Cash boost for Youth Junction to help break cycle of crime

The Youth Junction has received a grant from the state government.

By Laura Michell

A program aimed at keeping Brimbank’s youth out of the justice system has received a $200,000 boost from the state government.

The Youth Junction was one of seven groups to recently receive a Youth Crime Prevention Grant from the government.

The Sunshine-based organisation will use the grant to continue its Youth Umbrella Project, which aims to reduce crime among young people aged 10-24 who have had contact with, or are at risk of, being involved with the criminal justice system.

The project partners with a number of organisations including Victoria Police, Chin-Up, WEstjustice and YouthNow.

The Youth Junction chief executive Karen Hart said the Youth Umbrella Project connected young people with services and education and training programs to help break the cycle of crime.

Dr Hart said 210 people accessed the program in its first two years.

It is hoped the $200,000 grant will allow an additional 120 young people to access the program over the next two years.

Dr Hart said project was an early-intervention program, with many young people referred to The Youth Junction by police, courts, youth justice or criminal defence lawyers.

“Brimbank has always had challenges being a low socioeconomic community and one of the first points for call for new arrivals,” she said.

“If you have an area where there is a lack of employment opportunities and intergenerational employment issues you are going to get young people who are going to get into criminal activity.

“There is still a great need among our young people. The Youth Junction has a plan to try and address the need of all young people who present to our service.”

St Albans MP Natalie Suleyman said the grant would help The Youth Junction to empower young people to fulfill their potential.