Australia: Youth Koori Court hamstrung by lack of drug rehab programs in Sydney, ice inquiry hears - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Youth Koori Court hamstrung by lack of drug rehab programs in Sydney, ice inquiry hears

12:30  06 october  2019
12:30  06 october  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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“Like drug courts – which have proven to be effective in reducing re-offending – the Youth Koori Court defers sentencing until the factors which He says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often fell into crime because of the lack of social support. “They don't know their parents, they come

Koori Courts have had a slow start in NSW, with Elders saying the program saves lives and should be expanded throughout the state. It has promised additional funding for the program in Sydney , but has postponed acting on recommendations from a state inquiry for regional expansion.

Nancey Murphy et al. sitting at a table: Indigenous elder Joanne Selfe, Children's Court President Peter Johnstone, Magistrate Sue Duncombe and Indigenous elder Pat Field at the ceremonial sitting of the Youth Koori Court in Surry Hills in February.© Kate Geraghty Indigenous elder Joanne Selfe, Children's Court President Peter Johnstone, Magistrate Sue Duncombe and Indigenous elder Pat Field at the ceremonial sitting of the Youth Koori Court in Surry Hills in February.

More than half of young Indigenous offenders currently before the Youth Koori Court in Surry Hills have reported using ice and other amphetamine-style stimulants but drug rehabilitation services are "severely limited" and often located outside of Sydney, the magistrate presiding over the court says.

NSW Children's Court magistrate Sue Duncombe, who heads the Youth Koori Court, told the Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice' that the lack of suitable treatment services for young offenders dealing with substance abuse posed "an impediment to their ultimate success" in programs aimed at tackling the drivers of crime.

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A court program designed to break the cycle of crime for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders is being rolled out to a second location in Sydney . The Youth Koori Court has been operating in Parramatta since 2015 where it sits one day a week.

Effective & affordable addiction treatment at The Cabin Sydney Rehab Centre. The Cabin Sydney is a specialist addiction treatment centre dealing with substance addictions, such as alcohol and drugs , as well as process addictions like gambling, sex and compulsive use of the internet.

The groundbreaking court, which works with young offenders aged between 10 and 17 and brings together a range of participants including Indigenous elders and family to help devise action and support plans implemented over six to 12 months, has been operating once a week at Parramatta since February 2015.

It was expanded to a new site in Surry Hills in February, and there is a push for a third site at Dubbo.

"We don't have in western Sydney any drug rehabilitation service that is a residential rehabilitation service," Ms Duncombe told the inquiry last week. "Every single one of our young people who's elected to go down that path has had to travel."

Most of the rehabilitation programs were located outside of Sydney, including in Coffs Harbour, the ACT and Dubbo. There was one residential treatment program in Randwick.

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The state government has expanded the groundbreaking Youth Koori Court from Parramatta to a second site in Sydney . "By working with our young offenders, the Youth Koori Court program seeks to help young people stay out of trouble by connecting them with support services while also

A Koori Court is a division of the Magistrates' Court in Victoria, Australia, that hears selected case where Indigenous Australians have identified as such and requested the case be transferred to it.

Ms Duncombe said places in residential treatment programs were "severely limited" and "we have an enormous number of kids in western Sydney who would have accessed drug rehabilitation services earlier, and that would have saved victims and the community from crime had they been able to go earlier".

The lack of treatment services close to an Indigenous person's family could prove an insurmountable stumbling block because their family might have no "capacity, financial or otherwise, to travel to see them", she said.

"They feel as though they're being sentenced if you like to a six-month or a three-month absence from family and supporters," Ms Duncombe said.

Based on her own review of case files, Ms Duncombe said more than half or eight of the 13 young Indigenous people currently appearing before the court in Surry Hills had reported using ice or MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

Of the 150 referrals to the Youth Koori Court since its inception, about 35 or just under 25 per cent had reported using ice or ecstasy, or both. But Ms Duncombe said "I would imagine it's much more than 25 per cent" as the figures were based on self-reporting and action plans specifically identifying "problematic" drug use.

The Koori Court aims to divert young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders from prison by tackling the causes of crime.

"In the Youth Koori Court in particular ... generally we are dealing with young children who are the product of intergenerational trauma," Ms Duncombe said. "Their great-grandparents, grandparents, mothers and fathers have all experienced intergenerational trauma and we need as a society to do something significant about that."

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