In the throes of the NT election last week, the debate heated up over the most effective way to manage youth crime.
MAD and BAD or SAD?
People in Alice Springs are talking about the “youth crisis” and supposed spike in crime. These youth are labelled BAD and many think they belong in detention. But as Commander Laidler points out that the key to dealing with any offenders, particularly youth, is engagement and “to understand why they were causing trouble”.
Working with these youth we know they are not Bad or Mad. They are SAD. CASSE’s engagement with youth shows us they offend because they feel scared, stressed and angry, insecure and unsafe, uncared for and some offend just because they are hungry. The youth are perpetrators but they are victims too.
Therapeutic approach reduces youth offending
CASSE’s Shields for Living Tools for Life (SFLTFL) is a dual cultural and therapeutic program offered on country.
“The evidence overwhelmingly shows that the therapeutic approach has the best prospect of reducing youth offending and supporting young people to become law-abiding and useful members of society” the commissioners’ report said.
This information is from a report by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, delivered in 2017, that found a tough approach would not reduce crime.
There are No Silver Bullets
Shields for Living Tools for Life (SFLTFL) cultural camps work with high-risk youth and their families to prevent offending. The youth say they feel Happy, Proud and Strong on our program. As Dale Wakefield MLA: Member for Braitling at the time of the election said: “There are no silver bullets, there has to be continuous hard work and commitment to policy that works and is evidence based, supporting families and making sure we intervene before a crime occurs”.
Support and recognition for CASSE in The Mercury (17 August 2020)
“We want the future NT government, local government and local Indigenous organisations to get behind initiatives like Children’s Ground, CASSE and community arts projects like the Bonnet Series and so create ways to engage young people in skill sharing programs in local and regional communities,” said Chris Tomlins (Greens candidate for Braitling Peltherre), published in The Mercury on the 17 August, 2020.
CASSE takes youth from custody to country. These youth use old tools to make new tools for living. CASSE gives them life-changing tools. We thank you for your on-going support. Please go to the donation page if you want to help keep the youth out of incarceration. CLICK HERE
Follow CASSE’s Facebook page for regular updates and links to articles of interest.