Juveniles appearing at court will soon be offered a complimentary breakfast as part of a trial program to help feed hungry children who often go days without food.
The Court Breakfast Program was proposed by the Hello Initiative charity and was this week approved by the Perth Children’s Court.
Hello Initiative Co-founder Ashleigh Small said hunger is a real issue for those going through the criminal justice system.
“Young people that become engaged in the justice system, not always, but very often come from low socio-economic backgrounds,” Miss Small said.
“These young people are often turning up to court not having breakfast or a decent meal for a few days.”
The project aims to improve the concentration of young people during their appointment and act as an incentive to attend their scheduled court date.
Perth’s Children’s Court president Judge Hylton Quail acknowledged that being well-fed would enable children to interact with the court process better.
“Many of the young people who face the Children’s Court have had a difficult upbringing and find the court process daunting and unfamiliar,” Mr Judge Quail said.
“In order to help a young person understand, concentrate and engage with the juvenile justice system, which will ultimately assist with their rehabilitation, it is important that they are not distracted or stressed when appearing in court.”
“Making sure that they do not attend court without breakfast will help facilitate this.”
This will be the first time the Perth Children’s Court has offered a food relief program.
The program is set to be delivered collaboratively with volunteers and staff from the court but is not expected to disrupt normal court activities.
Hello Initiative successfully runs a few other programs, independently of government, including their mobile support program, which provides young adults in the system with mobile phones.
Its overall mission is to improve the outcome for young people involved in the WA criminal justice system.
It is currently looking for sponsors for their Court Breakfast Program and will commence their 6-month trial once funding has been secured.