Invercargill Safer Community Council

  • Tony Ryall
Youth Affairs

Youth Affairs Minister Tony Ryall gave his support to the one-stop-shop concept proposed by Invercargill's Safer Community Council to bring local youth services under one banner.

"The one-stop-shop About Face programme makes a lot of sense and the result will be a safer environment in Invercargill," Mr Ryall said at the meeting with the Invercargill Safer Community Council on Wednesday night.

"About Face will mean better youth services with greater co-ordination of help for young people and their families."

Mr Ryall discussed the Invercargill Safer Community Council's work on environmental planning to make parks and buildings safer places for the public.

"The design of a carpark can make all the difference to how safe a woman feels when walking to her car at night. What the Invercargill Safer Community Council has done is to alert environmental planners to the city's black spots to help make local buildings and parks safer."

Mr Ryall said the teen parenting programme currently under way was delivering good results.

"The teen parenting programme is a first step to getting young mothers and fathers, some as young as 14, back into the education system.

"The programme helps young parents learn important parenting skills and gain their confidence back."

Mr Ryall praised the Invercargill City Council for supporting the Safer Community Council concept.

"Many communities initially resist setting up a Safer Community Council because they fear it's an admission that they have a local crime problem. It's not - it's about making communities safer for us to live in.

"The concept of community-based crime prevention and Safer Community Councils is about finding local solutions to local problems. They provide hands-on solutions and really know how to use their funding to make local communities safer.

"Too often local crime problems are tied up with crime committed by young people and young men in particular.

"Studies show that at least one in four young men commit criminal offences before reaching the age of 25 and almost half of all offenders apprehended by the Police are aged 20 or under. Many of these young men have no male role models to look up to when they are growing up."

Mr Ryall said he was working with the Ministry of Youth Affairs to address the issue of young men at risk and find solutions to youth crime problems in communities around the country.