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Family group conferences not working for too many

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

20 June 2006

Family group conferences not working for too many

Family group conferences are not working for too many young offenders, with latest figures showing some are attending up to eight meetings with little or no result, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing figures from Associate Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson that show the worst offender attended 10 conferences, while 1,749 attended two or more - almost double the number in 2002.

"One of the first steps in tackling crime is early intervention with young people," says Mr Power.

"Family group conferences were meant to deliver restorative justice to young people, their families, and victims, and to avoid exposing offenders to the justice system.

"But they are not working for repeat offenders so the Government should be tackling the problem another way.

"Even the State Services Commission has criticised the lack of reliable information on the effectiveness of family group conferences.

"National supports the system for people who do not usually get into trouble, but there is limited value in using them repeatedly for those constantly in trouble.

"It is these people who need early and imaginative intervention. Family group conferences appear to fail on resolution and undertakings made."

ENDS


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