Mr Gillespie said the small percentage of youth who did commit crime were usually involved in anti-social behaviour, had little in the way of a secure a stable family structure, with few positive role models and overall poorer life skills ” something centres like the Fremantle PCYC worked hard to turn around.
He said the best remedy was for organisations such as the police, not-for-profits such as PCYC and the departments of corrective services, child protection, education and communities to work together in dealing with the root cause instead of the symptoms.
‘While considerable effort is placed on the offending young people, equal effort needs to focus on the families to ensure the young person has the appropriate home and family support,’ he said.
‘PCYC, through its unique partnership with the WA Police and other partners views this approach as being critical to get young people back on track through case management and development programs that may also include family education parallel with a young person’s development.’
At Fremantle PCYC, administration coordinator Lisa Ingram said their most successful programs were the drop-in centre and Streetball.
‘A big part of their success is the casual atmosphere and adaptability of the programs,’ she said.
‘The drop-in centre focuses on primary school-aged children, providing them a safe place to chill out after school as well as a range of activities, which serves the dual purpose of removing children from unsupervised areas or areas where they may be led into anti-social and criminal behaviour and providing them with a safe environment.
‘The Streetball program has a similar aim, but is focused on high school-aged young adults, many of whom have already been involved with corrective services.’
Ms Ingram said both programs had received positive feedback from the youth involved.