Carnarvon residents and businesses have welcomed the endorsement of a new program which would see the Gascoyne town host a State-first pilot project aimed at reducing youth crime. The Shire of Carnarvon last week voted in favour of rolling out the Intensive Family and Community Intervention Support program to tackle the root causes of anti-social behaviour. Under the Department of Communities-led plan, disengaged youths who repeatedly come to the attention of police will be assessed for the scheme. Instead of bringing formal charges against those deemed suitable for the program, the courts would instead mandate intervention and support programs. It is understood youths who are accused of offences considered to be too serious for the intervention program will be charged and brought before the court. Shire of Carnarvon president Eddie Smith said council would now seek State Government support to deliver the program. “This is a decisive step that has the support of community leaders. It is critical that the State Government urgently responds promptly and in a positive manner and brings this document to life,” he said. Carnarvon woman and former Labor candidate for North West Central Cherie Sibosado was involved in developing the plan, which she described as a “gentle, wraparound” approach to supporting at-risk youth. “We have families in crisis, we have children at risk and we have victims of crime, so are thinking about how can we try and support all of those people and how we can come together as a community to try and resolve this in a way that everyone wins,” she said. “Young people, while they are are centre to the youth crime, they are also voiceless victims of what is going on in their lives.” Ms Sibosado said the plan had so far been well-received by locals. “Community members generally are embracing that the Shire has listened and is prepared to take that lead on this,” she said. “It may attract some controversy because it is new but hopefully people can see the merit in it because it is not intended to be a rigid approach. It is supposed to improve community safety and wellbeing.” Residents took to social media to applaud the program, with one woman encouraging the community to “pull together positively” to help the plan succeed. Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce president Paul Dixon said a fresh approach to tackling youth crime was exactly what the community needed. “What we have been trying for a very long period of time clearly hasn’t had its rewards,” he said. “I give full credit to the Shire for something else.” The State Government has been contacted for comment.