An engagement and support program providing legal services to Indigenous youth navigating the criminal justice system in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia is set to expand.
The announcement comes after the federal government pledged $2 million, ensuring the continuation of comprehensive and culturally appropriate services for Indigenous youth.
The Western Australian Aboriginal Legal Service will implement the programme, with the aim of helping Aboriginal young people to comply with bail conditions and court orders, while also providing support in the management of cases, mentoring, advocacy and guidance.
The program also helps Indigenous youth re-engage in education programs and participate in therapy with the goal of improving wellness outcomes and future employment prospects.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said early reports of the program’s impact were positive.
“ALSWA’s youth engagement program in the Kimberley region is showing early positive signs that it is helping young people fulfill their conditions and breaking the cycle of delinquency,” she said.
“We want to build on these successes with the expansion to more of the Kimberley region as well as the Pilbara region to keep more First Nations children and youth out of detention centers and the justice system. criminal justice.
“With the right, culturally appropriate supports, First Nations youth can reach their full potential in education, employment and in the community.
Federal Senator Patrick Dodson said ALSWA is the most suitable organization to deliver the program over the next two years.
“Through my constant contact with the Western Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, I am acutely aware of the issues that beset First Nations young people in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions,” he said.
“ALSWA is well placed to manage the program that this welcome funding will bring.”
The Youth Engagement Project will complement the Government of Western Australia’s existing Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy, which includes a broader set of First Nations youth welfare measures.
Western Australia has the highest incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the country.
Some 3,547 per 100,000 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population were imprisoned as of June this year, or about 20% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners nationwide.