The successful Target 120 early intervention program will be rolled out in Port Hedland and Northam.
Community Services Minister Simone McGurk today announced that the two new regional sites have joined the $20.4 million initiative, which targets young people who are at risk of becoming repeat juvenile offenders.
The program was developed in 2017 as an early intervention strategy for at-risk young people aged between 10 and 14, to help turn their lives around and improve family and community safety.
It works across agencies to tackle the various factors that can increase a young person’s likelihood of offending, including substance abuse, poor attendance at school, lack of housing, domestic violence, trauma and mental health issues.
Target 120 commenced in 2018 in Bunbury and Armadale, and has since been expanded to nine additional locations – Kalgoorlie, Kununurra, Mirrabooka, Geraldton, Rockingham, Midland, Albany, Port Hedland and Northam.
In the existing sites, the program has assisted young people with a recent history of offending to significantly reduce – and in many cases avoid – further involvement with the justice system.
It currently has 57 active participants across the State. Of these, 63 per cent have not had further contact with police since joining the program.
The State Government is committed to working with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation partners to deliver the program in some locations.
The State Government has committed $20.4 million over four years to implement Target 120 – a McGowan Government election commitment – across the 11 metropolitan and regional sites.
As stated by Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
“The Target 120 approach focuses on a young person’s needs, strengths and family circumstances, and works to deliver co-ordinated access to the services and supports they need to become valued members of their communities.
“The program looks at young offenders as individuals – not as a group – and finds ways to reduce a young person’s likelihood of re-offending.
“The Department of Communities, WA Police, Department of Education, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Department of Health and Department of Justice all work together to improve outcomes for at-risk young people and those around them.
“This ensures potential re-offenders can engage in education, training or employment, social and recreational activities, and other community-based supports.
“Target 120 is already producing results, with almost two thirds of current participants having had no further police contact since joining the program.”
As stated by Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:
“This expansion of Target 120 is a welcome investment in the future of at-risk young people, and the broader Port Hedland community that they live in.
“The evidence from existing sites suggests Target 120 will make a significant positive difference to the lives of local young people and their families, with siblings and other family members of participants also supported through the program.
“By working across government and non-government agencies in an innovative way, it will improve community safety in Port Hedland and surrounding areas.”