Blueprint for Youth Justice in the ACT 2012-22

Annual Progress Report 2015

Section 4 The Blueprint: making a difference

Lucy's story - Youth Engagement Services Tiles
Sharon's story - After Hours Crisis Service
Alex's story - Bendora Throughcare Unit
Michael's story - Restorative Justice

While progress in meeting goals of the Blueprint can be measured against individual actions (see page 28), real and lasting change is about the positive difference that is made in a young person’s life, and to their family and community.

The following case studies illustrate how goals are being met in real life circumstances. These stories about young people (names have been changed) also show how collaboration across services and supports get the best outcomes for young people.

Lucy’s story

Youth Engagement Services

Goal

Lucy was referred to the program when her situation meant that she returned to her birth family after being in out of home care.

Concerns were raised about Lucy’s role as a young carer in her birth family, and possible emotional and financial impacts on her. As a young carer, Lucy was experiencing high stress and anxiety that resulted in her withdrawing from school.

After referral and discussions, Lucy agreed to work with her support worker and identified her wishes to finish school and to live independently.

Her worker assisted her to develop her résumé and to request more training to increase her opportunities for education and training.

Lucy was also supported by her support worker in her application for public housing. When Lucy was allocated a property, she felt comfortable about asking for help to move and settle in.

With a place to call home, Lucy is now looking for work in her local area until she can re-enrol in school to achieve her next goal to finish school.

Sharon’s story

After Hours Crisis Service

Goals

Sharon is a 15 year old Aboriginal young woman who is on a care order with Child and Youth Protection Services. She is being supervised under a Good Behaviour Order from an offence committed at 14 years of age.

Sharon came into contact with the After Hours Crisis Service after police requested bail support for her. Sharon had been charged with trespassing and was in custody in the ACT Policing Watch House.

Police were considering conditional bail for her, but were concerned about her living arrangements.

Staff from the After Hours Crisis Service assessed Sharon as being suitable to remain in the community but agreed that she needed alternative accommodation.

The service worked to find Sharon suitable accommodation and transport. Staff also negotiated with the police for Sharon to be granted bail and supervised in the community.

This was the second time that Sharon had contacted the After Hours Crisis Service. Previously she had requested a change to the conditions of her order from the Court so she could live at a different address.

While the request was not agreed to, staff at the service talked her through the reason for the decision. They also made sure Sharon understood what she needed to do to meet the existing conditions of her order.

Sharon’s story demonstrates how the After Hours Crisis Service works with statutory agencies to divert young people from custody, where this is appropriate and to support them to comply with the conditions of their community orders.

Alex’s story

Bendora Throughcare Unit

Goals:

Alex came into the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre (Bimberi) after a conviction for property and violence offences when he was 17. Around the time of his offending, Alex was experiencing significant change in his life - his parents had separated and were in new relationships and he was frequently using alcohol and marijuana. He became involved with a group of young people whose anti-social and offending behaviour had a strong influence over Alex.

Alex was able to continue his education and work through his drug and alcohol problems, and make decisions about other areas of his life. Alex was supported to learn social and relationship building skills and this helped him to resolve issues with his parents and to strengthen a connection with his sister.

His positive attitude meant he was well suited to move into Bendora. The Unit supports young people to live independently to help them move from detention into the community. Young people have a chance to develop their living skills and to take approved leave to help them prepare for a successful transition to restart their lives.

It’s now more than a year since Alex left Bimberi. He is a more confident and independent young person who has started a trade, has his own car and is working. Alex has not re-offended since he left Bimberi.

Michael’s story

Restorative justice

Goals:

Michael is a young Aboriginal man who was referred to restorative justice in 2011 after being caught by ACT Policing for breaking into a house with several other young people.

As part of the restorative justice process, Michael met with the family who lived in the house and who had also agreed to a face-to-face conference.

During the conference, the family had a chance to talk about how Michael’s offence had affected them and what would help them to deal with their experience.

As well as expressing their concern about the damage that had occurred, they were generous in their concern for Michael and his future, especially if he continued to break the law.
For Michael, who had a background of family conflict and negative peer influences, the conference was very challenging.

With the support of the Indigenous Guidance Partner, he was able to complete the process and take responsibility for his actions.

He also came to an agreement about how he could make amends.

Part of the outcome of the conference was a commitment by Michael to find ways to connect with young Aboriginal people who might be in a similar situation.

He believed that others could learn from his experience of restorative justice.

Michael wrote about his reflections on his personal journey and why he decided to be part of the process, eventually turning this into a written presentation.

After seeing the presentation, one Magistrate forwarded it to colleagues describing it as a compelling expression of the positive outcomes that could be achieved through restorative justice.

Forward to Appendix A

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