Youth crime no worse in Gympie

WHILE the vast majority of young people in Gympie make a positive contribution to the community, it is a sad fact that a small number of young offenders cause great community concern.

The subject of youth crime has been one of much public debate over the past few years and one that has heated up in light of recent incidents in Gympie involving juveniles.

Jaxon Brady, 15, died after being stabbed in the undercover car park of Goldfield's Plaza in November last year, allegedly by a 16-year-old boy.

That same month, three juveniles were charged with the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl and in June this year, two 15-year-old boys faced children's court on charges of burglary, car stealing and possession of a weapon after an alleged crime spree in Gympie.

Under the child protection act, these young offenders cannot be named and the media is generally banned from reporting the outcomes of court matters involving juveniles.

However, in May this year, Community Services Minister Karen Struthers said Queensland courts now had new powers to name serious juvenile offenders and those who did not change their ways would feel the full force of the law.

Gympie Police Senior Sergeant Phil Edwards said youth crime was not a big issue in Gympie but acknowledged increased pressures on families in regard to issues with children conforming to rules and regulations in society.

"One-off situations do occur, there's no doubting that, but it's no different today than what occurred years ago," he said.

"Generally speaking, children in Gympie are as well behaved as anywhere, if not better. Unfortunately a limited few give the rest a bad name."

A one-off youth forum, held in Brisbane this week was prompted by the overwhelming response from Queensland's youth to a recent online survey about alcohol-related violence.

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