There is currently no state government funding mechanism to support and sustain community crime prevention in Victoria. Given the available evidence shows that preventing youth volence and crime is a good investment, I call on the Victorian state government to set up funding mechanisms to support community crime prevention.
Recent reports have raised concern at rising rates of youth violence in Australia. Research recently completed by my team as part of the large cross-national International Youth Development Study (N=4,000) clarifies rates and determining influences for youth violence. For males in Victoria aged 14-15 in 2003 18% reported at least one episode of violence in the previous year (defined as attacking or beating another). These rates were significantly higher relative to a matched sample from Washington State in the USA (13%). The study revealed many of the influencing factors to be preventable.
Funding communities to prevent youth violence and crime is an excellent but neglected investment in Australia. The Mornington Peninsula Shire have been successfully implementing the Communities That Care crime prevention process, since 2002. Large youth survey reports were completed across the municipality in 2002 and then repeated in 2008. The results show that the community achieved reductions in a number of key risk factors that influence violence including lower alcohol and drug use and family conflict. Given adequate support this community is set to go against the current statewide trend and reduce community rates of youth violence.