Guidance begins at home
As a former WA Police officer and now a State MP, I strongly support Pilbara police in their efforts to crack down on juvenile offenders (Youth focus of crackdown, 21/12).
We need to be firm with repeat young offenders and get them off the streets. However, our ultimate aim must be to tackle the family dysfunction often going back generations. The truth is that juvenile crime and antisocial behaviour often stems from, among other factors, parental or familial neglect.
We are seeing far too many young people run off the rails due to a lack of guidance at home. They deserve better.
I believe we must be more willing to intervene early and divert vulnerable kids away from harmful behaviours and environments. Give them a chance to lead a healthy, productive life. We also need to start demanding greater parental and familial accountability.
I don’t shy away from asserting that child welfare and community safety need to take priority over cultural sensitivities. Holding certain kids and families to a different set of standards because of their cultural background only risks perpetuating the gaps in social outcomes between the most disadvantaged and other West Australians.
Government and the police alone cannot fix what are deep-seated social problems. If only it was as simple as spending more money. We need the support of families and communities to make a real, long-term difference.
Dave Grills, Member for Mining and Pastoral