Aboriginal children and young people are criminalised and incarcerated in horrifying numbers, including in Walgett, a town of ~2500 people with more than 40 police stationed locally. The Dharriwaa Elders Group and others have been raising serious concerns about this for many years.

After three years of careful planning and consultation evidence, Yuwaya Ngarra-li has developed a Youth Diversion Demonstration Model - a holistic, community-led, culturally connected approach to diverting Aboriginal young people from the criminal justice system.  

There are three inter-linked strategies that form the model: working intensively with Aboriginal children and young people including through focused case work and a high school transition program; supporting engagement and leadership by Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, parents and carers; and continuing to influence and ensure accountability around the practices and services of those agencies with responsibility for children and young people in Walgett.

UNSW’s Peta MacGillivray is the Youth Justice Advisor on the model, with a local Youth Advisory Committee centring the voices and perspectives of children and young people.