Page 4440 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her question. The vision that guides the blueprint is keeping children and young people safe from harm by building their resilience, strengthening their connections with their families and encouraging their participation in the wider community.

Two particular initiatives that are making a positive difference are the after-hours bail service and restorative justice. The after-hours bail service, which began in 2011, assists young people who are on community-based orders to meet the conditions of bail. This may be through arranging transport or arranging suitable accommodation so that they do not breach their bail conditions.

In 2012-13 the after-hours bail support service received over 670 client-related matters relating to nearly 170 young people. Importantly, this work resulted in 26 young people being diverted from custody. In recognition of its success, the after-hours bail service won the ACT public service award for excellence earlier this year. Last night at the Yogie awards they won a commendation for innovative practice and also won the excellence in organisation practice award at the Youth Coalition awards.

Another initiative seeing diversion working well is the increased referral of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, and first-time offenders, to a restorative justice process. There has been a 45 per cent increase in the number of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders referred to restorative justice in 2012-13 compared to the previous year. In addition, 53 per cent of all first-time offenders are being referred to restorative justice. Evidence shows that participation in restorative justice can prevent young people from becoming further involved in the youth justice system.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, who are the key stakeholders involved in the operation and implementation of the blueprint?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Berry for her interest. The blueprint draws on the experiences and understanding of people who work with young people who come into contact with the law. Importantly, we have listened to the voices of young people and their families, and to the victims of crime committed by the young people. The blueprint sets out the government’s commitment over a 10-year period to better support our vulnerable young people to make positive life choices, strengthen their families and build connections within the community.

The implementation of the blueprint is being overseen and monitored by youth justice blueprint implementation groups, which include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, the Youth Coalition of the ACT, the Richmond Fellowship, the Canberra Police and Citizens Youth Club, the Northside Community Service, ACT Policing, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate, the Education and Training Directorate, the Health Directorate and the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate.

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