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Youth Crime Action Plan on track as youth crime falls

Youth Crime Action Plan on track as youth crime falls

Efforts to tackle youth offending are building momentum as communities and government agencies embrace the Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP).

Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows today praised the progress made during the first eight months of YCAP, the Government’s 10-year plan to reduce crime by children and young people, and help those who offend to turn their lives around.

“The Plan builds on the successes that have already seen the youth crime rate fall 30 per cent since June 2011, beating our Better Public Services target three years early,” says Mr Borrows.

“More detailed statistics reinforce this positive picture, such as Police apprehensions of young people falling 34 per cent since 2009, and the number of young people appearing in court down 45 per cent over the same period.

“However, we’re not resting on our laurels. Any one young offender is one too many, and we can always do more to help young people, families and victims, and to create safer communities.”

“The Youth Crime Action Plan provides a blueprint for maintaining this progress. It guides everything we do to tackle youth crime. By building on successes and confronting challenges together, we can continue to make a real difference in communities and to young people’s lives.”

YCAP includes 30 practical actions that government agencies must put in place over the first two years. The most recent milestone date for several actions was June 30.

“The Plan supports youth justice services, frontline workers, service providers and volunteers to tackle youth crime and the factors that lead to offending. The 30 actions make sure we’re focusing our energy on the right things and help us to measure how we’re doing.

“But most importantly, these are practical initiatives that will prevent young people from getting caught up in the justice system, and get troubled kids back on the straight and narrow as soon as possible.”

Actions achieved so far include:

Local action plans: Increasing numbers of communities around the country are creating local action plans, which identify local problems and come up with solutions. Ten Youth Offending Teams have completed or are developing a plan, and another 13 intend to. Two of the six YCAP Innovation Fund winners will also develop action plans in Hawke’s Bay and Wellington’s eastern suburbs.
Family group conference (FGC) improvements: Child, Youth and Family have put in place changes to reinvigorate FGCs and to increase participation by family, agencies and the community. These include introducing new practice standards; creating specialist positions to coach, support and mentor FGC co-ordinators; and establishing a pilot in Gisborne where CYF and Ngati Porou co-ordinators jointly facilitate FGCs.
Better joint decision making: Police and CYF are rolling out new tools to aid decision making and improve consistency in how agencies deal with children and young people who are apprehended. The initiatives will better gauge reoffending risk and decide the best course of action.
Mental health and drug problem support: More specialist youth forensic clinicians are working in the youth justice system. The clinicians’ roles include providing specialist screening and advice in the Youth Court, and services to assess, treat and support young people in the community or youth justice residences. The number of full time equivalent clinicians has increased about 80 percent since mid-2012.
Advisory group: Eight youth justice experts have been appointed to provide independent advice to support the plan’s implementation. The group’s roles include helping explore innovative ideas identified by ministers.

More information about the Plan is available on the Ministry of Justice’s website atwww.justice.govt.nz/policy/crime-prevention/youth-justice.


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