Early Diversion Approach To Help Young Aboriginal People Get Back On The Right Track

In this Media Release

  • New programs aimed at helping divert young Aboriginal people from the justice system will work with young people and their families early to address behaviour.
  • Aboriginal people make up only one per cent of Victorians aged 10 to 18, but constitute around 13 per cent of young people under youth justice supervision.
  • The Service will link young Aboriginal people with education or training, manage alcohol or drug abuse and address challenging family relationships.

The Andrews Labor Government is establishing new programs to help divert young Aboriginal people from the justice system by working with young people and their families early to address behaviour.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos has announced $1.2 million for Aboriginal controlled organisations to coordinate Aboriginal Youth Support Service programs in the North East Melbourne area and the Mallee.

Aboriginal young people make up only one per cent of Victorians aged 10 to 18, but constitute around 13 per cent of young people under youth justice supervision. It’s a statistic the Labor Government is determined to change.

For the first time, an Aboriginal Youth Support Service will work closely with young Aboriginal people to address anti-social behaviour and identify positive alternatives. The Service will link young Aboriginal people with education or training, manage alcohol or drug abuse and address challenging family relationships.

Local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations will deliver the programs with the existing mainstream Youth Support Service, ensuring those young people at risk of entering the youth justice system are offered culturally sensitive early interventions.

The Labor Government is taking action to address the over representation of Aboriginal young people in the youth justice system. The 2016-17 Victorian Budget includes $1.1 million for the Koori Youth Justice Program to expand its Koori-based early intervention work, which is coordinated with the Aboriginal community.

The Budget also included $875,000 for the development of an Aboriginal youth mentoring program, providing support for vulnerable young Aboriginal people.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos

“This is a new way of looking at how we intervene early to improve the lives of young Aboriginal people and address the over representation in the youth justice system.”

“We are working side by side with Aboriginal communities to address the underlying issues leading to disengagement and offending.”

“We know that diversion, early intervention and rehabilitation are key to creating safer communities and improving the lives of young people and their families.”