The Northern Territory Government’s $1.75 million investment into after-hours youth services in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, announced today, will help to create cohesive and ultimately safe communities, says Jesuit Social Services.

“The best way to support kids to grow up to become productive adults is to connect them with positive activities and opportunities,” says Jared Sharp, Jesuit Social Services’ General Manager in the Northern Territory.

“Today’s news of additional investments, including services for vulnerable and at-risk kids, is extremely welcome. It is also important to see funding crossing the ‘Berrimah line’, specifically benefiting young people from Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, who often miss out on this type of funding.”

Mr Sharp says the community has been concerned about youth crime and community safety, but that engaging young people with support will ultimately lessen the likelihood of them offending.

“If we are serious about reducing crime in the Territory, and ultimately creating safer communities, we must be serious about supporting young people to connect with meaningful activities which will ease the boredom and isolation that often leads to youth crime. ”

The investment will include the recruitment of 52 new Youth Outreach workers who will work with Territory Families and the community services sector.

Earlier this year the Northern Territory announced it would fund a pilot Group Conferencing program, led by Jesuit Social Services, based on a successful Victorian model.

Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards says this model supports young people to take responsibility and make amends for their actions.

“We understand the importance of connecting young people with community and culture to help steer them towards positive pathways. We must give young people every opportunity to flourish, and for vulnerable young people, this includes a chance to turn their lives around and address the issues behind their behaviour,” says Ms Edwards.

“Crucially, the Group Conferencing model allows victims to have their voices heard. Our work in Victoria has shown us that this model serves to increase understanding, empathy and importantly, supports victims to feel involved and satisfied with the justice process.

“We commend the Northern Territory Government on their recent investments, including today’s commitment to after-hours youth services, and their commitment to building safe, cohesive communities.”

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