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Back on track – first cultural bush camps begin

By Pamela Nathan

CASSE’s first Men’s Tjilirra Movement cultural bush camps being offered as part of the ‘Shields for Living, Tools for Life‘ program have commenced to support at-risk young people to get ‘back on track’. We look forward to bringing you more news on the camps soon. In the meantime, here is a story about the camps published in the Centralian Advocate and below is a media release from Dale Wakefield, Minister for Territory Families

Dale Wakefield, Minister for Territory Families
Media Statement

Cutting Youth Crime: First Youth Bush Camps Begin in Central Australia

18 October 2019

Two groups of at-risk young people will participate in the first Back on Track youth bush camps this month.

The camps target young people who have a high risk of offending or reoffending, so that they can face the consequences of their actions and put on a path away from a life of crime.

Non-profit organisations Creating a Safe, Supportive Environment (CASSE) and MacDonnell Regional Council Youth Services (MacYouth) will each run their first camp this month. The programs will include specialist case management to change behaviour.

CASSE program ‘Shields for Living, Tools for Life’ – The first group, made up of six young people and their families from Willowra departed on Wednesday 14 October to camp on country outside of Willowra. The program includes five days on country and six months of intensive therapy and workshops. CASSE will hold eight camps for up to 30 young people each year in partnership with the Men’s Tjilirra Movement.

MacYouth program ‘The Right Track’ – The first MacYouth camp was held in the first week of October on country near Santa Teresa for five young people and their families. The camp caters for young people aged 10 to 17 years, who are either at-risk or already in contact with the youth justice system. MacYouth will hold four camps, for up to 10 people, per year.

Youth bush camps are part of the most extensive suite of measures to address the issue of young offenders ever seen in the Territory. This also includes youth victim conferencing, extra Police on our streets, and bringing back school-based constables that the CLP scrapped.

For the first time in the Territory’s history, Police, government agencies and NGOs will now be able to refer young people under the age of criminal responsibility (8-9 years old) to programs that will change behaviour and break the cycle of youth crime.

Quotes from Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield

“Youth crime – any crime – is unacceptable. Young people who do the wrong thing will face the consequences because all Territorians have the right to be safe.

“The youth bush camps involve taking young people and their families out on country with intervention from Aboriginal elders to help young people re-establish their connection to culture and face the consequences of their actions. The camps also involve intensive therapy to change behaviour.

“We have a comprehensive plan to cut crime in the Territory. The only plan the CLP have is to cut funding for youth services and programs that keep our community safer. They also failed to recruit more police officers and scrapped school-based constables.”