New Zealand introduces ‘circuit breaker’ to address children reoffending

The New Zealand government will introduce a “circuit-breaker” response aimed at quickly addressing the repeat offending of a small group of children and young people, a Minister announced on Thursday.

The “circuit-breaker” response builds on the government’s Better Pathways package announced in September, which is already having an impact on offending, reports Xinhua news agency.

In August there were 75 ram raids nationwide, while by November 21 this has dropped to 15 so far for the month.

“While the Youth Justice system can act as a circuit-breaker for young people aged 14 to 17, there are a small number of children aged 10 to 13 who continue to reoffend at a high rate,” Minister for Children Kelvin Davis said.

At the moment, when police make an arrest, children often end up placed back in the community with little support and few limitations on their behaviour until a more comprehensive plan is in place, Davis said.

With the new response, however, when a child is identified or apprehended by the police for an offending behaviour, information will be shared with the Ministry for Children within 24 hours, with an agreed plan on how to deal with and support the young person confirmed in 48 hours, he said.

This change will ensure that the children are dealt with and can get any support they need immediately, which helps prevent them from offending again, the minister said.

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said data shows that many of the children and young people who have engaged in offending behaviours are experiencing complex difficulties in their lives, including violence at home and disengagement from education.

Government funds have been allocated to deal with and respond to the needs of such children and young people, as well as those of their families to help change the environment they are living in, Sepuloni said.




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