterson said.

Following the presentation, students will be presented with a certificate of appreciation from the NSW Police Force.

Please direct media inquiries to NSW Police Force Southern Region Media Officer, Emilie Wells, on 0447490521 or well1emi@police.nsw.gov.au

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