Roebourne ‘shut-shop’ bid to make town safer

Alicia PereraPilbara News

The Roebourne community has taken another step towards making the town safer, particularly for children, by enacting a community-wide curfew for all residents on week nights.

A 9pm “shut-shop” strategy on school nights — part of a push to improve night control under the Balagarni strategies developed last year by community action group 6718 Roebourne — has started in the past few weeks, and for children is being enforced by Roebourne police with the support of local elders, parents and carers.

Child Protection, Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence and Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said the curfew was a community-driven strategy and part of the West Pilbara Trauma and Healing Plan for addressing social disadvantage and trauma in the region.

“One of the priority areas of the plan is a safer community for children, and there are several initiatives being undertaken in this regard, one of which is a 9pm curfew on children being on the streets of Roebourne,” she said.

“And while it’s not legally enforceable by the WA Police, it has their full support: police will work with elders and the community night patrol to ensure that children found to be out after 9pm are supported to get home safely.”

6718 co-leader Roebourne Nellie Connors said the strategy reinforced other safety initiatives the group had under way, including night-time street patrols and improving street lighting, and showed community guidance from elders part of 6718 was having positive results.

Roebourne police Sergeant Jerry Samoa said so far most children had been complying with the curfew, although a “small element” had been avoiding police on night patrols in recent weeks.

He said the curfew could help improve child safety and reduce juvenile crime in the area.

“It’s a crime prevention method because it is mainly juveniles who are involved in the property crime in the community, and it’s also trying to promote some more structure in a child’s life and help them go to school the following morning, because otherwise they are too tired,” he said.

“It’s a safety issue as well, with the kids roaming the street unsupervised, because (children) could be exposed to dangerous traffic situations or people.”

The West Pilbara Plan is a joint whole-of-government and community project informed by local initiatives to close the gap in Roebourne, as well as social issues revealed by the ongoing Pilbara District Police investigation into child sexual abuse in the region.

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