A Kununurra school holiday program jointly developed by the State Government, local community groups and Aboriginal organisations had a significant impact on the town last summer, with a 20 per cent drop in juvenile offences.
The Kununurra Youth and Family Holiday Program was established by the East Kimberley District Leadership Group (DLG) in an effort to reduce anti-social behaviour during the annual school break and to connect young people with their families.
The six-week program was the first initiative of the DLG’s collective impact work – a collaborative approach to achieving significant and lasting social change.
State reform leader Grahame Searle said about 60 free activities for young people and their families were offered during December and January, and more than 1,500 people participated.
Activities included basketball, pool parties, weaving, discos, movie and BMX nights, indoor soccer, street art and bush tucker trips.
“The results of this program show that community-driven initiatives supported by Aboriginal leaders are fundamental in changing behaviours,” Mr Searle said.
“While government can support individuals and families to succeed, the family itself is a far greater contributor to a young person’s wellbeing and the choices they make.”
WA Police Inspector East Kimberley Tony Jeavons said the school holiday program had resulted in an overall decrease in juvenile offences and charges.
“Police were very pleased to help support the school holiday program and work alongside our community-based organisations and other government agencies,” he said.
“We saw a healthy reduction in juvenile offending during the traditional school holiday time and, more importantly, received no reports while the program was running, which for me is a significant achievement and a pat on the back for everyone who got involved.”
Save the Children regional coordinator Victoria Baird said the program had been a success and demonstrated how well the community could come together to curb crime and boost family cohesion.
“The holiday program was about increasing young people’s sense of belonging, promoting family time and strengthening connections between children and young people and their parents and family members,” she said.
District Leadership Groups in the East and West Kimberley and in the Pilbara are supporting regional services reform by developing and leading on-the-ground responses to local issues and priorities.
The East Kimberley DLG is now planning another program for the April school holidays and is seeking local volunteers, organisations and businesses to support the event. For more information, contact Victoria Baird at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kununurra Youth and Family Holiday Program was supported by WA Police, Save the Children, Department for Child Protection and Family Support, Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation, East Kimberley Job Pathways, Gawooleng Yawoodeng, Kununurra Community Resource Centre, Regional Youth Justice Services, Department of Sport and Recreation and community volunteers.
Local girls (L-R) Trelainah Moore, Rexaliah Webster, Jaylene Gore, Kiona Chulung and Shaydene Gore were among the hundreds of young people and families who flocked to the Kununurra school holiday program.