On 23 November 2021, 12 projects were recognised for their contribution to the prevention of crime and violence in Australian communities.
Gold award winner
Ngarra Jarranounith Place, Victoria
Ngarra Jarranounith Place which translates to ‘men’s healing place’, offers a 16-week intensive, culturally safe residential healing and behaviour change program for Aboriginal men who use, or are at risk of using, family violence. Ngarra Jarranounith Place clients live independently in a residential property while participating in the program, which provides holistic support for men to strengthen their culture, adopt positive behaviours and nurture healthy relationships. The program provides one-on-one case management, structured group work, volunteering and community engagement, supported by a case worker, Elders and a range of practitioners and professionals. This has resulted in:
- program participants feeling a greater connection to their culture and stronger sense of identity
- improved relationships and an increased responsibility for behaviour and community connection
- a 46 per cent decrease of participants reporting misusing alcohol and other drugs upon program completion.
The report also found that across the programs the rate of incarceration decreased from 13 per cent pre-program to four per cent post-program, and that each avoided case of incarceration represents a saving to government of more than $90,000 per annum.
Silver award winners
Bikelinc, Western Australia
Bikelinc allows bike owners to create a free profile on the Bikelinc website listing their bike’s serial number, personal details and the status of the bike (safe, stolen, lost). Police and community members can check a serial number on Bikelinc to see if it is listed as stolen, then contact the owner to arrange a return. The goal is to reduce bike theft in Australia, reduce demand on police time when dealing with stolen bikes and to generate a community of like-minded people to assist in preventing bike theft. Bikelinc members have their bicycle data in one place, so if their bike gets stolen they can now report fully with the appropriate information. This has resulted in reduced police time and effort in taking the call and logging stolen bike reports. Being able to get the full information about the bike has made the allocation and subsequent enquiry into the report much easier. The program has resulted in approximately 25,800 bikes registered with the Bikelinc system and 52 bikes worth roughly $750,000 have been returned to their owners. This system has been adopted in local areas with Cash Converters using it to check bikes, which has also resulted in criminal arrests and bike returns.
Intensive Bail Supervision program for Domestic and Family Violence, South Australia
South Australia’s Intensive Bail Supervision program for domestic and family violence offenders provides an alternative to custody that also has a benefit of improved victim safety. Intensive Bail Supervision is defined as a bail order that combines supervision with requirements to report to a Community Corrections Officer and the use of Home Detention Electronic Monitoring (EM) with GPS technology. Prior to being placed on an Intensive Bail Supervision order, the Intensive Compliance Unit will assess the nominated residence to ensure suitability for the program.
The primary goal of the program is to maximise the likelihood of offenders returning to their next court appearance and without further offending. The Intensive Bail Supervision program applies the same processes as standard bail supervision (EM) with conditions to be met as determined by the courts, and reporting to Community Corrections as determined by offender risk factors. As at June 2021, close to 1,000 offenders were subject to EM, and more than 600 of those were on Intensive Bail Supervision. The Intensive Bail Supervision program provides greater compliance control, among other benefits.
Don't Let It Be Game Over—Violence Prevention Program, South Australia
Don’t Let It Be Game Over is a violence prevention program that supports coaches, players and parents to tackle on-field and off-field violence in sport. The program involves a presentation delivered by Neil Davis, father of 17-year-old Sam, the victim of a one-punch assault. This is followed by positive role modelling education for parents and club officials, and violence prevention workshops for players. The program has a positive transformative impact in changing attitudes and behaviours towards violence, as evidenced by feedback from a survey of 999 players, 542 parents and club officials who participated in the program. Before the program, 73 per cent of players had previously intentionally hit someone (slapped, punched, pushed etc). After the program, 97 per cent of players were more aware of the consequences of violence on the broader community.
The success of the program, and what makes it so special, is that it looks to sporting clubs as part of the solution to combating violence in the community. Taking a whole-of-club approach to tackling violence means the problem is shared across the leadership of the organisation, the players, their families, and the broader sporting community.
Bronze award winners
Body Safety Superstars, Victoria
Launched in 2015, Body Safety Superstars is a program that empowers and educates children and young people, their families, and professionals on protective behaviours and body safety education. The program lets children learn over two sessions in conjunction with a parent workshop and professional development for educators, teachers and directors. The program works by using age-appropriate song, storytelling, activities and role play in which children learn that their body belongs to them and nobody has the right to touch it without permission.
Professionals build capacity in embedding body safety strategies into their practice while strengthening their confidence in engaging with families and child abuse/neglect intervention services.
The long-term goal of the program is to empower and educate whole communities to prevent, recognise and respond to child sexual abuse. Superstars decreases incidents of childhood abuse by helping children and adults recognise and respond to inappropriate situations. It increases a child’s ability to disclose if they have been subjected to abuse or grooming and increases adults’ confidence in taking action to protect children from further abuse.
Turning Corners, Queensland
Bravehearts created the Turning Corners program to meet the needs of adolescents aged 12–17 who engage in harmful sexual behaviours. Previously, these adolescents did not have access to an early intervention approach and treatment was only available after they came in contact with the criminal justice system. The aim is to reduce the incidence of sexual harm to children from adolescents acting out harmful sexual behaviours.
Turning Corners provides comprehensive, integrated responses and therapeutic intervention to young people, including those with learning/language difficulties, developmental delays, and varying intellectual abilities. Family members and/or carers are included in treatment processes for best outcomes.
The program includes:
- individual specialist counselling
- family counselling/support
- eco-systemic interventions (involving other support systems such as schools and youth justice)
- group work (parent support groups)
- environmental risk assessments
- assessments for external agencies (court reports/assessments)
- training for professionals
Gold award winner
Project Kairos: Queensland Gangs Exit Program, Queensland
The innovative Project Kairos was established by the Queensland Police Service Organised Crime Gangs Group in 2018 to reduce the harm caused to the community by outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs). The project has four pillars: research, prevention, an exit program and equipping the workforce. The project recognises not all organised crime gang members are created equal. Not all gang members are redeemable or want to be redeemed, but many are. An investment in creating favourable moments for action has the possibility of delivering significant benefits to the Queensland community, the individuals and their families and reducing crime and violence.
Project Kairos leads the nation for innovative prevention and intervention strategies to reduce the crime and violence perpetrated by OMCGs. Queensland is the only Australasian jurisdiction with a structured process for OMCG members to declare their disassociation from a gang. Since 2014, 267 former OMCG members have formally disaffiliated. Project Kairos’ foundational research from 2018 and 2020 found leaving an OMCG is a real turning point for an individual. Criminal offending by this cohort reduced significantly, delivering real community benefits through reduced crime.
Silver award winners
Project Walwaay, New South Wales
The Aboriginal Youth Team (AYT) was established by the Orana Mid Western Police District in 2019 to address the over-representation of Dubbo’s Aboriginal youth in the criminal justice system. The first of its kind, Project Walwaay was initiated by a team consisting of three police officers and an Aboriginal community liaison officer. It provides opportunities for at-risk young people to succeed through diversionary programs, education and employment. Walwaay was given the blessing of the local Aboriginal Elders group, who also bestowed the name ‘Walwaay’, which is Wiradjuri for ‘young man’. The AYT coordinates fortnightly meetings with health, education, the Department of Communities and Justice and non-government organisations, sharing information about the youth and planning the actions required to assist them going forward. This is inclusive of any known information that may be the cause of an acute trauma in that youth’s current circumstances. This joined-up approach has resulted in a decrease in school suspensions, better access to essential health and dental services and an overall improvement in medical outcomes for Project Walwaay young people.
Project Vigilance, Tasmania
In May 2017, the Tasmanian state government announced a joint Commonwealth and state funded initiative, named Project Vigilance, to reduce the incidence and effects of family violence in the Tasmanian community. Project Vigilance is an Australian first trial in the electronic monitoring of targeted high-risk family violence perpetrators and the voluntary bilateral monitoring of victims to enhance victim safety and to reduce the incidence and impact of family violence on affected families. Project Vigilance is a trial to evaluate the viability of electronic monitoring of high-risk family violence perpetrators in Tasmania. Presently, it is used as a tool to assist conventional policing methods and is seen as an added measure to enhance the safety of women and children experiencing family violence and to hold perpetrators to account for their behaviour. The project had several expected outcomes, including:
- increased safety of women and children subjected to family violence
- increase in the comfort levels of victims of family violence
- perpetrator accountability
- increased convictions for family violence associated offences
- reduced social and justice related costs.
Bronze award winners
Vehicle Crime Squad: Second-Hand Dealer Inspection and Closure Program, Victoria
In December 2019, numerous second-hand motor vehicle dealers were breaching registration requirements and/or committing serious offences. New legislation was introduced to close these rogue businesses. The Vehicle Crime Squad (VCS) team promoted education, compliance and enforcement. Consultation with stakeholders and the community enhanced relationships. The adaptable approach of proactive inspections put pressure on illegal vehicle operators, reducing the trade in stolen motor vehicles locally and overseas. In 17 months the cohesive and productive investigation team recovered more than 200 vehicles, valued at over $5.5 million, and closed 17 illegal operators, achieving a 12.1 per cent reduction in profit-motivated motor vehicle crime.
The VCS consists of a highly trained and dedicated team of detectives who investigate profit-motivated and organised crime related motor vehicle theft and rebirthing offences. VCS also targets the illicit vehicle export market within the second-hand dealing and scrap metal industry. The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council of Australia has measured profit-motivated export of stolen vehicles as one of its highest risks, totalling up to 40 per cent of unrecovered stolen vehicles.
Tom Price Youth Action Plan, Western Australia
Prior to 2019, Western Australia’s Tom Price Police had no consistent interaction with the local youth. This resulted in a lack of rapport and trust and inevitably led to an increase in youth offending in the Tom Price subdistrict. The 2020–21 Tom Price Youth Action Plan sought to:
- increase police and youth interactions with the aim of building rapport and trust
- leverage rapport and trust to successfully deliver education initiatives
- decrease youth offending through increased interaction, education and positive diversion.
This program involves all officers at Tom Price Police Station and is a group project.
As with any community, Tom Price is impacted by youth offending. Over the five years from 2014 to 2018, 33 per cent of all offences in Tom Price were committed by juveniles. This was slightly higher than the Pilbara district average of 30 per cent over the same time period. Understanding the current patterns and nature of offending allows police to better focus strategies in the 2021 Tom Price Youth Action Plan. Since implementing the 2020 plan, youth offences dropped from 84 in 2019 to 33 in 2020, a 60 per cent decrease in youth offending.
“I live my life without a knife” knife crime prevention campaign, Queensland
Detective Senior Sergeant Ken Murray was the architect of the ‘I live my life… without a knife’ campaign, a cross-agency crime prevention campaign that was implemented in eight suburbs in Queensland’s Logan district in quarter four (1 October to 31 December) 2019.
This campaign was developed due to the consistent increase in knife-related offences in Queensland over the past five years. As knife carriage is the most common form of knife-related offence in Queensland, the campaign focused on raising awareness of knife possession laws and encouraging compliance through education about associated risks and penalties. The long-term goal is to educate and empower young people to make better choices, and reduce knife crime (including knife carriage) in public places. The campaign used key psychological principles of normative and informational social influence to change unsafe practices of knife carrying and reduce the number of community members carrying knives. The expectation was that focusing on possession offences would reduce opportunities for other, more serious forms of knife crime to occur. Through a cross-agency approach, the campaign targeted young people aged 14–24 years due to their over-representation as both victims and offenders in knife-related incidents in the Logan district.
During the campaign period (quarter 4, 2019) there was a 28 percent decrease in knife-related offences in public places compared to the same period in 2018. Furthermore, a 25 percent decrease in knife-related offences in ‘street’ locations was observed across the district, compared to the same period in 2018.