Family Safety Services is an NGO that delivers ‘Living without Violence’ programs to men, women and youths in Hauraki and Coromandel districts says Rex Simpson, Manager of Family Safety Services.
He made an approach to the council to run a piolet program in the district in association with the police to intervene with youths aged between 14-24 who have been arrested for a low-level, alcohol, drug and violence related offence, which, depending on circumstances would not necessarily require a court appearance after reading about the effectiveness of a similar program initiated by the Tauranga City council as part of their safer cities campaign.
Over a twelve month period there were 180 times the police were called to situations involving young people between the age of 17 and 26. Of those 78 were random acts of violence involving young people and half involved alcohol.
Over the same period there were 48 cases of bully and intimidation by young people between the age of 14 and 17.
Hauraki District Mayor John Tregida said that the council wants to achieve a safe and healthy community through creating towns in the district that are not only safe but perceived by people as being safe.
“The Council supports wellbeing and safety by actively promoting law enforcement partnerships and positive ways of reducing crime to enhance the feeling of safety and acknowledges it’s important that young people live in a safe and supportive community,” he said.
As part of a Hauraki Crime Prevention strategy to identify and implement initiatives working towards preventing and reducing crime, the HDC allocated $5,000 to help fund an anti-violence, Screen and Brief Intervention (SBI) pilot.
In 2001 the New Zealand Government established the Crime Reduction Strategy (CRS) as an across government strategy for preventing and reducing crime. The priority areas are Family violence and child abuse, community violence and sexual violence, burglary, organized crime, serious traffic offending and Youth offending and reoffending. Local MP Scott Simpson says the collaboration between the police, local authority and Family Safety Services is a positive thing.
He says that it is important to look at the patterns behind the violence rather than focusing on individual incidents and that the proposed intervention program will encourage young people to get help to make a positive change by understanding where their violent behaviour stems from.