Queensland trials program to curb youth reoffending 

Published Friday, 12 August, 2022 at 07:00 AM

Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

An internationally respected program that has succeeded in getting high-risk youth offenders to turn their back on crime is set to be trialled on the Gold Coast.

Speaking on the Gold Coast today, Minister for Youth Justice Leanne Linard said the Youth Advocate Program, to be run by Life Without Barriers, had received almost $227,000 in funding through the $1.4 million Community Partnership Innovation Grants initiative. 

Minister Linard said the trial is one of eight projects in the state to be chosen through the grants program, which enables local communities to deliver locally designed solutions that tackle youth crime.

“Individuals, families, and communities all have a critical role to play in preventing and reducing youth crime and local communities are often the first to see a young person begin to disengage,” Ms Linard said.

“We asked the community to share their ideas, expertise and connections so they could create lasting and meaningful changes that would reduce anti-social behaviour and youth crime,” Ms Linard said.

“The Youth Advocate Program is one of eight community-led projects to heed this call, and I’m delighted to know this will be trialled in Australia for the first time.

“It originated in the United States and involves skilled youth advocates working intensively with high-risk youth and their families to create sustained change.”

The Youth Advocate Program has been delivered for over 45 years around the world, including in the United States and Ireland, and has shown to reduce the amount and severity of reoffending, and successfully support young people to achieve their goals.

Ms Linard said the pilot program will start in September and target high-risk repeat offenders aged 10 to 17, who will receive 15 hours of weekly support from an advocate over six to nine months. 

“Young people will be referred via the Gold Coast Youth Justice Service Centre and then matched to a youth advocate,” she said.

“Importantly, it will take an evidence-based approach and ensure supports are wrapped around young people.

“Youth advocates will tailor their approach to meet the current circumstances of individual young people, connecting them with services that are right for them and problem-solve alongside them.

“Life Without Barriers is perfectly suited to operate this program on the Gold Coast, with their extensive experience and knowledge working with and alongside vulnerable youth.”

Life Without Barriers Queensland Performance and Innovation Manager Chris Barlow said the Youth Advocacy Program was a great fit for young people who need help to break bad habits and cycles. 

“We wanted to try something new on the Gold Coast and we are excited to partner with young people, families and our local community members and agencies to implement the program,” he said. 

“This program with its focus on personal goals, mentoring, partnering with families and community has a ‘never give up’ approach, and will meet the needs of young people who need some extra help figuring out how to get the help and support they need to make better choices.

“It is an exciting opportunity to work with the Gold Coast Youth Justice Service Centre to co-identify young people who might benefit from the program. 

“We are also looking forward to working closely with our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Pasifika communities to build young people’s cultural identity, as we know this is so important for sustained success.”

Ms Linard said this year’s State Budget provided funding of $3 million to continue the Community Partnership Innovation Grants program in 2022–23, given the strong interest it received. 


Catherine Baker, Senior Media Advisor, tel: 0498 844 783