Community-driven solutions are needed

YOUNG people behaving badly can be a hot topic anywhere but over the last couple of months concerns have been raised not just about local young people’s behaviour but also about their wellbeing. 

In today’s front page story West Coast Youth and Community Support chief executive officer Joanne Clark said in addition to community concerns, a visiting magistrate had expressed concerns about the wellbeing of local young people.

The magistrate met with local youth support services in November after noticing a rise in the number of disengaged young people appearing in court.

SA Police data, compiled by Attorney General’s Department’s Office of Crime Statistics and Research last year, showed a state-wide downward trend in youth crime over the last five years.

However, youth crime in 10 to 17-year-olds in Port Lincoln increased from 2015 to 2016.

It can be easy to write off statistics and in this case, shift the responsibility onto parents or schools or young people themselves, but it takes a village to raise a child so perhaps it is time the Port Lincoln community as whole stepped up to the plate.

Young people ending up in court is often the result of a number complex issues they may be faced with at home or in the community.

The wellbeing of local young people is a community issue so it needs a whole-community solution.

It is heartening to see local support services coming together and taking some action to get young people participating in the community.

At the workshops held at Mallee Park late last month, young people asked for more activities and if it is going to make for more engaged and supported young people then the community really has nothing to lose. 

Where the money is going to come from for the activities will no doubt be a sticking point but it is not always about more money, sometimes it is about being smarter with existing funding, and asking young people what they want is a good place to start.

Ms Clark said in today’s story that young people do not operate in isolation either in the positive or negative and she is right.

It is easy to take credit for the good things young people are doing but we should not forget they still need support and it is the community’s responsibility to make sure they have access to it.