The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) manages the annual Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA) every year, with the Director of the AIC chairing the Selection Board. On 19 October 2017, 11 projects were recognised at an award ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra. The Hon. Michael Keenan, Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism, announced the winners.
ACVPA police-led winners
Enhancing Police Responses to Family Violence Project, Victoria
This project is three year collaboration between law enforcement, a primary health network, forensic mental health and academia that is leading to improved risk assessment and management by police of family violence in Victoria.
By working with police, researchers have been able to use existing data to generate new, evidence-based solutions. The involvement of specialist senior psychologists from the state’s forensic mental health service has allowed for formal and informal training of specialist police. This has had an immediate impact on their understanding of family violence and led to substantially better outcomes for victims of family violence.
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Queensland Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, Queensland
Queensland Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (QFTAC) is a joint Queensland Police Service and Forensic Mental Health Service early intervention initiative, developed to respond to the risk fixated individuals pose to public office holders, the community and themselves. QFTAC is the first service of its kind in Australia or anywhere outside Europe. It provides risk assessment and intervention for fixated persons, many of whom have untreated or undiagnosed mental disorders.
In 2016, the remit of QFTAC expanded to respond to mentally disordered persons in the national security environment who are at risk of committing grievance-fuelled violence.
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Western Australia Government’s response to graffiti vandalism, Western Australia
The State Graffiti Taskforce is the over-arching body that drives the Tough on Graffiti Strategy 2011–2017. The WA Police Graffiti Team implements the projects within the strategy, contributing to a significant reduction of graffiti vandalism across the state.
An independent evaluation found it had achieved a marked and non-displaced reduction in graffiti offences, improvements in offence clear-up rates and a reduction in the number of active offenders. The strategy is easily adaptable to any other area with graffiti problems.
St George Youth Engagement Program, Queensland
The St George Youth Engagement Program is a resilience and personal development program targeted at at-risk youth in St George and the surrounding area. The program engages with at-risk youth to improve self-esteem, create a sense of purpose and generate a learning culture by providing life skills and exercises for personal development. Conducted during school holidays, it is designed to improve self-esteem and to provide pathways for learning for youth, with the intention of improving school attendance and reducing youth crime.
ACVPA community-led winners
BackTrack YouthWorks, New South Wales
BackTrack is a non-government youth organisation working to address risk factors recognised as contributing to juvenile crime, including family dysfunction, disengagement from education, poverty, substance abuse and psychological distress. BackTrack provides youth with diversionary activities, case management, education, training and personal security to interrupt these key risk factors which result in youth coming into contact with the legal system. The BackTrack model has been proven to be effective in multiple NSW communities, with 87 percent of youth who complete the program moving into training or some form of employment, and maintaining positive life relationships.
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Prisoners’ Kids: The Invisible Victims of Crime, South Australia
The Prisoners’ Kids Family Care Team works with children who have a parent in prison and their families. Referrals come from imprisoned parents, school teachers and others. The team comprises qualified and experienced social workers who make home visits and put strengthening factors around the children and their families so they continue to attend school. The team links prisoners’ kids who require more intensive support to community support programs such as counselling and social/recreation programs. The team works with prisoners’ kids to write individual goal plans for their futures and refers them to mentoring camps where they are taught positive values and how to make good choices.
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The NSW Health Education Centre Against Violence, Aboriginal Qualification Pathway, New South Wales
The NSW Health Education Centre Against Violence is a specialised registered training organisation providing training and support in relation to interpersonal violence. Its Aboriginal team delivers a range of community development programs including Strong Aboriginal Women, Strong Aboriginal Men and Weaving the Net, a child protection program.
It also offers two courses nationally accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority:
- Certificate IV Aboriginal Family Health (Family Violence, Sexual Assault & Child Protection); and
- Advanced Diploma in Aboriginal Specialist Trauma Counselling. The Aboriginal Qualification Pathway works to reduce violence in Aboriginal communities by training and retaining a skilled Aboriginal workforce.
Take Kare Safe Spaces and Ambassador Program, New South Wales
The Take Kare Safe Space program operates year round from 10 pm to 4 am on Friday and Saturday nights in the Sydney City CBD, Kings Cross and Darling Harbour. This innovative program saves lives every shift it operates. A ‘sliding door moment’ occurs for all youth who find themselves alone and vulnerable— a fun night out could turn out to be anything but. Our Take Kare Ambassadors have completed over 9,000 hours of volunteering to keep our youth safe through interventions that minimise the risk of physical and sexual assault, theft and injury.
Braking the Cycle, Queensland
Learner Driver Mentor Programs help learner drivers who have difficulty complying with the graduated driver licensing system, which in Queensland requires them to obtain 100 hours of supervised on-road driving experience in order to graduate from their learner licence to their provisional licence. These learners may not have access to an appropriate supervisor or an appropriate vehicle, or they may be unable to afford professional driving lessons. Learner Driver Mentor Programs provide a safe vehicle and pair learner drivers with volunteer mentors who help them to get the required hours of driving experience.
Braking the Cycle provides disadvantaged learner drivers with the opportunity to obtain safe driver education through the support of a volunteer mentor network. Using existing Police Citizen Youth Club (PCYC) infrastructure, the program matches learner drivers and volunteer mentors who use PCYC vehicles to provide safe driver supervision.
Initially Braking the Cycle had a strong focus on driving hours, licences and employment outcomes; however, it quickly became evident that crime prevention and diversion from unlicensed driving was an essential cornerstone of the program. As a result, training safe and competent provisional drivers became one of the program’s core aims.
Neighbourhood Watch Australasia Remote and Vulnerable Communities Project, Queensland—Bronze award winner
Neighbourhood Watch Australasia aims to empower remote community members by working together with local police to share responsibility for addressing local crime and antisocial behaviour. The project was implemented following broad community consultation, and used an engagement model focusing on localised problem solving, education and awareness.
The project also developed Speak Up, a culturally appropriate, highly visual educational resource for members of remote communities to increase awareness of antisocial behaviour and how community members can safely report crime. Confidence, language, distance, culture and understanding of the process are a few of the barriers identified and addressed in this educational resource, which is appropriate for all ages.
Encounter Youth’s Party Safe Education™, South Australia
Encounter Youth’s Party Safe Education™ program equips young Australians from years 9 to 12, parents and community members to prevent and reduce alcohol-related crime in young people. An early intervention crime prevention approach is adopted to educate people about alcohol-fuelled violence, sexual assault, drink driving and antisocial behaviour. Young people are empowered to reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors. Encounter Youth aim to increase the safety of young Australians engaging in celebrations and improve their understanding of social responsibility, thereby reducing risk-taking and offending and making the Australian community safer to live in.