Aboriginal Legal Service program targets young Aboriginal offenders
More than $500,000 funding for mentoring and support initiative
In a juvenile justice first, the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) will deliver an innovative court-based program to reduce offending by young Aboriginal people.
Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis today announced that ALSWA will receive $520,000 over two years to support and mentor young Aboriginal people appearing before the Children's Court of Western Australia.
"On a typical day, the ALSWA represents up to 13 Aboriginal young people in the Perth Children's Court," Mr Francis said.
"The grant provides funding for two Aboriginal diversion officers, both qualified social workers, to operate alongside ALSWA lawyers at the court."
The program is the latest recipient of a Youth Justice Innovation Fund grant administered by the Youth Justice Board, which was established by the State Government in 2014.
"This ALSWA initiative seeks to divert young people away from the justice system thereby cutting crime, saving money and making our community safer," the Minister said.
The program will vary in both duration and intensity depending on the needs of the individual and may involve more than three months of intensive intervention.
"We need to try different ways to reduce youth offending as part of a sustained effort to address the complex issues some young Aboriginal people face," Mr Francis said.
"Partnering and working with Aboriginal organisations is essential so that we can address the rate of Aboriginal incarceration. We will get a better result by supporting the Aboriginal community to deliver Aboriginal-led initiatives."
The Youth Justice Innovation Fund provides seed capital for innovative programs aimed at reducing over-representation of Aboriginal youth in the criminal justice system
More than $1.5 million in grants has been allocated since the fund was established in August 2014
In February 2015, the Wirrpanda Foundation's Moorditj Ngoorndiak mentoring program was the first organisation to be awarded a $320,000 funding grant
Minister's office - 6552 6500