Help for young offenders

It has been reported Armadale has the highest crime rate in Perth metropolitan area.

Save the Children Foundation WA Regional Co-ordinator Karina Chicote said the key was to target young offenders.

Save the Children worked with more than 350 Armadale and Torres Strait Islander children to try to get them back on track.

Ms Chicote said the organisation worked with a child from the Armadale area who had committed close to 40 offences in five months. Another did not attend school for eight months.

She said the reason children committed crimes at such a young age was instability in their family lives.

Ms Chicote said it was not about just locking them up – they also had to be educated.

“Obviously something is going on behind that we need to respond to as a community,” she said.

Save the Children has two programs to help young people. Strong Tomorrow provides support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 12-18 years who have been in trouble with the law.

“We were working with one person who, in the five months leading up to working with us, the child had 37 offences,” Ms Chicote said.

“In that time working with us, they only had 19, which is a 49 per cent reduction.”

Police youth crime intervention officer Kim Bryce said it was becoming more common for 10-year-olds to be caught committing offences such as aggravated robbery and serious assaults.

“They are getting younger unfortunately. We start looking at them at 10,” he said.

“It is becoming more and more regular.

“What we are trying to encourage for young offenders was to realise what they have done and make some amendments in their life.”