Commonwealth boost for disadvantaged young people in Canberra

An early-intervention program will use the proceeds of crime to prevent disengaged young people becoming the adult offenders of tomorrow when it begins in July. Minister for Justice, the Hon. Michael Keenan today announced that Canberra Police Community Youth Club, Inc. (Canberra PCYC) has been awarded $470,000 under Round Two of the Safer Streets Programme 2016-18 for ‘Project Booyah’.

Project Booyah is an established twenty-week program for disadvantaged young people aged 14-17 years developed by the Queensland Child Protection & Investigation Unit, Queensland Police Service and Queensland PCYC. “The prevention of criminal activities and engagement with the youth justice system is a key objective of Project Booyah,” said Canberra PCYC General Manager Stephen Imrie today. “The program has successfully run in Queensland since 2011, and we’re pleased to offer it in Canberra for the benefits it brings to participants.“

Built on an evidence-based framework, Project Booyah incorporates adventure-based learning, social development, skills training, education, mentoring and vocational qualifications. Project Booyah addresses a young person’s disengagement from education and community in order to build resilience and prevent future involvement in antisocial behaviours, substance misuse and crime.

Participants will engage in attaining a Certificate Level Ior II qualification and trade skills that will assist them in their pathway to employment. Data supplied by Queensland PCYC shows that almost 80% of graduates from the program reengaged with education and over 60% gained some form of employment outcome, including work experience. A 2015 evaluation of Project Booyah by Griffith University found that participants were more likely to be regularly attending school or in paid employment after completing the program.

Project Booyah will complement the suite of diversion and youth engagement programs offered by Canberra PCYC, including programs focused on family violence, traffic offenders and at-risk young people.

The Commonwealth Safer Streets Programme redirects assets confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act to support community safety and crime prevention initiatives across Australia.