Grant 26/08-09: Developing successful diversionary schemes for youth from remote Aboriginal communities

The proliferation of gangs in the Wadeye community has become a primary focus for outsiders’ interpretation of social issues in the community. These gangs have been defined by their violent and oppositional cultures. This period of research and the research which preceded it, emphasise the complexity of gang cultures and gang dynamics in this community. The report also emphasises that a primary focus on gangs serves to obscure other factors influencing young people’s lives and behaviours. This includes those youth who do not engage in deviant behaviour, who attend school and progress to employment. It also includes youth who engage in non-gang related violent and anti-social behaviour. The report argues that effective service delivery and the development of appropriate diversion activities for young people must recognise the diversity and complexity of the youth experience in the community and recognise and develop their current strengths.