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1994 award winners

Commended projects

Commended projects

Armadale Domestic Violence Intervention Project

The Armadale Domestic Violence Intervention Project (ADVIP) in Western Australia, which is based on the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (the Duluth model) in Minnesota, operates by linking police, victim services and offender programs, and by encouraging community awareness of the problem. The main aim of the project is the reduction of criminal assault in the home. It uses a collective approach and has demonstrated its effectiveness through an increased arrest rate, offender education and counselling, victim advocacy and changing attitudes generally.

ADVIP detects, records and provides assistance to victims and perpetrators of domestic assault who enter the system via statutory or welfare agencies. Policies linking participating agencies provide continuity of care throughout the system. The program includes:

  • police training and education regarding the necessity of a pro-arrest policy which focusses on domestic violence as a crime and takes the onus of prosecution away from the victim;
  • an emphasis on the policy role in family protection and the establishment of appropriate bail conditions and police initiation of restraining orders;
  • the appointment of advocates for the victims;
  • an emphasis on the importance of dialogue and the sharing of information between agencies; and
  • the establishment of abuser programs to which the courts can mandate attendance as part of the sentencing options.

In Armadale the main organisations participating in the project were the Police, the Court, the Ministry of Justice (Corrections), the Hospital, the Starrick House Women's Refuge, the Anglican Health and Welfare Services Offender Program, and the Aboriginal Family Violence Committee. Police contact crisis advocates at the time of arrest. The crisis advocates help the victim at the scene of the incident, and assist where required with hospitalisation, evidence gathering, emergency accommodation and court support. Bail conditions are imposed on the perpetrator when arrested to avoid further violence.

New police policies developed in the context of ADVIP have resulted in a change to police intervention procedures and an increase in domestic violence arrests. At the same time, violent men are provided with a twenty-six week offender program which most attend as part of their probation agreement. Of the twelve men who successfully completed the program, none have re-offended. Victim advocacy services help to empower victims of domestic violence, children receive counselling, and the high profile of the ADVIP assists in changing community attitudes.

Atunya Wiru Minyma Uwankaraku : Good Protection for All Women

Atunya Wiru Minyma Uwankaraku or Good Protection for All Women, organised by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women's Council in Alice Springs, is a two-year pilot project to develop appropriate strategies and service models for Aboriginal women and children living in remote communities across the Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian borders. It was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Housing and Regional Development.

Map

The project is one of nine initiatives for rural and remote communities in Australia, but as of October 1994 it was the only one to have reached the point of developing objectives and strategies which had achieved positive outcomes for Aboriginal women, and had become the model.

The project's objectives are to:

  • support existing women's initiatives to combat domestic violence by providing support and assistance on a community level;
  • assist and support women experiencing domestic violence to develop strategies which seek family/community support;
  • network and liaise with appropriate or complementary women's services and other agencies;
  • provide information on existing Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia domestic violence and sexual assault laws and support for women wanting to report domestic violence;
  • provide financial support for women and children to escape violent situations if no other alternative is available;
  • record and respond to domestic violence referrals;
  • facilitate and document how women's ideas and understandings of traditional conflict management and prevention practices can inform or be incorporated into their strategies against domestic violence;
  • develop protocols to guide all services within the Women's Council's region regarding how they can support and assist women experiencing domestic violence; and
  • evaluate the overall pilot project, its progress, performance and its strategies on a regular basis.

The NPY Women's Council Executive chose the community of Mutitjulu at Ayers Rock to pilot the project in the Northern Territory, due to the known but largely unreported cases of domestic violence in the area and the social behavioural problems resulting from the use of liquor. Meetings between the Yulara police and women in the community addressed many of the problems, such as police not responding to calls to assist women, and not knowing which calls were legitimate.

The project set up an office at Mutitjulu, staffed by a project officer, which provides information about the project and the services it offers to women in the cross-border region. The project officer coordinates activities and discusses issues with community members and workers. A workshop to discuss domestic violence laws and the role of the police was held. A draft legal resource manual was also provided for community workers.

Project staff negotiated with the newly established Domestic Violence Legal Help Service in Alice Springs for their lawyer to assist women for six months at Yulara Court, providing legal assistance for women who choose to lay charges against men who have assaulted them or who wish to apply for restraining orders. This has enabled the project to monitor the effectiveness of restraining orders (Domestic Violence Orders) for Aboriginal women living in remote communities, and also enables the project to make comparisons between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women who apply for orders in town.

The philosophy of the NPY Women's Council is to employ Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women side by side on projects such as this.

Other achievements of the project have been:

  • work on a resource manual which explains in simple English the current laws about domestic violence, sexual assault and common assault laws;
  • production of a video with the Mutitjulu Night Patrol about their work and the problems caused by Aboriginal people asking tourists to buy them alcohol;
  • participation in a television program for a series on family violence;
  • training workshops on domestic violence and child and adult sexual assault, to improve the awareness of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers about the difficulties faced by Aboriginal women; and
  • recording and responding to referrals or requests for help from women suffering domestic violence, provision of information about the services available, and encouragement of family support.

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Cobham Outreach Groups

The Cobham Outreach Groups in Penrith, New South Wales, is part of the Barnardos ADAPT Streetwork and Youth Services Program, and assists young offenders in juvenile justice centres with skills in aggression replacement training (ART). It also provides post-release support, counselling and information on how to survive on the "outside". The program derives from the work of Goldstein, an expert in high risk adolescents in the United States, who used aggression replacement training in American Youth Centres with enormous success.

The goal of ART is to give young people the skills necessary to make a choice. By learning what causes them to be angry and by learning how to use a series of anger reduction techniques, adolescents become more able to stop their almost automatic aggressive responses long enough to consider constructive alternatives. Young people in the program learn prosocial skills such as expressing a complaint, responding to the feelings of others and dealing with an accusation; anger control, with step-by-step responses such as triggers, cues, reminders and anger reducers; and moral reasoning, especially in situations which do not have clear-cut solutions.

Young offenders involved in the ART program attend sessions twice weekly for a period of four weeks. During 1994 four groups completed this training and twenty odd young people who had been identified by the Cobham Juvenile Justice Official as having anger problems learned techniques in self-control and anger management. Staff at Cobham observed that young people participating in these sessions were much easier to work with than the other inmates. Parents have noticed that the youths on release are not as violent as they had been, and other young people in the Juvenile Justice Centres face less violent situations as the potentially most violent youths have graduated from the program.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has allocated one of its employees, the Cobham Alcohol and Other Drugs Worker, to co-facilitate the program with the Barnados ART worker.

In evaluating the program, the young people indicated that they found empathy skills the most important, with the use of internal dialogue (telling oneself to calm down, chill out etc) the second most useful.

Community Education and Training Workshops: Addressing Violence Against Women

The Community Education and Training Workshops addressing violence against women, located in Alice Springs, encourage attitude changes through workshops, to create a community committed to reducing violence. The workshops are run by the Alice Springs Sexual Violence Action Group (ASSVAG), which evolved from the concerns of service providers in Alice Springs about the lack of resources in Central Australia for survivors of sexual violence.

Initially ASSVAG received a Rural Health Support and Education Grant of $8864 to run a workshop for service providers in Central Australia who had contact with child and adult survivors of sexual violence. Identifying the inadequacy of services for sexual assault survivors in the region, ASSVAG saw a need to ensure that broader based service providers understood the issues involved. It established a Training Committee to determine the best ways to implement the training, and to ensure that all service providers had some exposure to issues relevant to Aboriginal women. The result was a decision to organise workshops, with an Aboriginal woman as facilitator.

The program consists of a series of workshops, of between two and five days, dealing with violence against women. The workshops target Aboriginal women from Alice Springs and remote communities; service providers working with child and adult survivors of sexual assault; Aboriginal women for "train the trainer" courses; women at Ntaria Community and outstations; skills-based material for women counsellors; and courses for men on understanding and challenging male violence. In a nine-month period, five women organised six workshops, attended by 144 people from all over Central Australia, at a cost of $23 000.

ASSVAG receives no recurrent funding, and has no staff. Membership fluctuates but at any one time about ten women are able to attend meetings. Most of them also work, many in full-time positions.

In the three years of its existence, ASSVAG has taken a highly visible role in working towards the prevention of sexual violence against women. It lobbied the Northern Territory (NT) Department of Health and Community Services to ensure that a roster of female doctors, trained in forensic examinations, is available to assist women who go to the Alice Springs Hospital following an assault. It managed a research project looking into the needs of sexual assault survivors in Alice Springs. It presented a paper at the Biennial NT Women's Health Conference in Darwin, and presented the resulting resolution relating to sexual assault services to the NT Department of Health and Community Services. In addition, a sub-committee organised six community education and training workshops for men and women in the Central Australian region. One hundred and forty-four participants, some from as far away as Tennant Creek, Western Australia and South Australia, attended.

ASSVAG also paid particular attention to the features unique to Central Australia: the remoteness, the isolation, the significance of Aboriginal culture and the levels of violence.

Among the results has been an increase in the number of women applying for restraining orders following domestic violence incidents, increased ability among women in Alice Springs to counsel sexual assault survivors, and the formation of two men's community education groups, to work in town and out in the bush. Participant evaluation of the workshops was overwhelmingly positive, and recommendations resulting from them were forwarded to all organisations represented.

Desperately Seeking Justice: a resource and training manual on violence against women in a culturally diverse community

Desperately Seeking Justice, a Victorian initiative, is a manual which can be used to train trainers in dealing with violence against women in a range of different cultural situations. This in turn enables them to assist non-English speaking women to locate the services they need, increases awareness of the problem generally, and helps agency staff to produce a culturally relevant service.

The project was initiated in 1991 in metropolitan Melbourne but was developed for statewide and national relevance. The training manual was launched in 1992.

CASA House is based on a model of service delivery which locates violence within a social and political context. The model entails three tiers of service delivery which include crisis care, individual counselling, support and advocacy, and public advocacy. In addressing issues of violence against women from immigrant communities, evidence emerged that women of non-English speaking background were not proportionately represented at any tier of service delivery within CASA House or in any other centres across the State. This led to the development of a manual which encourages support and advocacy for victim survivors in a culturally relevant way, and offers resources for social action to work towards the elimination of violence.

The manual emphasises the responsibility of the entire community in working towards elimination of violence against women, by providing a guide to:

  • developing a conceptual understanding of violence against women, including information necessary to ensure that women survivors receive an informed and considerate hearing;
  • setting goals for action, issues for consideration and presentation of strategies against violence; and
  • providing a framework that incorporates access and equity strategies.

The project was developed with a $45 000 grant from the Migrant Access Program Scheme, Department of Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, which supported the salary of a part-time worker and the production of 1000 copies of the manual.

The manual has been used in the training of workers in Centres Against Sexual Assault, ethno-specific agencies, women's services and mainstream organisations; the education of secondary and tertiary students; and the resourcing of changes to organisational structures in terms of policies, protocols and practices. It has also been used in overseas training. Ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of the manual has been based on levels of distribution, library usage, feedback from training evaluations and the development of new and innovative strategies to deal with violence in the community.

Domestic Homicide Awareness Project

The Domestic Homicide Awareness Project from Victoria targets women and children at risk of male violence, and raises awareness about the issues, through the medium of a book on domestic homicide, published by the Women's Coalition Against Family Violence.

The Women's Coalition Against Family Violence is a community-based women's network formed in 1987 to change a situation in which many women and children are abused on a daily basis by their partners. It comprises women from community legal centres, community health centres, refuges, sexual assault services and neighbourhood houses, and interested individuals. To bring the issues to the attention of the public and the media, the coalition organised the Domestic Murders Commemoration in May 1989 to commemorate the deaths of the women and children who had been murdered by their partners, ex-partners and fathers.

Following the Commemoration the coalition initiated research to document and publicise the extent of the domestic violence that often precedes murder, telling the stories of murdered women and children as told by their friends and families. It also included material from the Victorian Coroner's Court files and the files of the Department of Public Prosecutions, which included committal and Supreme Court trial transcripts, police statements, medical evidence and statements by witnesses. The project was funded by the Victorian Women's Trust.

The accounts pointed out "that the killings were not merely inexplicable or aberrant occurrences, . . . Rather, the killings were the end point of strategies used by men to drew attention to control and dominate their wives, girlfriends, ex-partners and children". The result of the research suggested institutional and community inaction towards the situation.

The Coalition raised community awareness of the seriousness and unacceptability of violence in the home by bringing to public attention the rates of domestic homicides resulting from male violence to women and children, and attempted to change community attitudes.

Domestic Violence: A Regional Strategy Plan

The Criminal Assault in the Home (CAITH) Working Group produced Domestic Violence: A Regional Strategy Plan for the Lodden Campaspe Mallee region of Victoria in recognition of the need to reduce violence in the home. A Women's Forum has been established to develop an effective integrated Domestic Violence Outreach model and the plan is being implemented. It addresses domestic violence and improved coordination on a broad scale, by awareness raising, increasing worker skills, research and training.

The Loddon Campaign, Violence Against Women Network, was established in late 1991 to share information about local initiatives concerned with domestic violence. The first step towards establishing a regional strategy plan was made in early 1992 with the organisation of a Regional Conference, which was held in mid-1993. The Conference recommendations were published, together with an educational video, Listening to Women's Stories, in September 1993. A smaller search conference in October of that year used the CAITH conference recommendations to develop a three-year strategy plan. The plan addresses issues such as working with perpetrators, community education, legal issues and current service delivery.

The goals of the project are to:

  • raise community awareness of the issues and current reality and to change attitudes and behaviours in relation to criminal assault in the home;
  • place criminal assault on the rural agenda;
  • improve the quality of current service provision in relation to criminal assault in the home;
  • reduce the incidence of domestic violence through a coordinated approach to working with perpetrators based on the principle of perpetrators accepting responsibility for their violence;
  • resource, educate and increase the awareness of workers throughout the region on the issues surrounding criminal assault in the home; and
  • inspire communities to respond to violence and to take on the issue as a community responsibility.

The project was initially funded by a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy. It subsequently received further funding from the Regional Advisory Council, giving it an operating budget for the year of about $25 000.

Domestic Violence Core Training Package in Spanish

The Domestic Violence Core Training Package in Spanish is a Victorian program which involves the publication and distribution of a translated training resource on domestic violence for Spanish speaking workers, and the Spanish speaking community.

Entertainment Safe Train

The Entertainment Safe Train, an initiative of the City of Darebin Council in Victoria, uses bands and other entertainment to reduce the opportunity for violence and the fear of crime on public transport.

The project is a community-based initiative aimed at the perceived and real dangers of using public transport. The opportunity for violence is significantly reduced and this has a direct effect on people's perceptions. Community evaluations have indicated a reduction in the fear of crime as a result of the project.

The only cost to participants is that of a regular train ticket. There is no additional cost for the entertainment. Initial funding was donated by "START", a Police and Emergency Services funding scheme. The project has an annual budget of about $6000, but the need for this may decrease as purchases of equipment reduce the need for hiring it.

A major objective of the project is to promote young musicians. Bands that appear on the train are paid a fee to offset costs, but are asked to supply their own equipment and transport to the train. The project was promoted in a variety of ways, including articles in the press, posters, fliers, stickers and billboards, community radio, other community groups and schools, though promotion is largely by word of mouth.

Patronage of the train has steadily increased, with trains in winter 1994 holding capacity crowds. The project has also improved relations between police and young people, which has carried over to other community projects such as the local Blue Light disco. The young bands have gained performance experience and confidence, and some have gone on to success in the local Battle of the Bands.

Approximately 200 people per session benefit from the project, or around 4000 per year, in addition to the local volunteers and young bands. The concept may be expanded, with the possibility of different carriages being dedicated to different entertainment and other trains.

The service is based almost entirely on volunteer work. Members of APEX, PCCC, Neighbourhood Watch and Raging Youth regularly staff the train, and McDonalds Restaurants donated vouchers for volunteers' meals and prizes for participants. Costs of the project are restricted to professional technical support, equipment costs, promotion costs, and the hiring of bands. It is monitored and evaluated by the Safer Communities Project Officer at the City of Darebin, and management of the project involves several committees including the local PCCC and PUSH affiliated youth committee.

The project was evaluated twice in 1994. The evaluation was based on feedback from volunteers, band members, users of the train and committees involved, observation on the nights of the train, and written evaluations from users. The results showed that age groups of travellers were more diverse following the project, and families and older travellers were in evidence far more than in the past.

Juvenile Aid Group, City Police

The Juvenile Aid Group consists of one police sergeant, three constables and two Aboriginal police aides operating from the City Police Station in Perth, Western Australia. It was formed in response to concerns about the growing number of juveniles in general, ranging from about 12 to about 17 years of age, and "juveniles at risk" in particular, congregating in large numbers and involved in criminal or risky activities in the Perth city area. In addition to youth at risk, it focusses on youth in physical or moral danger, involvement of youth in crime, and truancy.

The Group identifies youth at risk at an early stage, and where necessary obtains assistance from other agencies with relevant expertise, and so is often able to instigate some measure which will assist them and their families, and divert the young people involved from more serious involvement with the police.

The objectives of the Juvenile Aid Group are to:

  • prevent children from becoming offenders;
  • identify youth at risk at a very early stage;
  • assist parents;
  • resource appropriate authorities to help police to assist these children and their families;
  • prevent continuing offences by children already offending;
  • protect youth at risk from unnecessary charges and arrest;
  • reduce the occurrence of truanting within the Perth region and the presence of truants within the central city area;
  • provide police with non-threatening obvious caring human contact coupled with commonsense, affection and mercy; and
  • display to the public a positive, caring police image.

From July 1993 to June 1994 a total of 2244 juveniles were brought into the Juvenile Aid Group, an average of more than forty per week. Of these, fifty-seven were listed as missing persons, 294 as truants and 1533 as "youth at risk" under the provisions of the Child Welfare Act. In many cases family and close relatives of these juveniles have also benefited from their contact with the Juvenile Aid Group or through projects organised by the group. The levels of violent offences and substance abuse among juveniles has declined markedly in the area covered by the project.

Where a juvenile is found to be away from his usual place of residence, misbehaving, truanting from school, and not under the immediate supervision and care of a parent or responsible person, Section 128B of the WA Child Welfare Act may apply if a police officer believes that the juvenile is in physical or moral danger. Where this is the case, the Welfare Act enables police to take the young people concerned into custody, take them home, find them a bed, or otherwise look to their safety.

The usual procedure is for the police to take the young person to the City Police Station. The Juvenile Aid Group then contacts the parents or other responsible person, and asks them to attend the police station for a discussion between the parent, the young person and the police. If the Juvenile Aid Group identifies a need for the assistance or intervention of some other organisation, it will contact the relevant agency and ensure that the assistance is obtained.

General activities by the Group include foot patrols of the general city area, with attention to video game parlours, juvenile recidivist offenders frequenting the city area; juveniles in moral or physical danger (such as glue sniffers), using the powers under s 138B of the Child Welfare Act; and juveniles committing general offences such as disorderly conduct, street drinking and drug offences. The Group uses the City Security Camera System at City Police Post to identify and locate juveniles within the city area. The foot patrols regularly visit licensed premises to ensure juveniles are not consuming liquor, or being supplied with liquor by adult. Their duties also include liaison with store security officers regarding shoplifting offenders and liaison with youth organisations, government and private, involved with youth at risk.

The early detection of some abusive situations has sometimes prevented the development of irreversible damage to these young people, and the incidence of violence in and around the city area generally has been dramatically reduced.

The Juvenile Aid Group has also located a large number of juveniles who were reported missing by their parents or by government hostels. Between July 1993 and June 1994, fifty-seven missing juveniles were located, mainly living on the streets.

The Group has also organised projects to give young people a sense of self-worth and achievement. They include:

  • "Save Another Life" Scheme, in which selected "youth at risk" are sponsored into Surf Life Saving Clubs;
  • "Desert Exercise", in which selected "youth at risk" are taken on an exercise into the desert east of the wheat belt for seven days, learning bush and survival skills; and
  • various "Community Work" activities.

The Group meets regularly with workers in the same field, such as Children's Court magistrates, youth workers, Department of Community Development officials and juvenile justice workers.

Red Cross Men's Referral Service

The Men's Referral Service, run by the Victorian Red Cross, is a telephone counselling, information and referral service which targets men who have concerns about their behaviour at home. The Service provides a reference point for men who wish to change, and helps them take responsibility for their own behaviour. It is the only men's violence telephone referral service in Victoria and one of only two part-time services of this nature in Australia.

The service was established as a response to men who sought help to change their behaviour, following community awareness campaigns calling upon men to take responsibility for their behaviour in the home. It became evident that many men did in fact wish to change their behaviour and to learn non-abusive ways of operating, but did not know how to go about finding help.

By establishing an anonymous and confidential telephone service, Men's Referral Service provides a central point of contact for men who are making their first moves toward taking responsibility for their violent behaviour, The service is operated by trained male volunteers and is available Monday to Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm. It is staffed by trained male volunteers and has linkages with the police, community health centres, courts and other relevant agencies.

The service also helps men to understand that learning new ways of operating is a lengthy process and they will need professional help to achieve lasting change. Where women access the service seeking help for their partners, they are encouraged to devote their energies to looking after themselves and where relevant their children. For some women, this is the first time that a man has listened to her and affirmed her sense of being abused and violated. The service has had very positive feedback from women, in particular in relation to the response they have had from male advisers.

Red cross advertisement

In eighteen months, the service received 743 calls, with 82 per cent (609) from male callers. Sixty-five per cent of the latter were concerned about their own violence and abuse, and its effect on their relationships. The service referred 87 per cent of men who were concerned about their behaviour to behavioural change groups, support groups and/or individual counselling. The estimated success rate was about 60 per cent. In 1994 the service was responsible for referring about one-third of the total population of men attending behavioural change groups.

Proposals for expansion of the service include:

  • providing the service to men of non-English speaking background (it currently provides the service to men of Arabic speaking background on one evening a week);
  • increasing the hours to include weekends and/or longer hours during weekdays;
  • promoting the service in rural areas; and
  • providing an ongoing support group to men in the inner urban area, facilitated by volunteers supervised by the coordinator.

The Men's Referral Service conducted a formal evaluation after twelve months of operation. It sent out questionnaires to twenty-one relevant agencies including women's services, sexual assault centres, police, community health centres, courts and agencies of Relationships Australia, and it produced two reports. The Service contacts all agencies where men have been referred for counselling, and evaluates the training program three times during the ten week course.

Its message has reached over 1 million Victorians through television, radio, football magazines, newspaper articles, tram posters, and distribution of pamphlets, stickers and business cards.

Figure 2: Red Cross Men's Referral Service: Number of Calls per Month, May-October 1994

Red Cross Men's Referral Service: Number of Calls per Month, May-October 1994

Figure 3: Red Cross Referral Service: Age and Gender of Callers

Red Cross Referral Service: Age and Gender of Callers

Figure 4: Red Cross Referral Service: How Callers are Finding out About the Service

Red Cross Referral Service: How Callers are Finding out About the Service

Surfers Paradise Safety Action Project

The Surfers Paradise Safety Action Project is a joint project between the Gold Coast City Council, the Centre for Crime Policy and Public Safety at Griffith University, and the Queensland Department of Health. Initial funding was provided by the Federal National Campaign Against Drug Abuse, and additional support in kind was provided by the Chamber of Commerce, venue licensees, and the Queensland Department of Sport, Tourism and Racing.

The project commenced in 1993 and in the space of twelve months or so had brought about dramatic changes in Surfers Paradise. It addressed crime and violence around licensed premises in Surfers Paradise on the Queensland Gold Coast, an area with particular difficulties relating to tourism and large numbers of transient young people. Significant reductions in verbal abuse, arguments and physical assaults were recorded in the subsequent evaluation.

The project used a multi-faceted community-based framework, commencing with the creation of a Community Forum, community-based Task Groups and a Safety Audit. It carried out risk assessments in licensed premises in the area, and promoted the establishment of a Code of Practice for nightclubs. The Code of Practice includes the avoidance of promotional activities which encouraged fast or binge drinking, and other practices likely to result in rapid or high levels of intoxication. Police and liquor licensing inspectors monitored the activities of the nightclubs, to discourage the use of excessive force by bouncers and to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Liquor Act, which prohibited the serving of alcohol to intoxicated persons.

Over a one-year period significant reductions in alcohol related violence were found both within venues and in the Surfers Paradise Central Business District area. Police figures on reported crime in Surfers Paradise over the previous two financial years showed a decrease in reported homicide (down 75 per cent), serious assault (down 4 per cent), minor assaults (down 13 per cent), rape and attempted rape (down 25 per cent) and robbery (down 8 per cent). Street violence, which had been increasing at the rate of 167 per cent prior to the introduction of the project, showed a decrease of 34 per cent afterwards. Significant reductions were also found between January 1993 and January 1994 in verbal abuse, arguments and physical assaults.

The project is the first in Australia to mount a major evaluation program which comprehensively tracked and evaluated the project's performance. With the assistance of Griffith University's Centre for Crime Policy and Public Safety, a project evaluation program was carried out using structured observation and four data sets: These covered:

  • risk assessment policy checklists based on interviews with managers and staff in licensed venues;
  • direct observation of staff and patron behaviours in licensed premises;
  • street incidents recorded by security staff employed to patrol the mall and adjoining areas; and
  • the occurrence of criminal incidents in the Surfers CBD as recorded by police at the Surfers Paradise Police Station.
Table 1: Variables comprising the risk assessment policy checklist
Discounting Happy hours and other binge drinking incentives vs discounting low or non-alcohol drinks, snacks and so on.
Pricing Differential pricing on low vs. standard alcohol beer.
Information for Staff House policies: From verbal instruction to admit/serve underage and intoxicated patrons, through to written responsible policies.
Information for Customers Signage: From promotions for binge drinking, through to responsible promotions and legal requirements.
Underage Policies Instructions regarding admitting and serving underage persons.
Low and Non-Alcohol Availability of a range of low or non-alcohol drinks.
Intoxication Drunkenness. Instructions regarding entry and serving.
Food Times and range of snacks/meals available.
Entertainment Promoting all-male, heavy drinking crowd, through to varied and attracting mixed clientele, responsible atmosphere.
Transport Policies Nature and extent of the transport strategy.
Serve Size Degree of restriction on size of glasses, on jugs and on drink strength.
Staff Drink Policy on staff drinking at the venue, during and outside their rostered hours.
Problem Patron Problem drinking customer. Strategy for dealing with such patrons.
Community Relations Extent of involvement, perceived involvement and likelihood of support from community and stakeholder groups.
Personnel Preferred staff style, recruitment, communication, management and support.
Security Preferred security style, recruitment and training.

The evaluation presented a remarkably positive and consistent picture. It found that the rate of physical violence dropped by over 50 per cent in a year, and levels of excessive drinking also declined. It clearly indicated that the changes in management practices, particularly the development of a Code of Practice and the reduced use of promotional activities which encourage binge drinking and intoxication, contributed to reductions on violence, though it was recognised that other factors may have also contributed.

The decline in offence figures in Surfers Paradise apparently was not part of a general trend, however, as official police statistics indicated increases elsewhere. They also showed considerable improvement to the management of licensed venues and greater attention to issues such as underage drinking. In particular, the marked reductions in binge drinking and intoxication, which are often associated with assaults and other offences, appeared to be a direct result of the project.

Wauchope Student Support Service, New South Wales

The Wauchope Student Support Service in New South Wales teaches conflict resolution skills at the Wauchope High School in country New South Wales. One of the project's strengths is its simplicity. It provides adult support for at risk teenagers, aged between 12 and 18 years, on a volunteer "mentor" basis.

The Wauchope Student Support Service is a program for teenagers who are facing difficulties in their lives, such as domestic violence, homelessness, abuse, low self-esteem, physical sexual emotion and drug and alcohol problems, either themselves or in their families. The volunteer mentor or tutor acts as a caring, empathetic and guiding influence.

An integral part of the project is the involvement and support of the local community. Community volunteers are trained and supervised by the coordinator of the project in such skills as conflict resolution, effective listening and communication skills. They are also taught to provide referral to specialist support agencies where required. One coordinator oversees twenty-three supporting adults, which enables the project to cope with the demands of about 900 students. The volunteers offer alternative role models for teenagers who may only know violence as a means of conflict resolution, and who are at risk of dropping out of the school system. The project coordinator provides "time out" when students come to school with unresolved feelings of anger, frustration and low self-esteem, and are at breaking point. The teenagers learn to "walk and talk" rather than to fight with family members.

In addition to the work of the volunteers, service clubs have collectively raised about $10 000 for the project, which has also received assistance from the local media, the P&C, local businesses and school staff and administration.

Over 120 students have accessed the program each year. The results have been seen in less violence in the playground and the classroom. More students are practising alternative means of conflict resolution and of dealing with their feelings. In addition, community members are able to do something about the difficulties facing their young people, so that they do not feel powerless.

The service is in constant demand. Seventy-two per cent of tutors and 77 per cent of students expressed the wish to continue the project in 1995. The project has been monitored and evaluated for two years by the Queens Trust, with a community-based Management Committee.

Youth Leadership Project, Insearch Foundation

The Insearch Foundation's Youth Leadership Project in New South Wales uses camps and other means of training youth leaders away from anti-social behaviour, and towards positive alternatives to violence. It aims to empower young people to take responsibility for their lives, by giving them the opportunity and skills to develop their self-esteem and play a positive role in society.

The project consists of a group of Youth Leaders aged 14 to 20 years, who regularly attend Youth Insearch camps in the role of facilitators and administrators. These young people come from a variety of backgrounds. The majority have been involved in some form of anti-social behaviour, and draw from their life experiences to encourage participants in the program to seek positive alternatives within themselves, thus breaking the cycle of violence. The practical training, with four weekend training camps, costs about $500 per participant.

Youth Insearch was founded in 1985 by a Youth Development Counsellor, Mr Rob Barr, with a group of young people in the town of Riverstone in New South Wales. It is a registered charity which has no religious or political affiliations but aims specifically to improve the quality of life for young people, in particular in the age group 14 to 21 years. It operates on the concept of love, caring and trust for young people of different lifestyles and backgrounds. Since 1985 the program has spread throughout Australia and has over 14 000 participants.

Information collected from participants at the Camps has indicated that 90 per cent have experimented with drugs and alcohol, 60 per cent come from broken or dysfunctional homes, 55 per cent have been sexually abused, and 25 per cent have attempted suicide.

The program emphasises the ability to come to terms with emotional issues such as family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, and grief, through sharing and discussion within the program. Its medium-term objectives are to:

  • reduce the incidence of crime, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide in young people;
  • enhance young people's self-esteem and productivity;
  • break the cycle of divorce and family breakdown by giving young people some of the skills essential to being a loving and successful parent;
  • be accessible to all young Australians and to ensure that through their own efforts young Australians have a productive future.

Youth Insearch is managed nationally by a Board consisting of five adults and six young people under the age of twenty-five. It has an Advisory Committee of successful business people to assist with advice on such matters as training and development programs, financial administration and fund-raising.

The Youth Leaders are specially selected and trained within the Youth Insearch organisation. To be eligible to become a Youth Leader the young person must agree to abide by the Code of Ethics, attend a minimum of three Youth Insearch Camps and have demonstrated pronounced leadership qualities. Youth Leaders must have dealt with their own problems to be able to counsel and assist others effectively.

The Leaders Training Camp is conducted over a weekend of intensive training and assessment. Those that successfully complete the course are awarded a leadership badge and certificate and formally accept the Leaders Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics requires leaders to sign an agreement to abide by the following ideals:

  1. To have honesty with myself and others in all my activities.
  2. Have respect for lawful authority.
  3. To respect the rights and feeling of others.
  4. To learn from my mistakes and not to repeat them.
  5. To lead a healthy, respectable lifestyle and present a responsible image in public.
  6. To think positively about myself and others.
  7. Not to criticise, rather be supportive than destructive.
  8. To establish definite goals and work towards them.
  9. To be loyal to the Insearch Project and to my fellow leaders.
  10. Not to misuse my position as Leader to gain unfair advantage over others.

The training of the Youth Leaders is designed to ensure the continuation and growth of the Youth Insearch Project. They play a vital role in the success of the Youth Insearch Camps. Youth Leaders also benefit personally, and are in a position to lead other young people away from drugs, crime, alcohol abuse, suicide, violence and other non-productive forms of behaviour. The long-term effects are better communication skills, more stable and supportive parenting techniques, enhanced self-esteem and productivity and a first hand understanding of the origins of social problems.