Mandatory Drug treatment to give families hope and keep communities safe (5.3.2018)
Written on the 5 March 2018
Monday 5 March 2018
Treatment will be delivered in a new $30 million 36-bed secure drug and alcohol treatment facility, which will cost approximately $20 million per year to operate when up and running.This will provide an alternative treatment pathway for young offenders who would otherwise be incarcerated without access to comprehensive drug treatment to assist them in turning their lives around.
In Victoria, the only drug and alcohol treatment available for young people is voluntary. If this treatment fails and offending continues, families are left to watch their children self-destruct in a system where neither the Courts nor families have the power to ensure that children get the treatment they need to address their addiction.
Children's Court Magistrate Jennifer Bowles has developed the model as part of her Churchill Fellowship, and features include:
Young people aged 15-17 who are before the Children's Court are eligibleThey have offending behaviour and/or are at risk of harm to themselves or others as a result of substance abuse
They will be clinically assessed for suitability including if other voluntary treatment options have been unsuccessfulThey will be placed on a Youth Therapeutic Order in a 36-bed purpose-built community with 5 secure and step-down units
Treatment is mandatory and individual treatment plans are developed reflecting an individual young person's needsThe Court will receive a minimum of monthly updates to monitor progress and the order will need to be renewed after 3 months
Average length of stay is expected to be 4-6 months and placement in the secure unit would be for the shortest time possible. It is unlikely young people will require secure units for more than 6 months, and most for much lessTreatment will include initial detox and withdrawal, intensive therapeutic treatment in a secure and then step-down facilities, re-engagement with Education and support transitioning back to the community
If an Order is breached and treatment not completed then all other sanctions are back in considerationIn addition to the Court, independent oversight will be undertaken by the Commission for Children and Young People
All Victorian children are eligible, but it will be run through the Melbourne Children's Court
The current system is clearly not working, 87% of young offenders have a history or drug and/or alcohol abuse and 82% had offended while under the influence.
Only a Liberal Nationals Government will deal with the threat of substance abuse and help young people turn their lives around, even if it means a mandatory secure intervention for those who are caught in the cycle of drug dependence and abuse.
Comments attributed to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:
"This new approach will give affected families hope and it will help make our state safer.
Comments attributed to Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge:
"With drug related youth crime spiralling out of control now is the time to be bold with ideas and solutions to turn things around.
"The current youth justice system is clearly not working so we need to be open to new ways of working to improve the safety of young people, their families and our community as a whole."