Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed will be visiting the Parkville Youth Detention Facility next month.
It’s part of a continued push for funding for Shepparton’s early intervention services, including the Lighthouse Project and Neighbourhood Schools Project in the wake of Victoria’s youth detention crisis.
In Parliament this week, Ms Sheed has questioned the Andrews Labor Government about its proposal to stop the next cycle of youth detainees.
“In the two years I have been the elected representative for Shepparton District I have spoken on a number of occasions about the hard work of our local community initiatives.
Welfare workers can often identify the next group of youths who will be filling the states Youth Detention facilities,” she said.
The latest Youth Parole Board report noted that of 176 young people on sentence or remand in October 2015:
- 63% were victims of abuse, trauma or neglect
- 62% had previously been suspended or expelled from school
- 45% had been previously involved with child protection
“Building more prisons and perhaps reforming the bail laws may be necessary in the short term but everything points to early intervention with high risk children as the most effective way of reducing the numbers in our youth detention centres,” Ms Sheed said.
Meanwhile, the Victorian Ombudsman has this week, tabled her report on the state’s youth justice facilities.
It refers to Department of Health and Human Services figures which indicate on January 10, 2017 there were 190 young people detained in youth justice facilities – 91 on remand, and 99 sentenced.
“The same report indicates only about 20% of those remanded are sentenced to custody, so almost half of those in our youth detention centres are waiting for their cases to be heard.
We must know what steps the government is taking to deal with what are clearly significant delays in bringing these cases before the courts in a timely manner,” Ms Sheed said.
In Parliament yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews listed the funding the Government has provided to playgroups, kindergartens and family violence, however acknowledged there is more work to be done.
“I am the first to say we can do better, and that is exactly what we will do for these families, and for the potential victims of anyone who makes that bad call, who goes the wrong way, who becomes an antisocial person, or who becomes a threat and a risk to the safety of the community,” he said.
Sueanne McCumstie 0428 743 880│firstname.lastname@example.org