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New programme aims to reduce youth offending

25 July 2003 Media Statement

New programme aims to reduce youth offending

25 JULY 2003

The government is piloting a new community-based programme in Christchurch and Auckland to reduce youth offending.

Launching the Reducing Youth Offending Programme in Christchurch today, Associate Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said it aimed to reduce the rate and severity of youth offending and stop young offenders from becoming chronic adult offenders.

“Most young people at risk of persistent offending face multiple problems. Often they do not attend school regularly or achieve academically. They are likely to have become dislocated from their families and communities. Many are involved with drugs and alcohol, and do not access health services. Research shows if we can identify these young people and intervene in their lives, we can make a difference.”

Ms Dyson said the programme, based on a model called Multi-Systemic Therapy, focused on the young person, their peers, school, family and the community in which they lived.

“Overseas, it has achieved impressive results, with a 20-40 per cent reduction in re-offending. This benefits not only the young people and their families, but also the whole of society by reducing the potential number of future victims and the costs associated with legal processes and imprisonment.”

The government has committed around $12 milllion over four years to develop and run the programme which is a joint initiative between the Department of Corrections and Child, Youth and Family Services. It targets 14-18 year olds and will involve a total of 130 young people and their families a year.

Mita Ririnui, undersecretary to the Minister of Corrections, is launching the pilot programme in Auckland today.


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