Aboriginal Elders & Mentors Program Launch in Youth Detention Centres
A new Aboriginal Elders and Mentors Program has been launched in the Alice Springs and Darwin youth detention centres.
The Aboriginal Elders and Mentors Program brings strong Aboriginal role models into the youth detention centres to meet the cultural needs of young people while they are in detention and help them to change their behaviour.
Aboriginal young people are overrepresented in the youth justice system in the Territory, with about 98 per cent of young people in detention identified as Aboriginal.
The Elders and Mentors are leaders in their community and/or Aboriginal organisation and the program is guided by their skills and knowledge so it can be tailored to meet the individual needs of young people.
The program provides young people with guidance, increased cultural connection, improved engagement with education and training, reduced negative behaviour and assists to prevent reoffending.
The program is being delivered in collaboration with the North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA).
Elders attend the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre and Don Dale Youth Detention Centre each month while mentors attend fortnightly sessions with the young people.
More than 20 Aboriginal Elders and mentors have joined the program. The program includes:
- Visits by the Grannies Group
- Leadership and development sessions
- Truth-telling and tough conversations
- Support for young people in classrooms
- Culture and family
- Connectedness to country
The Aboriginal Elders and Mentors Program is in addition to Aboriginal cultural activities that are provided as part of the daily program in both youth detention centres.