Getting on the right path
YOUNG offenders falling into a downward spiral of crime and violence have found a new direction in life, thanks to Save the Children.
SOME young offenders falling into a downward spiral of crime and violence have found a new direction in life.
The criminal activity of participants in Save the Children’s crime intervention program, Strong Tomorrow, has been reduced by up to 85 per cent.
The program provides prolific offenders aged 9-14 in the southeastern suburbs with a youth worker who acts as a positive role model and guides them away from a life of crime.
Strong Tomorrow was launched in February last year in the hope of reducing criminal activity among its participants by 40 per cent.
Following its exceptional success rate, WA Police has agreed to fund the program for another three years.
Save the Children Australia coordinator for Aboriginal services Karina Chicote said the program addressed the issues that influenced criminal behaviour.
“Most of the participants have been exposed to offending from a young age and that’s all they know; it’s a learnt behaviour,” she said.
“We don’t have the power to stop them doing the wrong thing, but we do give them a choice.”
There are only four participants involved in the program at any one time. Typically, none of them attends school.
The youth workers offer day-to-day support and encourage participants to go back to school. This can include purchasing them a new pair of shoes so they have appropriate footwear, or transporting them to and from school.
A lot of the time, the youth workers will take them out of their home environment for a few hours each week and work with them to find their strengths and interests.
“If you work with them when they’re young, they can reconnect to their community and go in a new direction,” Ms Chicote said.
Karina Chicote with youth mentor Preston Cullbong and team leader Steve Dyson.