Youth crime is the concern of everyone

POLICE have taken the unusual step of issuing a plea to parents to help tackle the problem of youth crime in our region.

Their plea arises from deep concerns about the increase of youth involvement in violent crime, gang-related intimidation, alcohol consumption and theft.

What is behind this teenage drive to run amok?

A street poll carried out by The Northern Star last week resulted in answers that cited the need for better discipline at home and teenagers' general lack of respect.

A reader's letter printed in Saturday's Weekend Star outlined a scenario where her partner, a taxi driver, picked up a 13-year-old who was alone on the streets at midnight and was so drunk she had to be taken to hospital.

The letter writer asked, where were the girl's parents when this was going on?

But is it fair, or even worthwhile, apportioning blame and labelling the parents of

wayward teenagers as irresponsible?

No doubt there are many teenagers from loving, supportive families who run off the rails. Of course, parents need to be responsible and check where their children are going, who they're with and when to expect them home. But if teens disregard their

parents, society needs to offer avenues to help guide youth to adulthood.

The Red Dust Healing program, which has started up recently in our region to assist young Aboriginal people at risk of becoming involved in crime, shows what can be achieved with participants in just four days.

This type of program needs to be more widely available to help teens and parents in need.



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