The next stage of a justice strategy aimed at reducing youth offending is now being rolled out across the Kimberley following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The $6.2 million Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy (KJJS) is funding place-based activities, night patrols, a youth-engagement program and an integrated-learning program in such places as Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham.
The KJJS is part of the McGowan Government’s commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing and had been on hold while COVID-19 restrictions were in place.
The funding initiative will build on the Government’s previous $900,000 commitment to KJJS over three years and additional internal funding of $600,000 from the Department of Justice for safe-place activities for young people.
In the first year of funding, the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre was engaged to undertake a consultation process across the Kimberley region to identify a range of culturally based, community-led solutions for at-risk youth.
The new $6.2 million allocation for KJJS includes funding for the continuation of safe-place grants, night patrols, Aboriginal Legal Service WA support for young people in the justice system and an educational industry skills program.
The $1.2 million place-based grants are expected to fund safe-place activities to keep at-risk young people meaningfully engaged, cultural healing camps and support for young people to return to education or training in such places as Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Wyndham and Kununurra.
The $2.4 million grant for Night Patrols in Derby, Halls Creek and Wyndham will provide early intervention and diversion strategies for street-present young people.
The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia will deliver the $1.4 million Youth Engagement Program to provide young people in the justice system with culturally secure and individualised support which will help reduce re-offending and youth detention.
The employment needs of young people in Broome and Kununurra will be supported by
$1.2 million funding for a vocational skills Integrated Learning Program.
The Department of Justice continues to work with Kimberley communities on future initiatives.
As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“The recent easing of some COVID-19 restrictions in the Kimberley region means work can now begin on the implementation of these newly funded initiatives under the $6.2 million Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy.
“There is much work to be done and this funding package will build on the previous commitment to support the wellbeing of young people in the Kimberley.
“These structured activities aim to help reduce offending behaviour and improve community safety in the Kimberley. Targeted night patrols will also provide early intervention and diversion strategies.
“The Department of Justice has worked with Kimberley communities and organisations on community-led initiatives to try to address the underlying issues in the region and co-design long-term solutions.
“That consultation is ongoing as part of the strategy and further initiatives by community-led organisations will continue to be explored.”