A touch football program that works with youth offenders in Logan has seen success in its first trial, with more than half of participants ceasing to offend during and for the four months since the program.
The R.E.A.P (Response Effort Attitude and Participation) the Rewards program engages young people who have been disengaged from education for a considerable period and are engaging in offending behaviour, including several serious repeat youth offenders in the Logan area.
Compared to the four months prior, all but one of the fifteen participants decreased their level of offending during the program and for the four months since – with eight ceasing offending completely, and the remaining six decreasing offending in terms of both severity and volume.
As a result of the program, one participant has obtained employment, and another has been referred to the NRL RISE program.
R.E.A.P the Rewards is one of the first early intervention programs to receive funding under the Queensland Government’s newly formed $4 million Youth Development Partnership Fund.
The Youth Development Partnership Fund is a joint initiative between the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport and the Queensland Police Service.
Funding is provided to approved programs which deliver a transformational positive impact on local communities and their youth, across Queensland locations identified with high youth crime.
The program was trialled as an 8-week model and has been expanded to a 20-week format that involves interactive sessions to teach at-risk youth the fundamentals of touch football and develop decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
It supports the continuation and development of youth diversionary and crime prevention projects that incorporate sports and recreational learning activities to engage at-risk youth and intervene in the cycle of offending.
Community Engagement Acting Superintendent Rob Fleischer said programs such as R.E.A.P the Rewards are crucial in changing the course for young offenders.
“This program allows us to intervene and positively influence young people at a critical period of their development,” Acting Superintendent Fleischer said.
“Positive intervention programs not only help halt young people from continuing down the wrong path but prevents the onset of adult offending, while reducing crime into the future to protect our communities.
“These results from the trial program are extremely promising, and I am looking forward to see the positive impact the program will continue to have for the Logan community.”
Senior Constable Luke Konstantinos said he had seen encouraging changes in the behaviour and interpersonal skills among the young participants.
“Some of these young people when they first started were defensive and reluctant to engage,” Senior Constable Konstantinos said.
“They’re now speaking respectfully, showing manners and have built positive relationships with police officers involved and connections to other support services and programs.”
“It is baby steps, but it’s in the right direction – and we have high hopes that these young people will keep up the good work and contribute to our community.”