A safer community

Reducing youth reoffending and illicit drug use in the community
A safer community icon

We all deserve to feel safe in our own homes, at work or when we are out enjoying spending time with families and friends.  Preventing crime and the harm caused by drugs means fewer victims and a better way of life for all Western Australians.  Helping young offenders turn their lives around and reducing the use of illicit drugs in the community will deliver safer communities across Western Australia.

 

Reduce youth reoffending

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Reducing the number of young offenders returning to detention by helping them to turn their lives around supports a safer community for the long term.

What do we want to achieve?

By 2022-23, no more than 50% of young offenders will return to detention within two years of release.

  • Young people who show unlawful behaviour are more likely to be criminally active as adults, partly because they can become further criminalised while in detention.
  • We are focused on tackling reoffending by diverting young people most at risk of re-entering the criminal justice system where appropriate.
  • The factors that increase a young person’s likelihood of offending are complex including substance abuse, domestic violence, poor school attendance and mental health issues.
  • Reaching this target will require agencies working together in areas such as rehabilitation and reintegration, health and mental health services, and community support.

Interpreting the results

The Department of Justice measures the rate at which young people return to sentenced detention within two years of their release. This includes young people who re-enter detention because of a new sentence and those who return to detention because their supervised release order is cancelled or suspended. A young person is counted once, even if they leave and re-enter detention multiple times within the year, or return more than once within two years of release. A young person is defined as under 18 years of age.

The graph shows Department of Justice data from 2007-8 to 2017-18 of the rate of return to detention within 2 years for Western Australian youth in percentage.  The target is shown at 50% in 2022-23.

Current activities

This section provides a snapshot of some of the activities Government is already doing to help achieve this target.

  • Regional Youth Justice Strategy for the Kimberley and Pilbara.
  • Target 120 brings different agencies together to work with young people and their families to reduce reoffending. 
  • Metropolitan and Regional Youth Justice Services work with young people on community orders to reduce reoffending.
  • Department of Education Youth Transition Coordinators work with young people exiting detention to find them suitable education or training placements. 

Election commitments

  • Target 120
  • Supporting Communities 
  • Law Reform Initiatives

Reduce illicit drug use

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We want to reduce the proportion of Western Australians who take illicit drugs to lessen the short and long term harm of drug use to communities and the individual.

What do we want to achieve?

By 2022, the proportion of the Western Australian population who have taken an illicit drug in the last 12 months will be reduced by 15% from 2016 levels.

  • Illicit drug use, particularly methamphetamine use, can have devastating impacts on individuals and communities and be a cause of other criminal behaviour.
  • In 2016, the proportion of the WA population aged 14 years and over who reported taking an illicit drug in the previous 12 months was 1.2% higher than the national average.
  • The rate of methamphetamine use in WA is 2.7% — almost double the national average. 
  • To tackle illicit drug use our focus is on early intervention, prevention and targeted rehabilitation facilities.

Interpreting the results

The data is from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS), the leading survey of licit and illicit drug use in Australia, and is managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The NDSHS is conducted every three years. The most recent survey was conducted in 2016 with results released in 2017. The next survey is due to be conducted in 2019 with results available in 2020 and then 2022 with results available in 2023.

The target for 2022 is a 15% decrease on the proportion of the Western Australian population using illicit drugs in 2016, from 16.8% down to 14.3%.

The term ‘illicit drugs’, covers a wide range of drugs that includes illegal drugs (such as cannabis, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine), prescription pharmaceuticals (such as tranquillisers, sleeping pills, and opioids) used for illicit purposes, and other substances used inappropriately such as inhalants and naturally occurring hallucinogens. The term ‘recent use’ refers to the use of drugs or alcohol within 12 months prior to being surveyed. While the focus is on reducing demand to achieve long-term positive change, the Government will continue initiatives to disrupt supply of illicit drugs, particularly methamphetamine. 

The graph shows Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing’s National Drug Strategy Household survey data of recent illicit use of any drug by Western Australians as a percentage of the population. The data shown is from 2001 to 2016. The target is shown at 2022.

 

Current activities

This section provides a snapshot of some of the activities Government is already doing to help achieve this target.

  • Methamphetamine Action Plan to reduce methamphetamine demand, supply and harm, through coordinated implementation of initiatives across Government.
  • Prevention and information programs such as:
    • Drug Aware campaigns for public education and information on illicit drug use
    • School Drug Education and Road Aware programs to help young people make safer choices in alcohol and other drug-related situations
    • Alcohol and Other Drug Management Plans describe local evidence informed strategies designed to help communities plan and implement community action to reduce drug use and related harm — includes Local Drug Action Groups
    • Peer Education programs supporting peers working with peers to reduce drug use and related harm.
  • Treatment and support programs including:
    • Alcohol and Drug Support Service provides state-wide, confidential, 24/7 telephone counselling, information, referral and support lines for anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use
    • Community Alcohol and Drug Services provide free face-to-face counselling and other treatment for individuals and families across the state impacted by alcohol and other drug issues
    • Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services provide treatment services including inpatient withdrawal and pharmacotherapy programs for substance use
    • Residential Rehabilitation is provided by a number of agencies and allows people to live-in while they complete a program that supports them to deal with their alcohol and other drug use issues
    • Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison — WA’s first Alcohol and other Drug rehabilitation prison for women in custody.
  • A focus on off prescription use of licit drugs, including:
    • Prescription monitoring to assist with identifying inappropriate prescribing and ‘doctor shopping’
    • Project STOP to help prevent pseudoephedrine being used for illegal purposes.
  • Monitoring of illicit drug use including prevalence and harm indicators.
  • Meth Border Force within the WA Police Force to disrupt the supply of methamphetamine.
  • Joint Organised Crime Taskforce and WA Police Force Methamphetamine Enforcement Action Plan to tackle the supply of methamphetamine. 

Election commitments

  • Methamphetamine Action Plan
  • Supporting Communities
  • Drug and Alcohol Education for Schools
  • Royal Perth Hospital - Mental Health Observation Area 
  • Specialised Rehabilitation Centres in the Kimberley and the Southwest
  • Meth Border Force
Page reviewed 22 August 2019