01 Mar New multi-agency initiative launched to increase support for victims of youth offending
A new initiative focusing on improving the support provided for victims of youth offending is being launched in Auckland City District this week.
Launching on March 1st, the pilot programme will see a focused multi-agency approach to supporting victims of youth offending with Police, Oranga Tamariki and Victim Support all working together.
Inspector Beth Houliston says the objectives of the trial are to ultimately improve outcomes for victims of youth offending and reduce victimisations.
It also aims to improve outcomes for youths by allowing them a greater understanding of the impact of their offending behaviour on their victims and the community.
As part of the pilot, frontline Police staff in Auckland City District will be making Victim Support referrals for every offence committed by youths.
Nine dedicated Victim Support workers have been trained up to specifically support victims through the Youth Justice Process.
The specialised support workers will ensure that victims have access to comprehensive support and advice from a trained support worker from the day of the incident through to participation in family group conferences or in court.
“The priority for Police is the welfare of victims and ensuring they feel safe,” says Inspector Houliston.
“We are committed to working closely with our partners to provide the best support and services available to assist victims of youth offending,” says Inspector Houliston.
“We want victims of youth offending to know that if they are prepared to participate in the youth justice process, they can rely on a well-informed support person at every step,” says Victim Support’s Auckland Area Manager Wilson Irons.
“Victim Support recognises that the most effective interventions to reduce youth re-offending often rely on the participation of victims in a Family Group Conference. Victims willing to participate in this important process deserve all the support we can give them.”
Oranga Tamariki Waitakere Youth Justice Manager Peter Alexander says we have a legal duty to include victims’ views and experiences as an integral part of the youth justice process.
“We support young people who offend, their whanau and victims of youth offending to restore mana.
“Victims who attend family group conferences are able to share with young offenders their experience and the impact on their lives. This gives young people a better understanding of what they need to do to right the wrong, which is important in reducing future offending. Victims have a full say in the plans put in place to reduce that offending.”
The pilot will run for three months with a view to eventually rolling out the initiative to include other Districts.