Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Using the power of education to tackle violence

Innovative programs to tackle family and community violence at the grass roots level will be rolled out in 14 Indigenous communities across the country with $860,000 in Rudd Government funding.

The Families Minister, Jenny Macklin said organisations including the Red Cross and the Australian Rugby League would be supported by the Rudd Government in their work to tackle violence and abuse and reduce its destructive impact on families.

“The Rudd Government values the partnerships we have with these organisations and the contribution they are making to change community attitudes towards violence and abuse,” Ms Macklin said.

“We also understand that to be effective, programs must be relevant and engaging. That’s why we are supporting projects which use imaginative strategies to capture the interest of their audience.

“For example, one of the programs has taken the anti-violence message to the stage; another uses Indigenous stories to engage young Indigenous people.”

Four organisations will share in almost $560,000 to deliver programs including school based lessons, interactive workshops, peer education programs and counseling support.

  • In the Hunter Valley in NSW, Wandiyali ATSI Inc, will create a new resource for schools and juvenile detention centres targeted at 12-15 year olds that through Dreamtime legends will demonstrate the importance of respectful relationships.
  • Link-Up NSW Aboriginal Corporation in the Blue Mountains, NSW, will hold weekly cultural workshops to develop self-esteem and respect, as well as sexual health education information sessions. The project is targeted at young men in the Penrith Adolescent Centre within Blaxland High School.
  • Dirtywork Comedy Pty Ltd, in Melbourne, Victoria, will adapt its stage play “No Means No Show” on stopping sexual violence to target Indigenous audiences, and develop an internet portal for online youth counseling and information for parents and carers.
  • Akeyulerre Inc in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory will support senior Indigenous men to mentor and educate young people, including through bush activities that promote respect between men and women.

In addition, with $150,000 in funding, the Australian Red Cross will deliver RespectED, an innovative violence-prevention, education program in Maningrida and in and around Tennant Creek.

“The program will train at least 12 Red Cross staff to become RespectED trainers, who will in turn deliver accredited training to Indigenous community members to become Community Prevention Educators“, Ms Macklin said.

Community Prevention Educators will be carefully selected from respected people in these communities including elders, child care workers, Indigenous health workers and police liaison officers. They will be screened and will, over time, be trained to deliver programs such as:

  • Walking the Prevention Circle‘, a workshop aimed at enabling and supporting community members to define abuse and violence, understand its origins and begin creating a safer environment; and
  • Be Safe! – a personal safety program aimed at four-to-nine-year-olds with a focus on child sexual abuse prevention. It combines story telling, puppetry and hands-on activities to pass on lessons about personal safety.

“The Australian Government is also providing a one-off grant of $150,000 to the Australian Rugby League as part our Tackling Violence program for 2010.

“The funding, announced last Saturday with the NSW Government, will support education and training workshops aimed at reducing domestic violence and alcohol-related violence and raising awareness on these issues.

“Each of these innovative projects help to educate communities about the choices they have in their day to day lives to reject violence.

“If we are to succeed in creating a safer community, we need all Australians to stand together and say no to violence and abuse in our communities,” Ms Macklin said.