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Promising Interventions for Reducing Indigenous Juvenile Offending

NCJ Number
Kelly Richards; Lisa Rosevear; Robyn Gilbert
Date Published
March 2011
8 pages
This paper reviews the evidence on policies and programs designed to reduce offending by Indigenous juveniles in Australia.
Although many primary prevention programs exist in Indigenous communities throughout Australia, only a small number of evaluations of such policies and programs have been conducted. A number of these are described in this report. The Doomadgee Petrol Project in Queensland aims to reduce the amount of crime and antisocial behavior within the town of Doomadgee by curbing the drug and petrol sniffing habits of youth. The evaluation reported that this program substantially reduced crime (90 percent) during the 1997-98. This program removed glue and other sniffable substances from store shelves, making them available only to adults. School children are informed about the consequences of substance abuse; and children participate in a competition to design an anti-petrol sniffing logo. The evaluation of a program in Halls Creek, Western Australia, designed to restrict access to alcohol found significant improvements in school attendance rates, higher numbers of kids taking the bus to school, and a strengthening of parental engagement in school activities. The Doomadgee Petrol Project and the Halls Creek alcohol restrictions are most appropriate for communities in regional or remote locations, such that the supply of substances can be closely regulated and monitored. The Pathways to Prevention Project intends to promote children's positive transition to school through a variety of means, including communication and social-skills programs at preschools, play groups, behavior management programs for parents, family support groups, and community development initiatives. Evaluation of this program showed that children's communication skills improved, their levels of problem behavior decreased, and there were fewer children at risk of severe behavioral problems. After the review of various programs and their evaluations, principles are outlined for preventing crime by Indigenous juveniles. 20 references