Youths out of control

EIGHT to 10 juvenile offenders, mostly residing in Ngaru Village, are holding the town of Yamba to ransom on the issue of crime, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said yesterday.

Mr Gulaptis said police had informed him that the removal of these career criminals from the system would not only scuttle the need for a 24-hour police station in Yamba, but would help stop younger residents being led astray.

But Mr Gulaptis said he was well aware that the justice system alone could not fix the much larger social problems at the village including substance abuse, truancy, unemployment and poverty.

He said he had met with State Attorney-General Greg Smith and had arranged meetings with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Victor Dominello to discuss program options for Ngaru Village and there had been some exciting suggestions and the prospect of funding.

Plans to demolish up to three "uninhabitable" homes needed to be coupled with a better management system, Mr Gulaptis said, because the current system was not working.

He called for a system which was more interactive with the broader community to overcome the "us and them situation".

Education, mentorship and employment would need to be three pillars of change if any so-called "intervention" was to be effective, he said.

Asked why previous programs had failed, Mr Gulaptis said such programs had "missed their target audience" of children before they were led astray by their older peers.



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