1 May 2018: The Government announced in January 2018 that the Better Public Services programme would not continue in this form. These pages have been archived.
The Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP) is a 10-year plan to reduce crime by children and young people and help those who offend to turn their lives around. One of the justice sector’s key Better Public service (BPS) targets is to reduce youth crime by June 2017.
Since the BPS was introduced in 2012, the youth offending rate has continued to fall and at the end of 2014 it was 38 per cent less than in 2011. We are currently ahead of the BPS target of a 25 per cent reduction by 2017.
Part of the success can be attributed to the introduction of the YCAP, which acknowledges how important it is to intervene with ‘at-risk’ youth early to support them and steer them away from a life of crime. It is known that the earlier in life a person starts offending, the more likely it is that they will re-offend.
To do this, the Plan has three overarching strategies that shape how youth crime is tackled over the next decade:
- Partnering with communities: improves the way government agencies interact with and support communities to prevent youth offending and reoffending
- Reducing escalation: aims to ensure young people are dealt with at the lowest appropriate level of the youth justice system
- Early and sustainable exits: seeks to provide young people who offend with the best intervention at the most appropriate time
The Plan focuses on supporting the youth services, frontline staff, service providers and volunteers that work with youth in their own communities. Around the country, 20 communities have developed or are developing YCAP community action plans that create local solutions for local youth offending problems. The government has also provided $400,000 of one-off grants to fund innovative community-based youth justice initiatives.
While youth crime is going down, initiatives such as these will help address challenges that remain, such as addressing the reasons why the number of young Māori in the youth justice system is disproportionately higher than young non-Māori.