We want to do more to prevent crime from happening in the first place. Crime causes physical and emotional harm to victim-survivors, their families and whole communities. For offenders, crime has life-long consequences that can lead to further and more harmful offending.
The Crime Prevention Strategy sets out a clear approach to preventing this harm by intervening early to address the underlying causes of crime, so we can:
- keep Victorians and their communities safe
- avoid the social and economic costs of crime
- support all Victorians to make positive contributions to our communities and fulfill their potential.
Preventing crime requires a whole-of-government and community effort. When people have access to education, employment and sustainable housing, have strong physical and emotional wellbeing and are connected to family and culture, they have a better chance of doing well in life. Access to the right supports and services at the right time is a strong protective factor against offending.
Some individuals and communities experience more risk factors than others, such as disadvantage, discrimination, poverty, homelessness, mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction. Some challenges are unique to specific communities, for example:
- Aboriginal communities experience the ongoing impacts of colonisation, dispossession of land, lore, language and culture, and intergenerational trauma.
- Many migrant and refugee communities continue to feel the effect of trauma, as well as isolation from the broader community, impacting community resilience and social cohesion.
- Young people, particularly those from backgrounds where they have experienced disadvantage or discrimination, may need extra support to reach their potential and feel connected.
- Some places and geographic communities have a greater concentration of risk factors that can lead to offending and require targeted efforts that respond to local issues.
Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of people affected by these challenges and intensified the risk factors associated with offending for many Victorians. We need to intervene early, and work collaboratively across government and community, to ensure that the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 do not become long-term issues or translate into justice system involvement.
To do so, the Victorian Government is investing in a range of social, health and economic supports to assist communities to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. This includes investment in education, employment, housing, mental health and early intervention services, which help to strengthen protective factors against crime and offending.
The Strategy will build on these whole-of-government efforts by investing directly in Victorian communities, who hold the knowledge, skills and experience to design and deliver effective solutions to local issues.
We will measure and evaluate the success of our collective efforts at a community level and across government to identify opportunities for government to strengthen supports, services and data collection across justice, education, employment, and health and wellbeing.
Together, we can help keep Victorian communities safe.
What we heard from community consultation
“We need to break the system and change the outcomes for young people which start in young people feeling unwelcome and excluded.”
“It’s a whole-of-community responsibility... It’s everybody’s business to prevent crime.”
“We have to trust communities to know what they need, focus on their strengths and support them to thrive.”
“There must be holistic interventions across the individual, family and community rather than rigid, siloed…responses.”
“Victorians support efforts on prevention and early intervention when it comes to stopping crime.”