Sunday, July 20, 2008

Teens face shock laws as therapy in Youth Conduct Orders program

TROUBLED teenagers will have to abide by a night-time curfew, be banned from seeing certain friends and be forced to attend school under a radical new youth policing program.

The $1.4 million trial is an Australian first and will target 14 to 17-year-olds in an attempt to stop wayward teens turning into career criminals.
Previously, problem youths have been given a slap on the wrist by police or sent straight into juvenile detention centres, but this strict new program gives them 12 months to get their act together.
"It is great, some youth hide behind their age but this is a way of making them take responsibility," said Ken Marslew from anti-violence movement Enough Is Enough.

"A lot of kids need a hard approach."
The new Youth Conduct Orders program will roll out in the New England, Campbelltown and Mount Druitt areas before going statewide.
A task force of experts from Education, Police, Juvenile Justice and Health will be appointed to each area and youths will be assigned their own "parole officer" to keep an eye on them.
"If a juvenile on a Youth Conduct Order steps out of line, they risk being sent straight back to court to face the full force of the law," NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos said.
The program will apply to adolescents who are charged with anti-social offences and the 12-month plans will be tailored for each teenager.
Dulwich mum Gail Quirk said the new laws went too far and teens should be allowed some freedoms.
"I know where my son is," she said.

"We are not in pre-war Nazi Germany wearing arm bands. I'd like the streets to be safer but I also think kids should be allowed to have time to themselves."
Her son Nick Quirk, 17, also slammed the laws - but only because he felt they were too soft.
"I think the Government should be harder on kids - bad kids know when they are doing stuff that is wrong and nothing happens," he said, with pal Kurtis Barlow, 15, from Milperra, in full agreement


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