Youth Crime Action Plan

The Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP) aims to reduce crime by children and young people and help those who offend to turn their lives around. 

In particular, it focuses on government agencies working together more closely and partnering with Māori, communities, parents, schools and others to tackle youth crime and the factors that lead to offending. 

YCAP aims to stop problems before they develop, deal with young offenders fairly but firmly when necessary and put systems in place to stop re-offending.

Why is it needed?

We know the earlier young people begin offending, the greater the odds they will re-offend.

Steering young people away from a life of crime – and ensuring they don’t get caught up in the justice system – increases the chance they will reach their full potential.

Youth crime has fallen in recent years, which shows existing initiatives are paying off. But challenges remain, such as making sure we turn young lives around at the earliest opportunity and addressing the fact that young Māori are over-represented in the youth justice system.

YCAP also plays a key role in delivering the Government’s Better Public Services (BPS) target of reducing youth crime by 25 percent by June 2017, and the wider BPS goals of reducing offending and victimisation rates.

Better public services on the State Services Commission website(external link)

How does it address youth crime?

YCAP is centred around:

  • three overarching strategies
  • three key building blocks
  • regularly updated practical actions

The three strategies shape how we tackle youth crime. The three building blocks provide essential leadership, coordination and information to those on the frontline. The practical actions are a ‘to-do list’ of initiatives and milestones that government agencies will refresh regularly over the plan’s 10-year period to keep up the plan’s forward momentum.

YCAP also includes useful ‘best practice’ guidelines for those working with children and young people, and information resources for the public.

YCAP builds on existing initiatives, such as the Children’s Action Plan, Whānau Ora and the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.

Read a summary of the Youth Crime Action Plan [PDF, 1.2 MB] - includes the best practice guidelines

Read the full report of the Youth Crime Action Plan [PDF, 2.8 MB]

YCAP toolkit: resources to help government agencies and communities work well together to address youth crime

Contact us

If you are interested in the Youth Crime Action Plan, you can get in touch with us at