Youth Crime Action Plan

New Zealand is recognised internationally as having a world leading approach to child and youth offending. YCAP builds on the strong foundation set by the 2002 Youth Offending Strategy and the  2010 Fresh Start reforms and initiatives. These are having positive impact, making significant gains in driving youth crime down.

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. It takes a practical approach to support youth justice services, frontline workers, service providers and volunteers.

Government agencies will work together more closely and partner with Māori, communities, parents, schools and others to tackle youth crime and the factors that lead to offending.

YCAP sets out to make a difference to the children and young people behind the statistics. Although a ten-year plan, it sets out 30 actions to be delivered over the next two years. These aim to stop problems before they develop, deal with young offenders fairly but firmly when necessary, and put systems in place to stop re-offending.

YCAP is centred around:

  • three overarching strategies
  • three key building blocks
  • 30 practical actions

Fresh Start

While the current youth justice process works well for the majority of young offenders, there are a group of serious and persistent young offenders who we need to work with more intensively, holding them to account while still giving them the support and interventions that will address the underlying causes of their offending behaviour.

The Children, Young Persons and their Families (Youth Courts Jurisdiction and Orders) Amendment Act took effect on 1 October 2010. These 'Fresh Start' reforms enable us to work more intensively with these young people over a longer period of time. With the help of this more sustained support, they have a better chance of getting their lives on track. The reforms included:

  • tougher, more effective sentences for persistent and serious offenders, including longer residential stays and increased supervision requirements
  • new powers for the Youth Court to order parenting, mentoring and drug and alcohol programmes
  • widened jurisdiction of the Youth Court, to include 12 and 13 year olds who commit serious offences

Fresh Start initiatives included a range of initiatives, including early intervention programmes.

  • expanding our supervision with activity programmes, by increasing the number placements and providers to improve nationwide coverage
  • increasing our investment in programmes delivered by NGOs that provide mentoring, parenting and drug and alcohol treatment
  • extending our supported bail initiative, increasing its reach across New Zealand
  • working with the New Zealand Defence Force to deliver a military-style activity camp (MAC) programme
  • improving the assessment and early identification of high-risk offenders
  • introducing electronic monitoring of curfew conditions as part of the new intensive supervision order, targeting repeat offenders and those who breach their community-based orders
  • intensifying the supervision we provide to young people by increasing the numbers of frontline youth justice staff.