“Over a 200 per cent increase” in alcohol-related youth assault
June was a difficult month for Northern Beaches Police Area Command, as instances of alcohol-related youth assault skyrocketed across the peninsula.
“There was an over a 200 per cent increase in alcohol-related assaults involving juveniles in the month of June,” Superintendent David Darcy tells Peninsula Living.
His account builds upon data recently released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research that shows incidents of alcohol-related assault involving juveniles on the Northern Beaches occurred at a rate of 63.4 per 100,000 population between April 2018 and March 2019.
This is compared with a rate of 35.9 per 100,000 across NSW.
“The reason we’ve gone up in ranking compared to the state is we’ve peaked more than twice as high in incidents this winter than we normally record in the height of summer. We also had the peak in summer that you normally have,” Supt Darcy explains.
“Everyone else in the state is going down and we’ve had our highest month ever in June.”
However, he is keen to point out that while the incidents have risen the number of perpetrators has remained stable.
“We don’t have out of control youth. We have a small group of youth, maximum 200, who create the majority of problems. Most youth in the northern beaches are well behaved and don’t create problems for us at all.”
His words are echoed by Michelle Comito, the coordinator of Catholic Care’s Drug and Alcohol Youth Services (DAYSS) program on the Northern Beaches.
“I think what gets missed in the media is that a larger population of youth on the Northern Beaches are doing the right thing, with many actually going above and beyond to create positive change,” she says.
She adds that the incidents reflect a wider culture of drinking and liberal parenting styles across the Northern Beaches that has been prevalent for many years.
“The youth are part of this long-lasting culture. It’s our role to work with both parents and youth to work out how we can tackle the cycle.”