The Northern Territory’s Back on Track: Cutting Youth Crime Plan, released today, will ultimately support young people to reach their potential and create safer communities for all Territorians, says Jesuit Social Services.

Jesuit Social Services is among the organisations that has been newly funded to deliver a suite of programs across the Territory as part of the $8.35 million program.

“We know that the best way to prevent crime from occurring is to support young people in the community to connect with family, culture, education and meaningful activities,” says Jesuit Social Services General Manager – Northern Territory John Adams.

“The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory has provided a blueprint on how to reform the youth justice system to better support young people, victims of crime and the wider community.

“This means that detention should only ever be used as a last resort, and that young people in trouble can be supported to take responsibility for their actions, address the underlying causes of behaviour and reach their potential in the community.”

Jesuit Social Services has received funding to support young people in Katherine to participate in victim-offender conferences and make positive plans for the future. This work will include linking young people with role models and cultural mentors who can support them to reach their goals.

“All kids need access to effective approaches to help them take responsibility and make amends for their actions, and the victim-offender conference model is proven to reduce re-offending compared to detention while also increasing victim satisfaction with the justice process,” says Mr Adams.

“We deliver Group Conferencing in Darwin, Palmerston and Katherine, and we’ve found that almost 90 per cent of kids who participate in a Group Conference successfully complete their outcome plan – which may be writing an apology letter or reconnecting with community services.

“Significantly, around three quarters of young people [76 per cent] have shown improved connections to family and significant others after taking part in a conference – meaning they’re less likely to re-offend.

“We also know that victims who participate in the process find it extremely beneficial, with one victim of crime recently telling us ‘it gave me [an] insight… I thought he was a hardened kid but actually he was just struggling’.

“This significant investment by the Territory Government is based on best practice in keeping young people and communities safe, and the positive effects will be felt by all of us.”

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