Queensland’s 54 PCYC's are helping to keep at-risk teens on the straight and narrow.
Queensland’s 54 PCYC's are helping to keep at-risk teens on the straight and narrow. Luka Kauzlaric

PCYCs help keep kids out of jail: research

KEEPING our young people out of jail could be as simple as P. C. Y. C.

An Australian-first study reveals Queensland's 54 Police-Citizens Youth Clubs help prevent crime and ensure at-risk teenagers did not stray from the straight and narrow.

QUT Crime and Justice Research Centre criminologists interviewed 150 people, including 30 young people, who are involved in PCYCs about a range of issues.

The study also examined the differences between metropolitan, regional and remote indigenous community PCYCs.

The researchers found the organisations helped lower risk factors and enhanced protective factors that reduce young people's involvement in crime.

Dr Cassandra Cross said feedback from young people on what they would be doing if their local PCYC closed down gave a good indication of how valued they were by their communities for offering engaging, low-cost activities.

The study participants said without their clubs, they would be "sitting at home doing nothing, achieving nothing", "crying" and "I wouldn't be happy. I'd be like NOOOO come back here".

Dr Cross said the teenage members said programs such as martial arts courses taught the youngsters discipline, respect and non-violence attitudes.

PCYC Queensland chief executive officer Senior Sergeant Rob Fiedler said the organisation was pleased the research backed up anecdotal evidence from parents and teachers on how the organisation changed lives.

"We are kicking goals with our crime prevention initiatives," Snr Sgt Fiedler said.

"Our work also benefits the wider community by averting young people from making poor life choices to become better citizens which consequently reduces the time local police spend on youth crime."