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Townsville Stronger Communities

Townsville Stronger Communities

Townsville is one of Australia’s most liveable cities. We want everyone to feel safe while they enjoy everything Townsville has to offer—that’s why we’re taking extra steps to respond to youth crime.

In September 2016, we established the Townsville Stronger Communities initiative to get young people back on track to lead more productive lives.

Crime is a problem we can’t solve alone, but through a whole of government, whole of community and whole of family approach, we can work together to break the cycle.

  • Townsville's voice

    Townsville Community Champion report

    A report by the independent Townsville Community Champion on youth crime issues, Major General (Rtd) Stuart Smith.

    Read the report (PDF, 6.1 MB)

    The Queensland Government has issued a response to the Townsville Community Champion’s report and accepts all its recommendations in principle.

    Read the response

  • Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group — About us

    Headed by Acting Inspector Janelle Poole, the group comprises senior representatives of key agencies to provide a whole-of-government response to youth crime.

    The group targets identified repeat offenders and coordinates services for at-risk youths and their families.

    Find out more

  • Youth crime forums

    The independent Townsville Community Champion has held a series of forums to discuss solutions to youth crime issues.

    The group targets identified repeat offenders and coordinates services for at-risk youths and their families.

    Find out more

  • Report school truancy

    Helping children to stay in school is an important way to reduce youth crime.

    Find out more

  • Protecting your home

    Help protect your home against break and enters by practicing good home security.

    Find out more

  • Explainer: the Youth Justice system

    What happens to young people when they offend? Find out how the youth justice process works.

    Find out more

  • Frequently asked questions: Townsville youth crime

    Find out more

  • oneplace Community Services Directory

    oneplace

    oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community support services to help Queensland families to get to the right service at the right time.

    Find out more

  • Youth justice

    See what the world looks like for Townsville children connected with youth justice.

    Find out more (PDF, 66 KB)

  • Media statements

    Queensland Government media statements on actions being taken to tackle crime in North Queensland.

    Find out more

Townsville crime heat map

Frequently asked questions: Townsville youth crime

Rate of youth crime

The following information is based on statistics for the Townsville local government area.

Q. What percentage of Townsville’s youth population was charged with an offence in 2017–18?

Of Townsville’s youth population (aged 10–17), 1.8% were charged with an offence in 2017–18.

Thirty-eight young people were responsible for half of all offending by youth in the region.

Most children who commit a crime do so once and then stop offending of their own volition while in their youth.

As of 12 February 2018, 17-year-olds who commit an offence are dealt with under theYouth Justice Act 1992. As a result, the increase in figures for 2017–18 is largely due to the inclusion of 17-year-old offenders in the Youth Justice system.

Q. How many proven offences are committed by young people in Townsville?

A total of 1928 proven offences committed by young people (10–17 years of age) in Townsville were finalised in court in 2017–18.

This is a 19% increase on the previous year. Since 2013–14, proven offences in Townsville have fallen by 10%.

The rate of young people in Townsville with at least one finalised proven offence was 14.6 per 1000 children, compared with 8.0 Queensland-wide.

A total of 295 young people had one or more proven offences finalised in 2017–18. This is a 21% increase since 2016–17. This is largely due to 17-year-old offenders being included in the Youth Justice system from 12 February 2018.

Q. What are the main proven offence types committed by 10–17-year-olds in Townsville?

In 2017–18, young offenders in Townsville mainly committed property offences (65% of all proven offences).

Car thefts comprised 10% of all proven offences finalised in Townsville in 2017–18, compared with 8% Queensland-wide.

Violent offences accounted for 8% of proven offences finalised in Townsville over the same 12-month period.

Actions to tackle youth crime

Q: What extra measures are being taken to deal with young repeat offenders?

Policing is not enough on its own to deal with youth crime.

In February 2017, the Queensland Government rolled out the Community Youth Response to target a core group of high risk repeat offenders in Townsville.

This response includes:

  • Specialist High Risk Children’s Court List: This was introduced in the Children’s Court and means young repeat offenders will appear before the same magistrate who can tailor court orders to respond to the individual’s specific family circumstances. They will also apply penalties that fit the crime. Sentencing options that ensure children are giving back to the community will be prioritised. Magistrates can also order children to participate in education and training.
  • After-hours safe place: An after-hours diversionary centre, known as The Lighthouse, is being operated in Garbutt by the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service.
  • Intensive case management: Repeat offenders and their families are being allocated Department of Youth Justice case managers who will work intensively with them to ensure adequate supervision, arrange counselling, and devise personalised problem-solving strategies.
  • Vocational training: The Department of Youth Justice’sTransition to Successprogram — which has been delivering vocational skills to children and those considered at risk — has been expanded to focus on a high-risk group of young repeat offenders. The program has been successful in transitioning children into long-term education and vocation outcomes. They have also been linked into the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.
  • Education: A flexi-school program is being delivered to children who don’t fit into mainstream education. The program focuses on improving literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Cultural mentoring: Elders are being assisted to connect young Indigenous offenders and at-risk teens to their culture and to provide positive role models.

Q: What other measures are in place to help break the cycle of youth crime in Townsville?

Almost every child who comes into the youth justice system has a history of complex trauma. This includes physical or sexual abuse, neglect or domestic violence—this contributes to their offending behaviour.

More than 80% of young people in the youth justice system are known to the child protection system.

To achieve rehabilitation that eliminates offending, these traumas must be taken into consideration.

A wide range of government actions are in place, including:

  • Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group: Formed in late 2016, the multi-agency group brings together senior staff from seven agencies, including the Queensland Police, to help tackle the underlying issues of youth offending. The group works closely with at-risk children and their families to coordinate services on issues such as mental health, housing, and poor parenting support.
  • Curfews: Youth Justice staff are increasingly including curfew conditions for high risk offenders who are leaving detention and are subject to asupervised release order. In these cases, police monitor the child’s curfew and report instances of non-compliance.
  • Community reparation: If a child is found guilty of an offence, a court can order them to do unpaid work in the community for a certain number of hours. The Queensland Government organises for the work to take place. Restorative justiceconferencesare also used and involve a meeting between an offender who has admitted an offence and the people most affected by that crime. These enable offenders to take responsibility and for victims to have a say in the penalty the offender will receive.
  • Behaviour programs: Various programs are in place to change behaviour such asanger and aggressionandanti-social habits.
  • Motor vehicle offender program: Called Reverse, the program seeks to reduce the risk of children stealing cars. This includes working closely with the Queensland Police Crash Unit and Queensland Fire and Rescue to help children understand the consequences of joyriding in motor vehicles.
  • Literacy-focused education: Alternative schooling is available for 13–15 year olds who are leaving detention and have low literacy skills.
  • Project Booyah: This police-led mentoring program has been given permanent funding, and helps young people who have disengaged from school and those who have come into contact with the youth justice system.Project Booyahequips young people with job skills through training in workplaces. It also provides community and family interventions, and youth support. Graduates are mentored until they are 18 years of age.
  • Supervised accommodation: The Queensland Government funds Mission Australia to provide 24 hour/seven day a week supervised accommodation for young males leaving detention who are at high risk of homelessness. The services help young people to develop the skills they need to become independent in their own homes or to reconnect with family.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services: A dedicated cultural unit situated in the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Townsville provides culturally appropriate services and programs to help children prepare to reintegrate into the community.

Contact the Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group

Get in touch with the Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group.

Headed by Acting Inspector Stephen Batterham, the action group comprises senior representatives of key agencies in order to provide an integrated, whole-of-government response to youth crime issues.

This form is not for emergency assistance. If a crime is happening now call Triple Zero (000). If non-urgent, call Policelink on 131 444.

Townsville contacts

  • Act for Kids

    Specialist teams supporting children, young people and families across the whole spectrum of child protection.

  • ATODS

    Information, clinical assessment, counselling, treatment and referral for individuals, groups and families with alcohol and other drug-related problems.

  • Clontarf Foundation

    The Clontarf Foundation operates in four Townsville high schools and seeks to improve the education, discipline, life skills and job prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

  • Coast to Country Housing Company

    Housing assistance for people in need.

  • Community Gro

    A community-based organisation that provides activities, programs and services, including the Upper Ross and Garbutt community centres.

  • Free information, advice and referral, representation and casework, community education and advocacy for vulnerable clients and communities facing legal problems.

  • Community Policing Board Townsville

    Community Policing Boards give local organisations and people a say on crime issues.

  • DV Connect

    The only statewide telephone service offering anyone affected by domestic or family violence a free ‘crisis hotline’ 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

  • Family and Child Connect

    A free service that connects families to local providers that can help with managing children's behaviour; building better family relationships; stopping violence at home; budgeting and managing money; addressing alcohol, drug or gambling problems; and accessing housing, health care or other services.

  • Headspace

    The national youth mental health foundation dedicated to improving the wellbeing of young Australians.

  • Lives Lived Well

    Support for people affected by alcohol or drugs or problems with mental health.

  • myPolice Townsville

    Regular updates from local police.

  • Ozcare

    Homeless and housing services, as well as drug and alcohol services, women’s refuges and Indigenous services.

  • For non-urgent incidents, call 131 444 or lodge a report online.

  • Queensland Youth Services

    Services for 12 to 25 year olds, including help for youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, and assistance in addressing barriers to employment.

  • Red Cross Homelessness Service Hub

    Support for vulnerable people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in Townsville.

  • Salvation Army Recovery Services

    The Salvation Army operates a 33-bed residential rehabilitation facility in Townsville for men and women seeking recovery from addiction to alcohol, other drugs and gambling.

  • Sharehouse Youth Accommodation

    A crisis shelter for 16–25 year olds.

  • TAIHS

    The Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services offers health services, child and family services, and youth services.

  • The Lighthouse

    An after-hours drop-in centre that gives 10–16 year olds a safe space between 4pm and 8am daily. 1800 196 884.

  • Townsville Neighbourhood and Community Centres search

    Neighbourhood and community centres provide friendly, localised access to child, family and community services.

  • Townsville Neighbourhood Watch

    Neighbourhood Watch encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together to reduce crime and improve community safety.

  • Townsville Youth Council

    The council represents young people and organises youth projects and events.

  • The Youth Network NQ Inc

    A service that runs youth engagement activities and hosts monthly meetings for youth workers to connect, exchange information and collaborate on service delivery.

  • Uncle Alfred’s Men’s Group

    Alfred Smallwood is an Indigenous Elder in Townsville who helps children and adults stay out of trouble in the justice system. A men's group meets every Tuesday evening.

  • Yumba-Meta Housing Association

    Short, medium and long-term accommodation and support services for disadvantaged people in Townsville, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.