Call for Action to Stop Aboriginal Youth Crime in Bunbury

Leigh Ritchie, Bunbury Mail, November 9, 2011

More action is needed to address the over representation of aboriginal youth in the criminal justice system and create champions in their families and communities.

The call is from a leading aboriginal agency which has spent 30 years in Bunbury trying to build the self worth and the strength of family units.

“We need action–we have all the research we need,” Goomburrup Aboriginal Corpor-ation manager Georgia Lewis said.

“It makes no sense to do the same thing and expect different results.”

Aboriginals make up less than three per cent of the local population but are over represented in the justice system.

They make up one third of the Bunbury juvenile justice system for repeat offenders or crimes which cannot be mediated.

There are 48 aboriginals in the Bunbury Regional Prison adult population of 335.

“One of the problems we see in the South West is that it is not recognised as a hotspot–most funding goes to the northern territories,” Ms Lewis said.

Ms Lewis said more ideas were needed to be explored to keep aboriginals out of jail.

Imprisonment can create barriers which block a young person’s ability to find employment.

Goomburrup aims to create a strong sense of self and belonging for people who come for assistance.

“Once they know about themselves they can champion that in their families,” Ms Lewis said

South West District Superint-endent Lawrence Panaia said police had a role where multi agency action was needed to intervene where families had become dysfunctional.

Supt Panaia is chairman of the region’s Head of Human Services which includes the Department of Child Protection, Health Department of Housing.

“I believe that the South West community need to work together so indigenous people don’t have a sense of hopelessness,” he said.

“It’s a long term process–education, employment opportunities and building a sense of hope for the community,”

Supt Panaia said the South West aboriginal community worked hard to improve their standing.

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  • Anonymous

    “They are 3% of the population but 33% of juvenile repeat offenders.”

    Better than the blacks in my county was when I was a probation officer, 8 percent black population, about 98 percent black criminals.

  • Jeddermann.

    I would suspect too these offenders have committed offenses more egregious and more violent too. NOT only crimes but WORSE crimes.

    “spent 30 years in Bunbury trying to build the self worth and the strength of family units.”

    If you have been trying for thirty years without success, guess what, maybe don’t try anymore because it is not worth it. It ain’t going to happen.

  • abby rigional

    are aboriginals what we call youths students teens etc here?

  • margaert

    Why don’t the Australians just give the aborigines their money and leave them alone? They got along for 50 thousand years without social workers in far worse physical conditions.

    That is pretty much what we’ve done with the Indians and they seem to get along. What some miss priss academic thinks is too, too dreadful Indians might think is normal and acceptable.

    Each to his own. How about celebrating diversity instead of trying to bring every primitive low 60 IQ in the world up to White middle class standards?

    If this is their culture should we not celebrate it?

  • Anonymous

    Every day theres something about how bad white people are at closing the abo intellect gap that just seems to be getting wider. If these people wanted funding for uni education they can get it with the snap of the fingers. They dont have to work 3 jobs while having race traitors spewing white privilege ideology in there ear every 10 seconds. In the words of the late Kevin Bendover Rudd, “I say sorry”.