We are helping young people avoid becoming caught up in the criminal justice system by:

  • better supporting them on their way to adulthood
  • addressing the drivers of youth crime.

This is being achieved through:

  • early intervention initiatives
  • evidence-based programs
  • increasing access to education, training, employment, housing and sport.

Read more about how this is being achieved through:

The Townsville Stronger Communities initiative

In September 2016, Queensland Government established the Townsville Stronger Communities initiative to get young people back on track to lead more productive lives.

It aims to break the cycle of crime through a whole-of-government, whole-of-community and whole-of-family approach.

Initiatives to target youth offending in Townsville

Early Action Group

The Townsville Early Action Group coordinates multi-agency case management for children aged 8–16 years who are at moderate/high risk of future offending and their families. It provides early intervention responses that address the complex cultural, social, and economic factors contributing to young people's offending behaviour.

Multi-agency collaboration panels

These panels are aimed specifically at reducing and preventing re-offending by young people who are already in the youth justice system. A young person's case may be presented to a panel, which can include representatives from police, child safety, youth justice, health, education, housing and non-government stakeholders. The panels address systemic challenges and barriers to stop young people offending and keep the community safe

Townsville Youth Court

Young repeat offenders appear before the same magistrate who can tailor court orders to respond to the individual's specific family circumstances. The magistrate will also apply penalties that fit the crime. Sentencing options that ensure children are giving back to the community are prioritised. Magistrates can also order children to participate in education and training.

Fast track sentencing trial

The trial is occurring in a number of communities across Queensland, including Townsville. The purpose of the trial is to identify and address the causes of court delays so matters can be finalised as quickly as possible.

Townsville Community Youth Response and Diversion

This includes the following components:

  • After-hours safe place: The Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services (TAIHS) Lighthouse and Upper Ross After Hours Diversion Services provide additional after-hours supervision and support for young people at risk of offending.
  • Intensive case management: This is delivered by Youth Justice to young people at high risk of reoffending. Each intensive case manager has contact with the young person and their family multiple times each week to address the issues underlying their offending. Intensive case management involves extensive coordination and partnership with other agencies involved with the young person and family, to ensure there is a unified and coordinated plan for each individual young person.
  • Education—The Burragah bridging school: Delivers a flexi-school program to children who don't fit into mainstream education. The program focuses on improving literacy and numeracy skills and gets disengaged kids back into education to reduce their risk of offending.
  • Cultural mentoring: We are assisting Elders to connect young First Nations offenders and at-risk teens to their culture and to act as positive role models.

Co-responder teams

Youth co-responder teams are highly visible, dedicated teams of police and youth justice professionals working together in specially marked cars. They engage with young people who are at risk of offending or on bail. Through the teams, young people and their families and carers can be linked to other organisations to get the help they need with issues such as health, education and housing. Most Youth Co-responder Teams operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Intensive bail support

Delivered by non-government organisations, this program is aimed at high-risk young people on bail and their families. The program provides intensive support and practical assistance to aid young people's compliance with bail.

Bail support services

Delivered by community organisations in Townsville, these services support lower-risk young people on bail to meet their bail conditions.

Community service

A court can order a child found guilty of an offence to do unpaid work in the community for a certain number of hours. The Queensland Government organises for the work to take place with local charities and not-for-profit services.

Change-orientated intervention programs

Offence-focused programs are in place to change negative behaviour such as anger and aggression and anti-social habits. These skills-based programs, designed for young people, use a cognitive behavioural therapy approach. They offer practical tools to support casework with young people who are involved with youth justice. They are used by youth justice staff as part of their casework intervention with individual clients or, where appropriate, with small groups of 2 to 3 clients. Caseworkers will help the young person use the skills they've learned (such as problem-solving, consequential thinking and effective coping strategies) to maintain behaviour changes and prevent relapse.

Restorative justice conferencing

This is a structured meeting between a victim of crime and the young person responsible for the offending behaviour. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the harm that has been caused and to work out an agreement for how the young person can make amends for their actions. The young person is legally required to fulfil the agreement and is monitored to ensure this happens.

Electronic monitoring

GPS smart tags may be fitted to suitable young people as a component of their bail conditions as part of an electronic monitoring trial in multiple locations around Queensland, including Townsville.

Framing the Future (Booyah)

This program provides mentoring and support to Project Booyah graduates for up to 6 months after completion. This better connects at-risk young people with further education and training and creates alternative pathways and opportunities to empower them to change their story and live better lives.

Rethinking our Attitudes to Driving (ROAD)

This program seeks to reduce the risk of children stealing cars and help them understand the consequences of joyriding in motor vehicles. The program is delivered by Youth Justice and:

  • is an evidence-informed, change-oriented group program
  • is designed to reduce motor vehicle related reoffending
  • encourages young people to explore thoughts, feelings, and behaviours about their motor-vehicle offending and the impact on victims, themselves, their family, and the community
  • develops the young person's awareness of the consequences of unsafe motor vehicle behaviours and builds on concepts of victim empathy, understanding emotions, and the connections between thoughts and actions.

On Country

This program provides culture-based rehabilitation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with complex needs. Courts, police or youth workers can refer young people to the program to receive support and supervision by On Country Elders and community leaders, who facilitate connection with culture and country.

Transition to Success (T2S)

The Transition to Success (T2S) program uses a vocational training and therapeutic service model to change the story for young people and their community. Its primary goal is to prevent young people from re-offending and returning to, the criminal justice system. It offers young people aged 15 years and over skills, training and support to enter the workforce or continue their education through partnerships with schools, not-for-profit organisations, registered training organisations and local businesses.

The Street University

The Street University provides a safe space for young people to engage in vocational and education workshops, drug and alcohol treatment services, life skills training and mentoring with pathways to further education. The Street University is open 7 days a week and into the evening. Operated by the Noffs Foundation, The Street University in Townsville:

  • supports young people aged 12–25 with issues related to substance use, crime and mental health
  • provides counselling and diversion programs and support to young people to make positive life choices.


The program is focused on addressing anti-social and offending behaviour, with the aim of preventing subsequent offending. The program includes goal setting, mentoring, cultural engagement and post-program support.

Related links

Last updated 18 June 2024

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)