Guid­ance be­gins at home

Pilbara News - - Opinion - Dave Grills

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

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