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1996 Award winners

Three projects were considered to be equally outstanding and each jointly shared the national winners prize.

National winners

Ask Any Woman - Video Project (New South Wales)

This video explores the relationship between fear and the urban environment. It examines women's experiences of using public spaces and highlights the impact of fear and actual experiences of harassment and attack on women's participation in community life. The video discusses consequences for women and the community for poor planning and design of urban areas.

The video has been developed for use as an educational tool for students and professionals in the areas of town planning, policing, architecture, sociology, women's studies, criminology and community work. It is also intended for use with community groups and women's groups as a discussion starter and stimulus to action.

One hundred and thirty videos have been distributed throughout New South Wales and other states. There has been an increase in resources allocated to women's safety which it is believed was a result of the success of the video. The NSW University School of Town Planning has included safety into its design curriculum. A range of different partners has been brought together to examine the issue of fear of violence. For example, the making of the video and issues raised had a strong impact on the redevelopment of Liverpool Railway Station with a substantial number of safety features being designed into the proposed development.

Award: $15 000 and a Certificate of Merit

The Options Project (Victoria)

The aim of the project is to promote better mental well-being within the school population and general community of Victoria by reducing the incidence of violence, and by substituting effective non-violent coping behaviour for teachers, students and individuals within the wider community. In each participating school, a key group, made up of representatives of teachers, administrators, students, parents and others, met to determine their own violence, interpersonal skills and human rights programs. The group suggested, implemented and evaluated activities to promote more effective behaviours. Options staff provided guidance and support.

Over 120 separate training activities have been attended by 3700 school staff, students, parents and others. It has been reported by the staff that there has been a clear reduction in school-based violence and bullying behaviours in participating schools.

The project was evaluated through pre- and post-surveys of school violence in all participating schools. Evaluation of all workshops, seminars and training activities was undertaken.

Award: $15 000 and a Certificate of Merit

Ugly Mugs (Victoria)

This project provides an avenue through which sex workers, in metropolitan Melbourne and in some rural areas, can report clients (mugs) who commit offences against them. Descriptions of 'ugly mugs' are compiled into lists and circulated throughout the sex worker community. The first Ugly Mugs list was distributed in May 1986 and since that time has continued on a regular basis with as many as fifteen incidents being reported in some weeks. It was developed in response to the prevalence of violence against prostitutes and the lack of protection they received from police and legal institutions.

Reports have reduced over the years to approximately three to four incidents per week at present. The police have praised this initiative as useful and have shown interest in the information it provides. All sex workers who use the list find it an invaluable resource in making their work safer.

Award: $15 000 and a Certificate of Merit

It was agreed that the best project in each state/territory should receive an award. The following projects were selected as the best in each state/territory, excluding New South Wales and Victoria (from which the national winners came).

Domestic Violence Prevention Week (Queensland)

The project seeks to raise community awareness and promote prevention of domestic violence, and to encourage the community to take collective responsibility for domestic violence. The project's principal aim is to encourage those who are currently being abused and those who are abusing to seek assistance. Emphasis is placed on community initiatives developed to suit local conditions. Awareness is raised through the production of a media kit, posters and community service announcements for radio and television.

During and immediately following DVPW in 1996, there was an increase in the number of people accessing domestic violence services throughout Queensland. Local government has become more involved, eg, the Brisbane City council sponsored 'bus backs' promoting the theme of 'Men taking responsibility'.

Award: $5000 and a Certificate of Merit

School Volunteer Program (Western Australia)

This is an inter-generational initiative in which senior members of the community help children on a one-to-one basis in high schools. The children are non-achievers, who have the potential to become aggressive law breakers because they have become frustrated and are unable to cope with the complexities of secondary education. Concentration is on literacy skills and raising the self-esteem of the senior citizens and students. About 1200 children each year have regular and personal association with a retired person. Nearly 450 retired people are finding enjoyment and more purpose in their lives through this program.

Award: $5000 and a Certificate of Merit

City Special Projects Team (Australian Capital Territory)

This project was designed to give the community a greater feeling of safety through a small group of police (1 Sergeant and 5 Constables) who solve problems, not just report them. It is a pro-active group which uses all options, not just the police, to eliminate problem areas. Its goals are to eliminate trouble spots, and to change the attitude of those who may be inclined towards violence. In a twelve-month period the squad has been able to almost totally eradicate violence from some former trouble spots and reduce it in many other areas.

Award: $2000 and a Certificate of Merit

Ngali Ngali Mittji Family Violence Working Party (Northern Territory)

This is a group of Yolngu women and men from four communities who work on issues of family violence in their communities in a traditional way. The project reduces violence by providing safe houses, crisis counselling, and referrals to the police, hospital and family violence counsellor. Education sessions are conducted in the schools and the community. The group promotes non-violent alternatives to conflict resolution and seeks to change the culture of violence that exists in their communities.

Award: $2000 and a Certificate of Merit

Taperoo Young Mothers' Group (South Australia)

The project runs a weekly three-hour group for young mothers, especially for those under 20 years of age although young women up to 25 years of age are also involved. Activities include: parenting skills; protective behaviours; craft; domestic violence awareness; and self-esteem building. The project is increasing the women's ability to resist domestic violence by increasing the women's self-esteem and confidence, and reducing their isolation through the building of friendships and support networks. It develops assertiveness and self-defence skills, and empowers the women to seek assistance if a man becomes violent towards them.

Award: $2000 and a Certificate of Merit

Domestic Violence Action Group Inc. (Tasmania)

The project aims to provide community education relevant to domestic violence issues. A wide range of training seminars and workshops have been conducted for professional workers and community members by DVAG. Material on domestic violence has been produced and distributed to government departments, police, hospitals, doctors, legal practitioners, Community Health and neighbourhood centres, and others. As a result of the work of the DVAG there are now compulsory units on domestic violence in the training of police cadets, medical students and Family Medicine trainees in Tasmania. The group lobbies government members about the importance of domestic violence law reform and the provision of adequate support for agencies working in this area. The group supports agencies and individuals engaged in working with victims of domestic violence and assisted and supported the establishment of the Domestic Violence Crisis Unit by the State Government in 1984. It has also been involved in the establishment of a men's counselling service for perpetrators of violence.

Award: $2000 and a Certificate of Merit

Thirteen other projects received an award of $2000 and a Certificate of Merit

The Youth Insearch Program (New South Wales)

The project involves attendance at a weekend camp for young people who are both victims and perpetrators of violence. The weekend camp is a catalyst for change and is followed by support groups which are held weekly. The program provides positive alternatives to violent behaviour against others, 'how to cope' mechanisms if violence is committed against the young people, and it aims to develop in young people a better understanding of violence and why it happens. The program is available to all young Australians, aged 14-20 years. Approximately 2000 young people attend the program each year. Through the work of Insearch, thousands of young people have turned away from violence and crime, and found employment, returned to school or taken up some form of tertiary education.

The Peaceable School Initiative (New South Wales)

Cranebrook High School aims to be a school where the staff and students exercise their rights and responsibilities to ensure that all enjoy their basic rights of fair treatment, and the opportunity to work and learn in a safe environment. Accepted rights, responsibilities and rules for the whole school community have been established. A conflict resolution curriculum package has been integrated through school programs. A successful peer mediation program has been established. There has been a significant reduction in the number of violent incidents in the school and in the number of suspensions from the school.

Coordinator Displaced Persons (Queensland)

The project looks at addressing the problem of displaced and homeless people, and identifying social issues which impact on them. The majority of these people originate from remote Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island communities and they have little affiliation with other groups in Cairns. Escape from problems in home communities, medical reasons, court appearances, search for employment, change of lifestyle, are some of the reasons these 'park people' come to Cairns. The project has obtained a commitment from key government departments, agencies and community groups in the Cairns community, and action plans have been put in place to address the different aspects of the problem.

Factory Information Project (Queensland)

An information, advice and referral service for factory workers from a non-English speaking background. The project recognises the difficulties many non-English speaking background women have in accessing services and provides information which enables these workers to make more informed decisions and choices regarding their lives.. It is a free community service in which factories are visited. Although it focuses upon the needs of women from a non-English speaking background, it does not exclude any factory worker. The project reduces or prevents domestic violence through making these women aware of the laws relating to domestic violence in Australia. It provides information about services that offer assistance to those escaping or committing violence. Information is offered on anger management, ways of reducing stress and the range of support groups available. It raises community awareness of domestic violence and all workers' awareness to the specific needs of non-English speaking background factory workers.

Young Mother's Group (Queensland)

This project addresses the social and support needs of young parenting women in Inala. The goals of the group include the minimisation of social isolation for these young women, the prevention of child abuse and the reduction of other forms of violence through the development of relationships, links to relevant support services, parenting education and peer support. Through involvement in the community, the Young Mother's Group has had the opportunity to speak out against violence and has raised community awareness of the issues and needs of young parenting women, with respect to violence, in a forum where service providers and decision-making bodies have the opportunity to hear from these young women.

We Al-li (Queensland)

This project provides a series of educational/therapeutic programs for workers and for victims and perpetrators of age, gender, race or class violence. The workshops enable individuals to own violent experiences and behaviours, to become aware of the many forms of violence in our society, and to be empowered to change their own victim/victimising behaviours. Many people who have been involved in workshops have moved beyond victim/victimising behaviours. The Central Queensland University is presently negotiating with Bookoola Research Pty Ltd, the organisation responsible for this project, to run the programs in Indigenous Therapies.

Youth Outreach Program (Victoria)

The primary focus is to build communities of support around young people at risk or involved in the juvenile justice system. Two approaches are used: direct support, advocacy, brokerage service to young people in the target group and where appropriate to their families; and community education with local church communities on issues such as, youth crime, youth at risk, violence and fear of violence. Community and volunteer run programs such as pre-vocational mechanics, woodwork programs, and a drop-in centre have been established. Issues such as knife-carrying, fear of violence and drug use within communities of people from a non-English speaking background have been addressed.

Hop, Skip and Jump to Safety (Victoria)

This program is designed to assist children who witness domestic violence. It develops self-empowerment/self-esteem within the child through the child learning strategies to keep themselves safe; gaining knowledge about their rights, and developing new skills to break the cycle of violence. Parents of children and children themselves who have participated in the program have reported positive changes in the participants' behaviour. These include a general sense of well-being, improvement at school and concentration in general, improved eating and sleeping habits, less fighting amongst siblings, and a feeling of being able to solve some of their own problems.

Safer Lives Project (Victoria)

This project provides positive responses to crimes and abuse of people with a disability who use a disability service (the Spastic Society). It aims to have services where crimes and abuse against service users is as low as possible. It seeks to ensure that when crimes and abuse occur the victim receives maximum support and has access to the criminal justice system with appropriate support. The issue of crimes and violence in the Spastic Society has been brought to the surface and there is a greater desire to tackle the problem. Allegations previously dismissed or ignored are now treated seriously. The number of reported crimes is increasing. Offenders have been removed from the service.

Adolescent Sex Offender Treatment Program (Victoria)

This program provides a range of services to adolescent male sex offenders and their families. It aims to prevent adolescent sex offenders becoming adult sex offenders by intervening in their offending patterns at the earliest opportunity. The program not only offers the adolescent offender the opportunity to stop their sexual offending, but also provides education and skill development in the area of communication, anger management and assertiveness which aim to assist the offenders reduce violence in all aspects of their lives and to take responsibility for their behaviour.

Campaign Against Murders and Disappearances of Filipino Women in Australia (Victoria)

The project involves a comprehensive campaign to raise public awareness of violence against Filipino women in Australia. This entails using research, media community education, networking, organising and lobbying. The project targets people who have experienced domestic violence and Filipino women who are vulnerable because of their migration status. It aims to alert potential victims and to warn perpetrators or potential perpetrators of domestic violence and provides support to victims. It also strives to influence policy in ways that will reduce women's vulnerability, including the immigration process. The Centre for Philippine Concerns-Australia (CPCA) has been able to achieve considerable media coverage about issues such as domestic deaths and disappearances, and the related

The Governor Stirling Intervention Program (Western Australia)

The aim of the program is to support and assist schools with behaviour and learning difficulties through an integrated approach involving an intervention centre for severely 'at risk' students. It is based at Governor Stirling Senior High School and has an Outreach service which provides school-based support to teachers and students. This project reduces violence by providing severely alienated students with positive role models for dealing with conflict and giving students specific strategies for problem solving and conflict resolution. A 20-week Behaviour Change Program is conducted involving the understanding of anger and its manifestation through violent behaviour. Results show improved school attendance, increased literacy/numeracy skills and improved skills for managing anger and problem solving.

Gender Issues in Education Project (Western Australia)

The purpose of the project is to reverse a trend in lower retention rates for boys in secondary and post-compulsory schooling. It addresses sexual harassment through the development of a gender-inclusive curriculum and gender-inclusive teaching strategies. The school has a high percentage of Aboriginal students. It investigates the relationship between low achievement and low retention rates of boys in post-compulsory schooling with the construction of gender within the Aboriginal community. Teacher awareness of sexual harassment has increased. Through Student Outcome Statements boys' participation in dance/drama has increased. Learning styles are geared to the needs and preferences of students. Managing Student Behaviour systems explore the underlying reasons for violence and disruption.

Twenty-two projects were awarded a Certificate of Merit

The South Coast Wilderness Enhanced Program (New South Wales)

This is a ten-day wilderness experience for young people who have entrenched patterns of violent behaviour and who have proved unresponsive to previous intervention strategies. This is followed up with a two year program of support and interaction with the client, their caregivers, teachers, school administrators and community workers. The aims are to create a break in the pattern of violence and to develop changes in attitude which move away from aggressive, violent interactions. The program works with students aged 11-15 years, their caregivers, teachers and community workers.

Child Abuse Prevention Service (Central Coast) Inc (New South Wales)

The project aims to reach as many stressed families as possible where children are at risk, and provides counselling services along with 'drop-in' and home visits. It seeks to prevent abuse/violence before it occurs and to prevent its recurrence. Strategies are provided to families to help them cope with stress. Awareness in the community of abuse within families is raised through education programs.

Hands Off! (New South Wales)

The project focuses on developing appropriate social skills in young children that will help them use appropriate ways to solve problems. In this way children who would normally resort to aggressive behaviour have an alternative means of dealing with problems. There has been a decrease in the number of incidents involving aggressive behaviour in the school.

Walgett Aboriginal Night Patrol (New South Wales)

An 11-seat minibus was purchased and a group of Aboriginal volunteers operate the bus on week nights to transport intoxicated people away from local hotels and town area. Previously transport away from licensed premises was not available. Fewer people now gather in the streets where disputes often take place.

The Intensive Family Based Service (New South Wales)

This is a child protection program which aims to assist families to keep their children safe. IFBS provides an intensive time limited, home based program for families in crisis whose children are at imminent risk of out of home placement because of protective concerns.

The Northern Territory Police Service Domestic Violence Pilot Project (Northern Territory)

As part of the Northern Territory Police response to the Northern Territory Government Domestic Violence Strategy, a Domestic Violence Unit was established in the Casuarina Police District to provide specialist intervention services for domestic disputes. A defined 'minium standard of response' was established for reports of domestic violence.

WUNJUBAIR GOOLERRA' Camps for Youth at Risk (Queensland)

In an effort to curb truancy, criminal activity and general loss of guidance, youth have been taken for a week of camping in the wilderness. Through the camps the youth learn bush survival skills. Discussions are held about problems confronting youth and how these problems may be overcome. Goal setting and the achievement of aims are focused upon, and the young people are assisted in becoming more confident and assertive while understanding their rights and responsibilities.

Conflict Resolution Program (Queensland)

This program develops alternatives to violence as a dispute resolution strategy. Under YACCA (Youth and Community Combined Action) funding the conflict resolution program has been operating at Marsden State High School for twelve months. The program provides the services of a conflict resolution officer for three hours per day to assist and teach students in the use of alternate methods of dealing with peer conflict, and on the odd occasion, teacher/student conflict.

Oxley Junior Pathways Program (Queensland)

This program provides a last chance opportunity for compulsory school-aged students to remain in the mainstream educational environment. Students are referred to Pathways having been suspended or excluded from schools for severe behaviour difficulties. William Glasser's Control Theory and Reality Therapy is taught and all students learn to accept responsibility for their choices. Seventy students have participated in the program since 1993; only eleven of these students have failed to meet their commitment.

Mt Gravatt Parent Child Support Program (Queensland)

An early childhood intervention pilot program trialed over a number of years to provide a community based educational 'best practices' support network for parents and their children with developmental delays, particularly in the area of communication and behaviour.

An After Hours Social Work Service to Domestic Violence Victims in the Emergency Department (Queensland)

The After Hours Service is a team of trained social workers who provide intervention 24 hours a day to victims of domestic violence. It offers counselling, support, education, advocacy, practical assistance and referrals.

Alternatives to Violence Project Qld Inc (Queensland)

The goal of this project is to reduce the level of violence by reducing the need that people feel to resort to violence when conflict arises. Two and three-day workshops which focus on conflict resolution skills are conducted for inmates in four of Queensland's correctional centres.

Family Violence Prevention Project (Victoria)

The project seeks to prevent domestic violence through increasing community awareness and education, offering education and training to professional workers and community groups, and offering support and referral (primarily through group work) to women and children who have survived domestic violence. A comprehensive program has been implemented to focus on both the needs of children who have experienced domestic violence and on developing strategies to strengthen the mothers of children who have experienced violence.

Elder Abuse is Too Polite a Word for It! (Victoria)

The project is aimed at training people who work or who come in contact with elderly people about violence against the elderly by a person who is in a position of trust. It is also aimed at educating people in detecting the problem and what they should do when elder abuse is suspected. The program also increases the awareness of elderly people to this abuse, with care being taken not to alarm them unduly.

The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program (Victoria)

This is a school based program designed to reduce both the incidence and impact of child sexual abuse by providing children and adults with information and skills relevant to the prevention of sexual abuse. It incorporates prevention strategies targeted at children from pre, primary and secondary school age groups. It also provides sexual abuse prevention programs to the parents of students participating in the program.

Victims of Domestic Violence Support Initiative (Victoria)

The project assists victims of domestic violence and their families by providing a follow up and referral service which utilises the expertise of the B District Community Policing Squad. Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to apply for protection by way of an intervention order. The Squad appears to have a higher rate of success in convincing victims to utilise protection afforded by legislation. Potentially dangerous or violent situations have been controlled by the use of existing legislation and police powers.

Project CABOOL (Victoria)

This is a Victoria Police coordinated effort to combat the trend of an increasing number of assaults being committed in public places in Victoria. Through coordination of proactive and operational strategies the incidence of assaults in public places has been reduced. Processes were established to carry on anti-assault activities in the form of police and community based initiatives, media and marketing campaigns.

Western Women's Domestic Violence Support Network (Victoria)

This project aims to provide practical support and assistance not provided by other agencies to women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Their activities include social support, provision of transport, company on appointments, information on community resources and links with other agencies.

Alternatives to Violence (Victoria)

This program was designed to address the violent behaviour of male prisoners in the Victorian Prison System. It is a 30 hour group program, run over 11 weeks, for prisoners who acknowledge that they have a problem with violent behaviour and wish to change their behaviour.

The Dandenong Aboriginal Community Justice Panel (Victoria)

Community Justice Panel Volunteer members assist arrested people by taking them home, to a sobering up centre or other appropriate place; or by ensuring that the person remaining in police custody has adequate care. The panel members are called by the police when an Aboriginal person is detained or arrested.

Western Australia Police School Based Program (Western Australia)

This school based police program is a police initiative aimed at dealing with issues directly relating to young people. It empowers young people to develop a positive attitude towards the law by educating, role modelling and providing support networks. The program reduces violence by educating young people on their rights and responsibilities, and providing an open forum for discussion. The ongoing presence of a police officer helps to shape a positive attitude towards police. Counselling, mediation and conflict resolution is provided to students, and activities are offered which provide an alternative to anti-social behaviour. Thirty-four high schools and 185 primary schools are involved.

The Negotiation Research and Evaluation Project (New South Wales)

This project was commenced to evaluate a number of factors contributing to high risk policing situations. The long-term goals are the collection and analysis of data derived from and related to high risk policing situations. Storing and retrieval of this information will facilitate evaluation of the negotiation process and lead to a better understanding of negotiation and its contribution to a peaceful resolution.

Six projects were sent letters recognising their achievement

Peacekeepers at Quaama (New South Wales)

Democratic class meetings are held which students chair. Children are taught alternatives to violence and mediation and conflict resolution techniques are developed. Children are now willing to bring disputes to negotiation and mediation. The Peacekeepers have a high profile and are very visible on the playground.

Control Theory and Reality Therapy at Biraban Public School (New South Wales)

The program creates a culture in which angry and violent children, along with all members of the school community, including staff, children, parents and community members, can learn and work in a peaceful, cooperative and non-threatening manner.

Enough is Enough (New South Wales)

A long term anti-violence program based on personal responsibility and reform by education. This project seeks to reduce violence by creating awareness of the impact and devastating effects of violence, and showing people that something positive can be achieved by looking to alternatives to violence.

It's in Your Hands! Conflict Resolution Program (Queensland)

A school based program aimed at eliminating bullying and violence. Children are taught conflict resolution skills. The children explain their role to the classroom and encourage students to come to them to sort out any problems they might have. Perpetrators of violence are shown that violence is unacceptable and that there are ways to avoid reaching a crisis situation.

Mirror Image (Queensland)

This program is a direct response to the plight of disadvantaged young people, particularly young offenders or those at risk. It is a training and development model that allows for simultaneous skill development and personal growth, and to help young people improve their capacity to make choices by way of accepting responsibility for their actions.

South West Family Contact Centre (Western Australia)

The centre provides supervised access for family contact both onsite and offsite, and a contact handover service. It has separate entrances so that contact between parents can be avoided while children visit the non-custodial parent. Custodial parents now feel their children are safer after using the supervised contact service. Examples are provided of improved relations between the parents as a result of using this service.