‘Get creative’ about curbing youth crime – Waitaki MP

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Waitaki community groups should apply for a new government scheme aimed at reducing youth crime, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

The Government’s Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP) provides grants to groups with ideas for innovative ways to reduce crime.

The Waitaki MP said priority would be given to original proposals that would contribute to the YCAP’s aims to reduce youth crime and also to help those who did offend to turn their lives around.

“I know there are a number of organisations keeping more than a close eye on this problem so it’s probably a good time to urge them to step up and get creative.”

The fund would start with $400,000 to support these initiatives and projects would not be able to be eligible for other sorts of Government funding, she said.

“Past experience tells us that small local projects, driven by people who know their community’s kids and what they need, can sometimes yield huge gains for a particular community.”

There had been some good progress in reducing crime – the number of people appearing in youth court and decreased by 19 per cent between June 2011 and June 2013, she said.

However it would be good to have a new approach in ways to make a difference to the lives of “some of our most vulnerable young people”, Mrs Dean said.

Associate Justice Minister Chester Burrows said the fund was a way for communities to get behind the idea of reducing youth crime in an innovative way.

“We’re asking communities to step up and get creative.”

The YCAP is a 10-year plan to reduce youth crime and help offenders turn their lives around by offering a practical approach to support frontline workers, service providers, youth justice services and volunteers.

Visit the Government Electronic Tender Service website at www.gets.govt.nz for more information on applying for a grant.

For more information on YCAP visit hwww.justice.govt.nz/policy/crime-prevention/youth-justice/youth-crime-action-plan.

Applications close February 14, 2014 and successful grants will be awarded by mid-2014.