Steven has been supported by Taldumande since 2011, when he required crisis accommodation at the age of 15. At the time, he was significantly vulnerable due to a breakdown in his family and had not attended school for a long time. Steve was also engaging in risky behaviours with other kids in similar situations and was hanging around the streets and parks in his local area.
Steven had his first contact with the legal system when he was 14 years old. Although he wasn’t directly involved in the incident, he was required to attend interviews and provide evidence. As a result, the police became familiar with Steven and his ongoing contact with the legal system began.
Steven’s illegal activity often involved minor but frequent offences such as graffiti, possession of graffiti paraphernalia, tagging public property and spray painting. He was also charged for resisting arrest and common assault to a police officer, which occurred when he was running away from police. Steven was also cautioned after being found in possession of marijuana and was ordered to attend a Youth Justice Conference as a result.
Despite the fact that his offences were relatively minor, the time and resources needed to support his legal issues were significant. We provided Steven with a caring and professional Case Worker who attended more than 20 court appearances and often spoke to the court on his behalf. They liaised with legal support services, lawyers, solicitors and barristers to advocate for his rights and make sure he received the support he needed. The Case Workers also turned up to the police station after hours on a number of occasions, when Steven was arrested.
Our Case Workers provided significant support during Steven’s mandatory Youth Justice Conference, which involved ongoing liaison with the youth justice convenor and attending a range of appointments. We also helped Steven complete the tasks set during the conference.
During his ongoing relationship with our Case Workers, it was evident that Steven’s behavioural and emotional responses to trauma were contributing to his criminal behaviour. We began engaging Steven on a therapeutic level and although change was slow and he resisted at times, these problematic behaviours began to decrease.
Steven is now 19 years old and hasn’t had any contact with the juvenile justice or legal system in over a year. He says he doesn’t get a thrill from graffiti anymore, because he feels settled within himself and has other priorities such as working full-time and maintaining his rental property. Although it was challenging and took time, we believe the firm boundaries and therapeutic support from our team has helped Steven take a positive path away from criminal behaviour.