It addresses the complex issues which influence their criminal behaviour.
A 10-year-old in Strong Tomorrow had a list of offences, including aggravated robbery.
He has not been convicted of any offences since his involvement in the program.
The conviction rate of the other three boys hasalso significantly reduced, but ongoing support is needed to get them on the right track.
The program began in February after youth crime intervention officers (YCIO) noticed a lack of strategic crime prevention programs aimed specifically at re-offending youth in the South East Metro region.
Armadale Police youth crime intervention officer Kay Turner said the program had made significant lifestyle improvements to the boys aged, 10, 12, 13 and 14.
‘All participants were disengaged from school and most had been exposed to some causal factors of offending, such as other criminal associations, domestic violence, general violence and drug and alcohol abuse,’ she said.
‘Some of the participants are high-end offenders and have multiple issues. They’ve been disengaged for long periods, which causes them to miss basics such as medical and dental checks and their offending behaviour can stem from the need to survive.’
Save the Children Australia youth worker Steve Dyson spent three days a week working with the boys and their families to help them on the right path.
He takes the youngsters out of their home environment, which can include up to 10 people in one house, for a few hours each day and engages them in a variety of positive activities that focus on their strengths, including sport, cooking, go-karting or bush walking.
‘Criminal offending in young people is a learnt behaviour ” it’s intergenerational,’ he said.
‘I support the young people by being a positive male mentor.’
Despite the initial behavioural challenges presented, Mr Dyson said they now wait for him to arrive and often have smiles on their faces.