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2015 Australian Crime & Violence Prevention Awards

 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards

To be announced by
The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice
Tuesday 1 December 2015.

Photos from the award ceremony are available on flickr:

ACVPA board

  • Mr Chris Dawson APM (Chair), Commonwealth Government
  • Mr Andrew McIntosh, Australian Capital Territory
  • Chief Superintendent Bradley Shepherd, New South Wales
  • Superintendent Mark Christopher, Northern Territory
  • Superintendent Matthew Vanderbyl, Queensland
  • Senior Sergeant Joanne Howard, South Australia
  • Inspector Kathy Bennett, Tasmania
  • Inspector Zorka Dunstan, Victoria
  • Superintendent Mark Gilbert Western Australia

ACVPA national winners

Three projects received national awards

The Mornington Island Restorative Justice Project (MIRJ), Queensland

Award: National Certificate of Merit

Funded by the DPMC and administered by the QLD DJAG, the MIRJ Project was developed in 2008–09 and operated collaboratively with elders from 2009–2011. Transition to full local management by Junkuri Laka was finalised in February 2012. Junkuri Laka now provides mediation for individual and extended family disputes and workplace disputes, and diversionary victim-offender mediation. It also prevents conflict by facilitating family meetings on a range of contentious and personal issues.

Project objectives include: enhancing the community’s capacity to manage their own disputes without violence; diverting offenders from contact with the formal criminal justice system; and increasing satisfaction with the justice system for victims, offenders, their families and the broader community. The long-term aim is to achieve full community management and mediation as a self-sustaining practice on the Island.

Gununa has a population of 1,200 residents. MIRJ provides mediation services to those who need assistance to resolve their conflicts. Elders conduct mediation in partnership with the CEO/Mediation Coordinator. A recent independent evaluation of the project found its rate of successful outcomes was 84 percent. The evaluation also documented how the project prevented the escalation of violence and brought an end to the large and protracted ‘grudge fights’ between extended families that were previously a common disruption to community life.

As an ancillary outcome, the local design and delivery of community-based mediation has strengthened respect for, and the authority of, the elders. Over time, the practice of mediation provides an opportunity for younger community members to develop leadership skills and earn respect as emerging leaders.

The MIRJ project will meet its greatest long-term challenges through sustained service, the mediation work it currently provides in the school and the complimentary initiative of peer mediation training. It was observing adult behaviour in mediations that led the children to ask for mediation for themselves, giving rise to the Banbaji Project.

With mediation a constant feature of community life since October 2009, and some 532 mediations successfully finalised, the practice of mediation to address community violence is now a trusted, culturally inclusive and effective response to community trouble. As explained by a community resident to visiting relatives: ‘It’s what we do here.’ It is this community expectation of attending mediation in times of conflict, and this commitment to and faith in the process, that will ensure mediation continues on Mornington Island.

Contact: Dr Berry Zondag

Transition from Detention Program, Tasmania

Award: National Certificate of Merit

The Transition from Detention program targets all young people aged12–17 years in detention and/or on remand, assisting them to reintegrate into the community. The program works in partnership with Youth Justice, Child Protection, the Department of Education and other community agencies. Save the Children youth workers work with young people to identify their recreational, educational and vocational/employment goals and aspirations. Practical, therapeutic mentoring support is provided to the young person to help them meet these goals. The project was primarily funded by Save the Children from 2011–14, but is now majority-funded by the Tasmanian State Government.

Since it began, the program has made a difference to the lives of 53 individuals. There have been numerous positive outcomes for the 48 young people the program has worked with on their release into the community, including that:

  • 54 percent (26) are engaged in educational/vocational opportunities;
  • 96 percent (46) are engaged in positive recreational opportunities;
  • 27 percent (13) gained employment; and
  • 60 percent (34) did not return to youth detention.

A 2015 Ernst & Young study found that every $1 invested in Save the Children’s Tasmanian youth justice programs generates an estimated $3.50 in social and economic value.

The following are the enduring outcomes of the Transition from Detention program:

  • a change in the way young people view themselves and their life path;
  • increased recognition by the Department of Education of the need for a range of individualised education programs for disengaged students;
  • increased collaboration between agencies in the court process;
  • a reduction in youth crime in Tasmania; and
  • a reduction in the number of young people held on remand and detention in Tasmania.

Contact: Mr Robbie Gillespie

Operation Disrepair, South Australia

Award: National Meritorious Police Award

Operation Disrepair is a proactive South Australia Police (SAPOL) initiative, managed and funded by the Major Fraud Investigation Section (MFIS) and aimed at preventing and reducing victimisation from online fraud activity impacting on the South Australian community.

Financial intelligence is utilised to identify potential victims sending money overseas. Remitters are sent precautionary letters and fraud advice, with a hotline set up at MFIS for contact and advice if required. Personal contact, including a visit, is made by police if the person continues to remit funds.

The operation is designed to educate and prevent victimisation. Over the life of the project there has been an overall reduction in the number of remitters and the amount of money being sent overseas.

Operation Disrepair has collaborated with the South Australia Commissioner for Victims Rights and Victim Support Services (VSS) to assist in preventing fraud victimisation and setting up a support group for fraud awareness.

  • It is anticipated that victimisation by online fraud and scams will be reduced (and prevented) through increased public awareness and education, as well as through direct contact by mail or in person.
  • It is not uncommon for one person to fall victim to several different scams at the same time. Victims are also ‘revictimised’ through recovery scams, where scammers contact the victim again with the offer of returning their money, which causes the cycle to recommence.

As part of a review, Operation Disrepair has implemented a new software solution that will provide more accurate and meaningful statistical data in the forthcoming financial year (2015–16). It is anticipated this will enable the expansion of the operation to other jurisdictions considered to be high risk and have the added benefit of improving the effectiveness of police resources, both in reducing victimisation and in intelligence and investigations.

Contact: Detective Superintendent Wayne Overmeyer

ACVPA state and territory winners

Two projects received $5,000 and Certificates of Merit

Smith Street Dreaming – by the Smith Street Working Group, Victoria

Award: $5,000 and Certificate of Merit

The Smith Street Working Group and Smith Street Dreaming is a locality-based project in Smith Street, a well-known trading precinct in the City of Yarra with a particular grunge and roguish culture which makes it the focus of local service agencies, the City of Yarra Council, Smith Street Business Association traders and justice agencies; since settlement, it has also been a place of belonging and gathering for the first people of Australia. The street presents a complex mix of challenging issues.

The Smith Street Working Group (the Working Group) was established and co-chaired by the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) and Parkies Inc (the local Aboriginal Community Incorporated) to deal with issues on Smith Street including, but not limited to, the following:

  • crime;
  • law enforcement;
  • rights to livelihood and trade;
  • public drinking;
  • thefts from shops;
  • assaults;
  • fear for safety;
  • anti-social behaviour;
  • culture, race, dispossession;
  • amenities; and
  • economic development.

The Working Group has ongoing projects such as:

  • the ‘Mentoring of Traders’ project to raise awareness of the culture and history of Smith Street for new traders;
  • the ‘Walk in our Shoes’ project where police, traders and members of the Aboriginal community will spend time ‘walking in each other’s shoes’ to better understand one another;
  • the ‘Cultural Awareness—Systemic Change’ project, which provide culture awareness briefings and connection for Victoria Police by elders and Koori justice workers in the local area;
  • holding monthly meetings of the partnership to deal with issues arising in the street with the input of all agencies involved, but more importantly with Parkies Inc central to, and part of, these resolutions; and
  • connecting, facilitating and building relationships between different groups to work on whole-of-community solutions.

Fostering respect and strengthening relationships for all stakeholders through respect for each other leads to considerable goodwill being shared and good outcomes being achieved together.

Respectful Relationships

  • A culture that epitomise care for one another is now the tagline for Smith Street Dreaming—‘One Street, Many Mobs, One Community’.
  • People have developed and will continue to have excellent working relationships with each other.

Systemic Change—Building Cultural Awareness

  • Local police stations will have ongoing relationships with elders and Koori justice workers.
  • Resources will be developed to help police and justice agencies be culturally sensitive.
  • Strategic approaches to resolving community-wide conflict.
  • How to successfully work together in partnership.

Contact: Mr Hieng Lim

ERICA (Educate, Report, Inform, Communities, in Australia)

Award: $5,000 and Certificate of Merit

Funded through external grants and in-kind resources, ERICA consists of three programs.

  1. Respect Me, Don’t Sext Me: an information pack aimed at 11–14 year olds about the possible outcomes of producing, sharing, receiving and possessing sexually suggestive or explicit images, videos and text messages. Two packs were sent to every school in Victoria. It is a key part of many school cybersafety programs.
  2. Social Media Safety booklet: a resource to educate workers and victims about police reporting options when a sexually abusive incident occurs online or via mobile phone technology.
  3. Sexual Assault Report Anonymously (SARA): an easy-to-use online reporting platform which allows people to anonymously report incidents of sexual assault, rape, and/or concerning or suspicious behaviour. Data is passed on to the police and users can opt to be contacted by a SECASA counsellor. We receive two reports per week.

Feedback from education staff utilising the sexting pack is that these practical resources have allowed them to educate youth, parents, carers and education staff on how to make informed choices and identify concerning behaviours. The interactive games in the pack operate as effective discussion aids, assisting in initiating conversations around sensitive topics and encourage peer-to-peer learning.

The Social Media Safety booklet tackles a contemporary issue and, with regular reviews and updates, can continue to inform counsellors and the general public. The SARA component is delivered in a format and avenue (online) less likely to deter those service users who do not wish to pursue traditional forms of sexual assault reporting. Due to the widespread use of the internet, ease of access and a feeling of anonymity when using, it is foreseen that reports using this platform will continue.

Contact: Ms Carolyn Worth

One project received Certificates of Merit

Staying Home, Staying Safe (SHSS), South Australia

Award: Certificate of Merit

The purpose of Staying Home, Staying Safe (SHSS) is to reduce the risk of homelessness for women affected by domestic/family violence. By working in partnership with contractors across South Australia, we have improved the safety, and reduced the risk of homelessness, of nearly 3,000 women. We achieved this through SHSS safety packages, including safety planning, mobile phones, duress alarms, window/personal alarms, security screen doors and/or sensor lights. The project aims to make a positive difference in the lives of women by enabling them to stay at home instead of having to flee violent partners, ex-partners or relatives. SHSS is funded as an initiative under the Federal National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH). Key outcomes include that:

  • since 2011, the program has delivered safety planning &/or home security upgrades to 2,856 women affected by domestic/family violence; and
  • there was a 35 percent increase in the number of referrals to SHSS in 2014–15.

There are a number of outcomes of the project which will continue after the completion of SHSS, including:

  • increased awareness of domestic and family violence and personal safety. Trained SHSS project officers provide information to women who have participated in the SHSS program about the dynamic nature of domestic and family violence and the power and control tactics used by perpetrators;
  • increased community awareness of domestic and family violence. Media coverage of the positive outcomes experienced by women who have participated in the program has successfully increased community awareness of domestic and family violence in South Australia;
  • increased knowledge of safety planning. Women who have participated in the SHSS program have been provided with safety planning strategies specific to domestic and family violence;
  • improved home security. Many women who have participated in the SHSS project have received free home security upgrades, such as the installation of security screen doors or roller-shutters; and
  • increased referrals to the project. In 2014–15 there was a 35 percent increase in referrals to the project. This demonstrates an increased awareness of the project among external agencies in contact with women affected by domestic and family violence in South Australia.

Contact: Ms Nikki Lamshed