Bunbury to trial new youth crime initiative

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Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times

Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk has announced Bunbury as the first location for a new youth crime initiative to prevent young people re-offending and to improve community safety.

Target 120 is a $20.5 million State Government initiative which help young offenders avoid a life connected with the justice system.

Ms McGurk said Bunbury was chosen as the launch site because the city had a level of coordination of local services already established.

“There is a capacity for service providers in the city to tackle this issue,” she said.

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“We want to establish a model here and then look into providing a similar service in the metro area.”

Ms McGurk said the number of children going into the justice system is on the rise.

“The Target 120 program is a new and effective way of doing things – it will involve multiple government agencies, led by the Department of Communities and including the WA Police Force and Corrective Services, working more collaboratively with local service providers and the City of Bunbury,” she said.

“WA Police told us they could predict many of the children who would end up in the juvenile justice system and then graduate to adult prisons.

“Target 120 holds those young people to account for their actions but also provides focused and coordinated intervention to address underlying issues, and set these children on a better life course.”

South West Police acting Sen. Sgt Jeramy Davies said it was exciting to see the initiative come to Bunbury.

“What Target 120 means to us is that while we are communicating with service providers and other government agencies, we are not doing that in the most perfect way,” he said.

“There is always room for improvement and then we can work together with the community to find better outcomes for these people.”

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