The Youth Crime Action Plan is centred on three strategies that are shaping how we tackle youth crime over the plan’s 10-year span.
What: ‘Partnering with communities’ seeks to improve the way government agencies engage with and support communities to prevent offending and reoffending.
Why: Youth offending problems and solutions differ from community to community. Also, initiatives that involve a young person’s family, whānau and community are more likely to be effective than initiatives that focus solely on the individual.
How: Features of this strategy include tapping into and using the knowledge and expertise of communities, schools, Māori, providers and frontline practitioners to reduce youth crime.
What: ‘Reducing escalation’ aims to ensure young people are dealt with at the lowest appropriate level of the youth justice system.
Why: We know that a key to reducing crime in the long term is to stop young people entering the justice system in the first place. This approach is also a central principle of New Zealand and international laws and guidelines.
How: Features of this strategy include ensuring informal interventions (such as warnings) are considered before formal interventions (such as family group conferences and the Youth Court). It also focuses on agencies such as Police, Child, Youth and Family, Health and Education working more closely to identify the best response to each child or young person.
What: ‘Early and sustainable exits’ seeks to provide young people who offend with the best type of intervention at the right time.
Why: Intervening early and diverting young offenders from crime is essential for ensuring they do not fall into an ongoing life of crime. The youth justice system should hold young people accountable for their offending, while providing opportunities to help them get back on track and lead fruitful lives.
How: Features of this strategy include strengthening existing interventions, such as family group conferences and police alternative actions, and improving planning and support for young people returning to their communities.