More Camps and Youth Patrols

NT Government

This week, the Chief Minister has outlined the Territory Government’s plan to curb youth crime, support victims, keep offenders accountable, and provide a pathway of skills, training and education for our young people, including:


To make sure our Youth Justice system is contemporary and fits today’s settings, the Territory Government will be undertaking a whole-of-system review to allow for all stakeholders and Territorians, to put forward ideas and play their part in creating a safer Territory. This will include a review of relevant legislation, including the Youth Justice Act 2005.

An external consultant will undertake the review, with the Terms of Reference being developed now. The review will be handed down towards the end of 2024, where government will consider what system reforms are required, including draft amendments. This review will also look at the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.


While this review is underway, the government will immediately stand up and run three new residential youth facilities.

These facilities will be based in Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, with plans for a fourth in the Katherine region. They will provide the Courts with more options for sentencing young people to a supervised and structured program.

These three residential facilities should be set up by mid-year.

While at these camps young people will be provided with education and training opportunities to assist them transition into work, and to provide the support they need to engage in learning and be positive members of our community.


The Territory Government established the Co-Responder Model in December 2023, which has front-line police working closely with Territory Families, Housing and Communities staff to ensure the safety of young people on our streets late at night.

This welfare-based service is operating in Darwin, Palmerston and Alice Springs; keeping children safe and freeing up Police resources.

Due to the success of the program the government is going to expand this program into Katherine and Tennant Creek. Within the next two months the department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities and Police will work together on how this service will work in Tennant Creek and Katherine; ensuring the correct infrastructure and professionals are available.

When a child in Darwin or Alice Springs needs a safe place to sleep, they may go to a designated safe place where they can be supervised and cared for while an assessment of their situation occurs. If police have concerns about the safety of children found to be wandering the streets at night, they are able to activate Territory Families, Housing and Communities staff to care for the young person while police focus on community safety.

Quotes attributable to Chief Minister Eva Lawler:

“The Territory Labor Government will continue to do the hard work to curb youth crime.

“I know we need to do more to get at-risk young people on the right track. We need parents to step up and be part of how we fix this. When they are working, and their kids are getting up and going to school, then society can function as it should.

“We want to see positive change in the lives of our young people. That means working with young people before things go wrong.

“This review into the Youth Justice Act will tell us what needs improving and what we need to change. The three camps we are setting up are paramount to community safety and getting these young people on a path of employment and productivity.

“The co-responder model is an example of good common-sense policy. Children need support, they need structure, and most importantly they need care. This is what my Government is focused on delivering. Getting this right is important for a stronger Territory.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Police, Brent Potter:

“The Territory Government has commissioned the independent Police Review which will make recommendations to optimise our policing frontline, and guide how we invest in policing over the next four years and beyond.

“We are focussed on ensuring our officers are properly supported. This will result in more police on our streets serving and protecting the community where they live.

“Creating a break in the offending cycle is essential for an individual to be put on a path of meaningful change, and that is exactly what youth residential facilities will do. These facilities will remove the youth from the negative environment they are in, place them on a structured supervised program, which by completion will see a reformed youth leave with positive health and educational outcomes.

“The co-responder model is freeing up Police resources, making sure our cops aren’t clogged up being a taxi service. They can get back out on the beat supporting Territorians.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Territory Families, Ngaree Ah Kit:

“The Territory Labor will continue to act with common sense when it comes to curbing youth crime and keeping young people safe.

“The Youth Justice Act 2005 review will look at what contemporary changes need to occur for the justice system to keep offenders accountable, support victims, and provide skills and education pathways for young people.

“A child should not be on the street late at night. The co-responder model will find them a responsible adult and somewhere safe to sleep, and the following day, start addressing the issues that led them to being on the street in the first place. Having our front-line police work closely with Territory Families, Housing and Communities staff will continue to provide better outcomes for these young people.”

Northern Territory Government

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