Youth Justice Strategy - Working Together . Changing the Story

The Queensland Government is committed to changing the story for Townsville’s young people in the youth justice system and has committed to extra funding and initiatives to help keep the Townsville community safe.

The Townsville initiatives will work to reduce offending, reduce reoffending and address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the youth justice system.

These new and continued initiatives are the second major tranche of the Palaszczuk Government’s youth justice investments, and begin to implement key elements of Queensland’s first Youth Justice Strategy Working Together Changing the Story: Youth Justice Strategy 2019-2023, released in December 2018.

They also reflect recommendations from Townsville’s voice: local solutions to address youth crime, an independent report by Major General (Retd) Stuart Smith AO, commissioned by the Queensland Government.

Improving Outcomes for the Townsville Community
An additional $19.2 million investment over four years will ensure the following initiatives help keep the community safer;

  • The Townsville Community Youth Response (CYR) including:
      o the Specialist High Risk Youth Court
      o the Lighthouse after-hours diversion service
      o a cultural mentoring program
      o Integrated Case Management, and
      o the Burragah Flexi schooling to re-engage Townsville youth in education
  • A new after-hours safe place and diversion services in the Upper Ross area so children
    have a safe place to go at night
  • Establish a new community-based Board to shape community-led responses and support
    the recommendations of Major-General Stuart Smith’s (Ret) report, including facilitating a
    Townsville Youth Development Strategy, and
  • Extra case workers for Townsville Family Wellbeing Services to better support Aboriginal
    and Torres Strait Islander families and young people

Existing initiatives in Townsville will continue
Transition to Success (T2S), a program to provide young people at risk of continued contact
with the youth justice system opportunities to develop the necessary personal and practical
skills to successfully engage in education, training or employment.

Bail support and legal advocacy services giving young people on remand or at risk of
coming into contact with the youth justice system additional support to keep them out of

Community Youth Response paying off for the Townsville community
Townsville’s best response to youth crime is collaborative and community-led. Working
intensively with at-risk youth, young offenders, families and the Townsville Stronger
Communities Action Group, the Community Youth Response program aims to reduce youth
offending and re-offending.

The Community Youth Response includes the Specialist High Risk Youth Court, the
Lighthouse after-hours diversion service, Integrated Case Management, the Burragah
school bridging program and an Indigenous Youth and Family Wellbeing service and
Transition to Success education, training and employment program.

A recent evaluation of the program found:
- Overall number of reported youth offences for 10 to 16 year olds in Townsville has reduced since the Community Youth Response started in February 2017
- A 25% decrease in rates of reoffending among high risk young people accessing Intensive Case Management services
- A 6% decrease in rates of young people reoffending amongst those who accessed Community Youth Response programs in a 6-month period.

For more information about Queensland’s youth justice system visit


23 October 2019