2nd of June 2020

Reported in the Herald Sun 2/6/20 that Victoria’s Sentencing Advisory Council wants more significant consideration to trauma suffered by young people in the sentencing structure, as well as a focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Notably absent in their reported recommendations is the safety of the community.

Putting rationalisations before a court to justify bad behaviour of a child is counter-intuitive. It simple reinforces in the child’s mind that they can re-offend again because of their circumstance.

This approach proposed by the Advisory Council falls into the category of a mother I recently saw in a supermarket with a very young toddler rationalising misbehaviour as a method of control. Understandably, the two-year-old had a glazed look and continued misbehaving unabated. The mother just didn’t get it; the child did not understand the message. Missing was the consequences of the behaviour that the child understood.

If parents, and in this case, the legal system do not know how to achieve behavioural changes then get them replaced with somebody that does, I lament the supermarket child’s future.

As a general rule children grow up knowing right from wrong. The concept developed in early childhood where they learn that if they undertake certain behaviours, then there will be consequences. To avoid adverse consequences, they learn good and safe behaviour. No child is born bad; it is a learnt behaviour.

One of the most ridiculous examples of inept management of young people was when Youth Detention centres were faced with what were called riots, but in fact, it was children acting out to achieve an outcome they desired. Instead of consequences, they were rewarded for their bad behaviour with Pizza’s and authorities wondered why bad behaviour persisted with inmates.go soft on thugs picture


– Bad behaviour = Pizza = more bad behaviour.

If the Advisory Council wants change to address the problem of delinquency in young people, and the adverse impact this has on their lives and future, then start addressing the issue before it manifests rather than trying to repair a broken child.

Make every effort to ensure they are not broken in the first place, or if they are subject to risk, equip them to better deal with the risks – it is also cheaper.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) has long advocated changing the current approach of focusing on the problems after they emerge, to one where the potential problems are addressed before they become evident.

We are not just flapping our gums; we are actually doing something positive.

On hold, because of the COVID issue, the Police Veterans In Schools Program is set to be restarted into as many Primary Schools that our resources will permit. Aimed at the eight to ten-year-olds, we plan to influence them before peer pressure takes over and provide them with tools to cope better with life’s hazards.

We are extremely heartened by the comments by Police Deputy Commissioner Patton who will become the next Chief Commissioner who has already flagged the future emphasis of proactive Policing, which encompasses the sorts of strategies to which we have been referring.

We would hope that the Government in considering the Advisory Councils recommendations at least allow Patton an opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of Pro-Active Policing – they might be pleasantly surprised at the result on the cohort that concerns the Council.

Unfortunately, many professionals adjudge that working with the younger children is child’s play and below their professional status; they are much better suited to working with an older cohort who have the problems.

The problem with this un-educated approach is that they have little to minimal impact on the problem cohort, and any form of success is extremely rare and is an inefficient use of resources.