The Victorian State Labor Government has announced a $199,062 grant for Sunraysia Community Health Services to help the Mildura community tackle youth crime and repeat offending.

The Mildura Youth Commitment Program is one of 18 projects across Victoria to share in $7.6 million of funding from the Youth Crime Prevention Grants program.

The Mildura Youth Commitment Program project will involve young people who have already had contact with the justice system and work to help prevent them from reoffending through early intervention and diversion programs.

The innovative program will provide intensive, wrap-around case management support for 10 at risk young people aged between 10 and 14 years and their families. 

Young people will be referred on a voluntary basis and include both Koori and non-Aboriginal youth who have been identified as serious and recidivist offenders, to create a pathway away from offending.

An Inter Agency Commitment Panel will also be formed to enhance service coordination.

The project, led by Sunraysia Community Health Services in conjunction with community partners, will tailor support to the needs of the participants, covering strategies relating to achieving change, education, health and wellbeing, supporting families and parenting and community engagement.

The project will work with a number of partners, including Victorian Legal Aid (providing specialist legal advice), La Trobe University (leading the evaluation of the program) and Northern Mallee Community Partnership organisations.

The Youth Crime Prevention Grants are part of the government’s ongoing work to address the underlying causes of youth crime and repeat offending.

The grants provide funding for community-led projects that work with young people aged between 10 and 24.

The government has also funded 42 additional police Youth Resource Officers to work in local communities and divert young people from a life of crime.

The additional staff are part of the government’s record $2 billion Community Safety Statement, which includes thousands more police, new powers, equipment and additional measures to hold young offenders to account.

Minister for Police Lisa Neville said Labor is proud to be supporting these community-based programs, given the difference they can make to young people and their communities.

Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp said Having intensive support in the Mildura community means at-risk young people won’t turn to a life of crime.

“Getting young people involved in their community, making them feel supported and helping them find education or employment is an important part of tackling youth crime.”

“This type of project can be life-changing and help give young people a fresh start and the best chance to succeed,”  he said.