Multi Agency Support Team – A qualitative evaluation of a crime prevention program supporting young people and their families
Dr Marg Camilleri1
1Federation University, Ballarat, Australia
Early engagement of children or young people with the criminal justice system is considered an indicator of future offending into adulthood. Various efforts by governments and communities alike have been part of the crime prevention landscape for decades, with varied levels of success at interrupting the offending trajectories of young people.
This presentation will focus on the outcomes of a small qualitative evaluation of the Multi-Agency Support Team (MAST) part of the Youth Crime Prevention Program and one of eight local crime prevention projects funded since 2017 by Victorian Government crime prevention grants.
Qualitative data was gathered primarily through interviews with parents, young people and lead workers from several agencies. There were a variety of ethical and logistical challenges associated with this research, due to the vulnerability of the cohort and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings from the evaluation confirmed the importance of the MAST program as occupying a unique space in the community and identified areas where the program could be enhanced. The findings also provide insights through the lived experiences of parents, as a result of their participation in the MAST program, to feel empowered and to rediscover a sense of agency in supporting their son or daughter.
Marg has 20 years of professional experience in a range of community, government, and tertiary education settings, where her roles have included policy, research and advocacy. Marg commenced her academic career in 2014, her research areas of interest include: access to justice for victim survivors of sexual assault and family violence; victimisation and justice system response to crime victims with disabilities, rural criminology and improving system responses to marginalised groups.