Northern Territory

$5 million program to put at-risk youths Back on Track

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The Territory Government has unveiled its $5 million Back on Track youth diversion program to help break the cycle of crime that has gone on for decades in the NT.

The program, called Back on Track, will give the Courts more sentencing and diversion options and will be delivered in Greater Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Nhulunbuy.

The program will service all at-risk children and young people across the Territory, and will be designed to ensure they understand the consequences of their actions.

On top of funding for the Back on Track program, the Territory Government is already investing $18.2 million each year into youth diversion and alternatives to detention.

An Expression of Interest, asking groups around the Territory to play a role in putting young people back on track, will be advertised. The Government will ensure that the options put forward are placed in front of the courts as viable options to sentence or divert young people running up against the law.

Those submitting their interest to be part of the Back on Track program will need to show that their work will contribute to

  • Young people repairing the harm they caused by their offending by working in the community.
  • Young people being taught skills to become productive members of the community.
  • Young people participating in victim offending conferencing and undertaking agreed actions to provide restitution to victims of crime.

The program will have strong links to the business community to find employment opportunities for young people during the program (and ongoing).

The program will address at-risk behaviour, consequences and restitution, life skills and cultural connection, family capacity and responsibility, re-engagement with education, training and employment opportunities.

The program will target two age groups:

Target Group 1: 14-17 years

The program will engage up to 60 young Territorians (annually) that are at risk of entering the youth justice system and will include individual support and mentoring through training and employment.

Target Group 2: 8-13 years

The program will engage up to 25 children and young people (annually) across the Territory who are engaging in bad behaviour that places them at risk of entering the youth justice system. The program will also focus on building family capacity and responsibility for young people to re-engage them back into mainstream education.

The $5 million Back on Track program will be delivered by a youth service provider(s) in partnership with the Territory Government. The provider(s) will contribute to the co-design and delivery of the program.

The Back on Track program is expected to be operational mid-2019.

Source: NT Government