Cook Government to deliver Broome youth safety pilot program

18 January 2024

The Cook Government has taken a major step towards delivering a vital Immediate Response Night Space service for young people in Broome.

  • Key partnership struck to establish a $4 million community-led Immediate Response Night Space (IRNS) service for young people in the Kimberley
  • Service will provide a location for children who are found wandering the streets at night, or who come to the attention of police, knowing they will receive suitable shelter, food and support
  • Provides a comprehensive local approach to improve youth wellbeing and community safety

The Cook Government has taken a major step towards delivering a vital Immediate Response Night Space service for young people in Broome.

An agreement has been signed between the Department of Justice and Aboriginal-led service provider Kullarri Regional Communities Indigenous Corporation (KRCIC) to implement a $4 million pilot program providing a location out of harm's way for at-risk youth who are found in public areas at night.

As well as connecting young people with a responsible adult to keep them safe from harm, the program will offer follow-up holistic care, such as family supports, safety planning and encourage participation in education.

Operating from Thursday to Sunday, police and program staff patrolling Broome streets at night will transport at-risk young people to a responsible adult or the IRNS. 

Night Space has been designed by a committee of local Aboriginal community members and Empowered Young Leaders led by West Kimberley Futures – Empowered Communities (EC West).

Other project partners include the Department of Communities, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Western Australia Police Force, Mental Health Commission and the Shire of Broome.

The two-year IRNS pilot program is part of the Cook Government's $11.8 million commitment for Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy (KJJS) initiatives.

The partnership puts into practice shared decision-making principles outlined in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and demonstrates the Government's commitment

to progress Priority Reforms.

A naming process to establish a title in the traditional Yawuru language will also be carried out.

Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Paul Papalia:

"This Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy initiative seeks to fill a gap in Government and community efforts to keep young people in Broome safe and off the streets at night.

"Night Space will provide a safe location for WA Police and the local community to respond to children who are found wandering the street at night.

"Until now, police would be diverted from other duties as they sought out a responsible adult to take care of an unaccompanied child.

"By addressing the drivers that contribute to the risk of young people engaging in criminal and anti-social behaviours, we can deliver better outcomes for them, improve community safety and reduce pressure on officers.

"The coordinated approach involving local people who know the community will provide immediate assistance, as well as ongoing supports, to young people who currently can't always find a safe place to be."

Comments attributed to Acting Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:

"Keeping children and young people safe is a priority for the Cook Government.

"This $4 million investment will help keep at-risk youth safer, while providing them with access to food, shelter and support from a local service provider.

"By providing a safe location for young people at night, it will be easier to divert at-risk youth from anti-social behaviour and engage them with other wraparound services which aim to improve their future outcomes."

Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:

"The Night Space pilot will be of great benefit to the community.

"Kullarri Regional Communities Indigenous Corporation will provide emergency triaging and support services to young people present on Broome streets at night.

"KRCIC has a strong history supporting Broome residents and this Immediate Response Safe Space will build on the incredible work already being done to support youth in the region."