The Byron Youth Service (BYS) is ‘ecstatic’ at Tuesday’s funding announcement of $250,000 for them to deliver an innovative First Offenders’ Program.
The program is aimed at young offenders aged 12 to 17 years and works to keep young people out of the juvenile justice system and detention.
‘The BYS will be using a Restorative Justice framework, which focuses on restoring relationships and repairing harm as opposed to punishment for misbehaviour,’ said a spokesperson for the BYS.
‘We recognise the negative effects of exclusionary discipline within schools and in society, and the staff wish to take a restorative approach that is inclusive and allows connection.
‘From years of experience with young people the staff know that when young people feel connected and valued they are less likely to behave in negative ways.’
The Byron Shire First Offenders’ Program is diversionary and aims to keep young people out of the juvenile justice system and detention.
A 4-step approach to working with young offenders will be used. This includes early intervention in schools, community ‘pop-up’ support systems during festivals and at popular ‘hangout’ spots, case management and restorative circles.
‘It will also target first-time offenders who have committed drug and alcohol offences, disorderly conduct, non-domestic violence-related assault or intimidation, stalking and harassment,’ said Nationals parliamentary secretary for northern NSW Ben Franklin.