Youth crime forums

The independent Townsville Community Champion on youth crime issues, Major General Stuart Smith (ret.), hosted a public forum in early June 2018.

Attendees were invited to discuss solutions to promote safety in neighbourhoods and support at-risk youth to stay positively engaged with school, learning and the community.

The themes that emerged included:

  • increase police strategies and resources
  • increase after-hours support to communities, children and families
  • reconnect and rebuild relationships in communities
  • provide additional support for children at school
  • provide activities to engage and support children out-of-school hours
  • incentivise children to attend school
  • provide more support for parents and families of at-risk children
  • hold parents to account for their children’s behaviour
  • inform and be informed by the community about the types of services and support available to assist people
  • provide cultural awareness and education to children at school
  • harsher penalties for youth offenders. 

Youth service provider workshop

Community views and themes from the public forum were shared with government and non-government youth service providers at a workshop in late June 2018 and a Townsville civic leaders’ forum in early August 2018.

Youth service providers commented on community-generated solutions, identified gaps and barriers to progressing solutions, and provided additional answers to deterring youth crime.

Common areas of focus:

  • increase the access and engagement of young people and their families to services, activities and jobs
  • increase community access to knowledge, information, resources and available services
  • build cultural capability in community, schools and services
  • increase flexible learning, engagement and resources in education
  • provide greater support for parents and families
  • improve service capability, capacity and resources
  • increase focus on the evaluation of outcomes of services and programs
  • communicate stories of youth resilience with the Townsville community.

Common barriers:

  • restrictions to services via funding, contract requirements and other challenges
  • barriers to assisting young people and families are perceived to exist due to a disconnect between clients, services and government.

Common opportunities:

  • the role of community in supporting young people
  • better service integration and mapping of Townsville’s services.

Barriers and opportunities identified in the service provider workshop and the community forum will inform further work to develop feasible solutions.

Community leaders forum

A community leader’s forum was held in early August 2018.

Townsville community leaders—including the Townsville Mayor, state and federal members of Parliament, business leaders and Indigenous Elders—were invited to comment on solutions generated by the community and service providers, and suggest alternative and additional options.

Themes included:

  • leaders and the community to work together using a coordinated approach
  • provide transparent leadership and share information
  • when holding youths accountable through community service, focus on youth skill development
  • understand the needs of the cohort and their families
  • understand what services are currently provided by the sector in order to make best use of resources
  • educate, role model and mentor children
  • increase cultural awareness.