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Prevent youth crime by strengthening support

Today more than 60 people attended my office for the release of ‘Speaking Out About Youth Justice’ – a report based on a consultation with 92 young people who had been in contact with youth justice services.

Most young people in contact with the WA justice system have experienced significant neglect, family violence and other trauma in their short lives.

Like everyone else, it is important for young people to repay the community for any offence they commit, but this must be achieved by addressing the underlying causes of their behaviour.

My aim with this report is to provide these young people with an opportunity to have their views heard about what leads young people to offend and what they need to change their lives.

Hearing and responding to young people’s views is vital in our efforts to better support these young people and their families and create a safer, more harmonious society.

Young people said criminal activity at home, peer pressure from friends, a lack of resources in the community, disengagement from school and personal issues like substance misuse led them to criminal behaviour.

Young people also noted that strong role models, affordable and accessible community activities, and better support at school and transitioning to employment would help to break the cycle of offending.

I will be working across government to ensure these views are heard and practical changes are made to justice services and policies.

I also released today a report for the young people who took part in consultation.

I would like to thank everyone involved in this very important project, including the Department of Corrective Services, and in particular the 92 young people and 10 family members who were interviewed for this consultation – their generosity and courage in speaking about their lives is incredibly important and appreciated.