Encouraging progress made on Drivers of Crime

  • Simon Power
  • Pita Sharples
Justice Maori Affairs

The Government’s Drivers of Crime strategy has made significant progress in its first 18 months, Minister of Justice Simon Power and Minister of Māori Affairs Pita Sharples said today.

In December 2009 the Ministers announced that addressing the Drivers of Crime would be a whole-of-government priority to proactively address the underlying causes of crime.

The strategy focuses on four initial work streams, all of which have a particular emphasis on reducing Māori offending and victimisation.

“Drivers of Crime is a long-term initiative, but in its first 18 months progress reports show it’s becoming well-embedded and producing some early results,” Mr Power said.

Dr Sharples said that while progress is promising, challenges remain in engaging hard-to-reach Māori communities.

“We have to increase cross-agency initiatives that partner with Māori communities if we are to reduce the over-representation of Māori as both victims and offenders.”

Examples of progress in each of the four work streams include:

Maternity and early parenting support:

• A strengths-based ‘Needs Assessment and Family Care Planning process’ for WellChild Tamariki Ora Services has been trialled in Porirua and Waikato, and will be rolled out nationwide later this year.

• The Ministry of Education has begun 40 innovative participation projects to engage children and families who do not participate in early childhood education.

• Te Puni Kōkiri’s Kaitoko Whānau initiative has put 50 staff into 32 high-need communities specifically to engage with vulnerable and low-income whanau.

Programmes to address behavioural issues in young children:

• The Ministries of Health and Education are implementing two programmes for addressing behavioural issues – Incredible Years (IY) and the Triple P Positive Parenting Programme.

o By 2014, around 15,000 parents will have participated in the IY programme.

o 372 teachers have completed IY training and 943 are currently undergoing it.

o By next year, 100 primary care practitioners trained in Triple P at three district health boards will be offering parenting support to more than 1,500 families with children aged 3-7 years.

• Since last October, Fresh Start has included more evidence-based activity and mentoring programmes for young offenders and young people at risk of offending.

• The Ministry of Education has placed educational officers in the Manukau and Porirua Youth Courts.

Reducing harm caused by alcohol:

• The Alcohol Reform Bill is being considered by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee. The bill includes measures to reduce the availability of alcohol, particularly to youth, give communities a greater say in licensing decision-making, and enhance industry and personal responsibility.

• Alcohol and drug treatment being imposed as a condition of sentence in 11% (12,271) of all cases in 2010, compared with 6% (5,102) cases in 2006.

• Health and justice sector agencies are improving offenders’ access to assessment and treatment services.

Alternative approaches to managing low-level offenders, and offering pathways out of offending:

• Expanding the use of restorative justice conferences for low-level offenders, with funding increasing by 50 per cent over the next three years. A report by the Ministry of Justice shows that offenders who took part in restorative justice conferences in 2009 had a re-offending rate 20 per cent lower than similar offenders who did not take part.

• Judicially-led Rangatahi Youth Courts operating in six locations.

“The Drivers of Crime strategy is making good progress because of the buy-in from a range of agencies, including Justice, Social Development, Education, Health, Police, Corrections, Justice, and Te Puni Kōkiri, and we thank them for that,” the Ministers said.

The latest Drivers of Crime progress report can be viewed at http://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector/drivers-of-crime/resources