THE Queensland Government has announced plans to roll out a new Sexting and Cyber Bullying education and counselling program on the Gold Coast.
The program will be run in partnership with Bond University’s Psychology Clinic and see young offenders be referred to provisionally registered psychologists.
The referral will often be made through the Restorative Justice process which brings offenders and victims together to help them understand the consequences of their offending behaviour.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath made the announcement on Thursday.
She said the government was committed to educating young people about the devastating and lasting effects that sexting and cyber bullying can have on individuals.
“This program is about educating young people who engage in this behaviour that it can have distressing and fatal consequences,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“Often the perpetrator isn’t completely aware of the potential consequence that a short text or photo can have on people.
“We need to make sure those who engage in such behaviour are aware they can be charged with criminal offences but more importantly be aware of the impact it can have on others.
“We have seen some young people take drastic measures when they have been affected so it’s important that young people are aware and educated in this space” Mrs D’Ath said.
Youth Justice has developed a strong working relationship with Bond University with a number of provisionally registered psychologists completing their internship through the Gold Coast Youth Justice Service Centre.
Manager of the Gold Coast Youth Justice Service Centre, Maureen Dunn, said the relationship with Bond University was collaborative and very positive.
“It has been such a great working relationship from the start being able to rely on their professionalism in the area but also ensure we are providing the best possible programs and services to young people who engage in this type of behaviour,” Ms Dunn said.
The program is still in its early developmental stages.