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2009 Australian Crime & Violence Prevention Awards

The annual Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards are sponsored by the heads of Australian governments and the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management—Police as a joint Australian Government, state and territory initiative. They include monetary awards totalling up to $130,000 and are presented to a number of categories, including national winners and meritorious police projects.

The awards reward good practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crimes in Australia, to encourage public initiatives and to assist governments in identifying and developing practical projects that will reduce violence and other types of crime in the community. Projects may address specific groups such as rural and remote communities, women, children, youth or the family, or specific problems such as alcohol-related violence. An award may also be available for initiatives of great merit or for outstanding projects that have recently ceased operation.

The winners were announced by the Hon. Brendan O'Connor, Minister for Home Affairs on Thursday 29 October 2009 at Parliament House, Canberra.

ACVPA national winners

Eight projects received national awards

The Weld to Life Program (Western Australia)

Award: $15,000 and National Certificate

The Weld to Life Program is an intervention strategy designed by Senior Constable Tim Ellis of Rockingham Police and Citizens Youth Club for young people who have committed an offence or are at risk of offending. The program aims to reduce offending behaviour among youth residing in the Rockingham/Kwinana area through an intensive work-ready training program.

The program teaches valuable skills through hands-on activity, mentoring and structured education, providing an opportunity to experience a career in the metals trade. It is an accredited training program and participants achieve two TAFE certificates—Cert 1 Metals and Engineering and Cert 1 Wider Opportunities for Work (WOW), as well as a St Johns Ambulance Certificate in Senior First Aid.

Participants are repeat offenders who have been referred to the program by their schools, parents, the Department for Child Protection, Juvenile Justice Team or the courts.

It all Starts at Home (Victoria)

Award: $15,000 and National Certificate

The It All Starts At Home project was funded through the Commonwealth Office for Women and delivered in the southern metropolitan region of Victoria. The project's long term goal is to prevent adolescent violence in the home through awareness raising and capacity building. Project components include:

  • group work with parents of abusive adolescents
  • capacity building for parents and service providers
  • comprehensive resource development
  • targeted research.

Project outcomes include:

  • a significant increase in community awareness
  • parental skill development
  • organisational capacity building
  • building a substantial knowledge base around the issue.

Our research report informed the recommendations of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children. Early intervention and prevention approaches influence long-term behaviour for adolescent males in breaking the cycle of inter-familial violence.

Time for Kids Placement Program (South Australia)

Award: $10,000 and National Certificate

Time For Kids provides regular respite care for disadvantaged children in South Australia by placing them with volunteer carers on a part-time basis. To date, 4,500 children have been linked with families.

Outcomes:

  • provide vulnerable children with positive childhood experiences, acceptance, respect, care, positive role models and a break from stressful home life
  • trained supportive carers assist children throughout their childhood and beyond to prevent at-risk children from becoming involved in offending, homelessness or dropping out of the education system
  • strengthen resources and skills of primary families and guardians
  • ensure volunteers have the skills and resources to provide excellent quality care for the children matched with them
  • in 49 years, no child has been involved in the SA juvenile justice system while in the care program.

Promoting Peace in Families (Victoria)

Award: $10,000 and National Certificate

Promoting Peace in Families is an innovative partnership involving government, the public health sector and faith leaders that reflects a new frontier in family violence prevention, with excellent results.

Police intervention statistics in Casey are the highest in Victoria. As a result, the Attorney-General's National Community Crime Prevention Program supported a project that educated 128 senior ministry leaders to identify, respond and prevent family violence.

Key strategies were to raise awareness in, and increase skills of, leaders to intervene effectively with victims and perpetrators, to educate congregations and the broader community about unacceptable behaviours and healthy relationships and in doing so, create a sustainable best-practice model that could be replicated elsewhere.

In establishing a supportive environment, victims and perpetrators came forward in unprecedented numbers and a new service system developed.

Unanticipated outcomes include the depth of inter-faith and secular/non-secular partnerships, the extent of attitudinal shift and community commitment to continue beyond the project.

Under the Limit: Drink Driving Education and Rehabilitation Program (Queensland)

Award: $10,000 and National Certificate

Under the Limit (UTL) is an 11 week drink driving prevention and rehabilitation program offered at the time of sentencing in association with a probation order through Queensland magistrates courts. The program aims to rehabilitate drink driving offenders and reduce alcohol-related crashes and trauma, as well as the offence of drink driving. UTL is delivered through TAFE, with facilitators from the community trained and supervised by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety—Queensland. Program costs are met by offenders and probation/parole officers supervise attendance, worksheets and accompanying behavioural criteria.

Failure to meet attendance criteria is considered a breach of the order and the offender is returned to court. To date, over 8,500 offenders have been referred. If successfully completed, UTL has been shown to decrease (by 55%) subsequent drink driving behaviour in the subset of offenders considered more serious and who have multiple drink driving offences and high blood alcohol concentrations.

Fitzroy Crossing Liquor Restriction Enforcement—Kartiya Future, Brighter Future (Western Australia)

Award: $10,000 and National Certificate

In September 2007, the Marinwarntikura Fitzroy Women's Resource and Legal Centre initiated the Fitzroy Valley Alcohol and Drug Management Committee. The project is enforced by Western Australia Police who work closely with locals and are supported largely by the local elders.

Signage at Fitzroy Crossing advises visitors and locals that the area is a Restricted Alcohol Town, through this initiative and the management of alcohol consumption, there has been a remarkable reduction in domestic violence reported to local police as compared to the same period the previous year.

The project provides a different way of life for the Fitzroy Crossing townspeople who are now beginning to develop their community, because for the first time they can visualise a future for themselves and their families.

Strike Force Piccadilly (New South Wales)

Award: National Police Award and National Certificate

Commencing in August 2005, Strike Force Piccadilly is a NSW Police initiative that addresses the upsurge in ramraids on ATMs. The project involves a partnership between NSW Police and private sector stakeholders. The partnership operates through consultation, cooperative research, information sharing and commitment to implementing preventive measures.

The initiatives are:

  • a police priority alarm system, ensuring rapid police response
  • application of proven prevention measures including anti-ramming devices
  • development of a risk assessment tool
  • emailed intelligence reports on all attempted ramraids, with preventive implications.

As a result, ATM ramraids in New South Wales have decreased. Offences were reduced from 69 in the 12 months prior to intervention, to 19 in the final 12 months of the intervention period (to April 2008). For the same period, successful raids were reduced from 30 down to one, with no successful ATM ramraids occurring since September 2007.

Frankston Police, Mission Australia & Community Youth Assist Program (Victoria)

Award: National Police Award and National Certificate

The Youth Assistance Program (YAP) is an early intervention initiative that capitalises on synergies delivered through youth support agencies. It works collaboratively with local police in identifying and supporting young people who are at risk of offending, who display antisocial behaviour or who are in situations of social and/or economic disadvantage.

The action plans developed through the YAP are tailored to the individual needs of each participant and the resultant interventions draw upon the expertise of skilled and caring specialists. The success of the YAP is attributed to the principles of mutual responsibility, respect and the belief that positive leaders build strong and resilient communities.