Where we are up to
Three community-based intensive youth diversion programs are in progress. Prior to the state-wide COVID-19 restrictions, the Aboriginal Wellness Foundation (AWF) continued to deliver cultural mentoring sessions that focus on the cultural strengthening for young people and families including teaching traditional knowledge and practices such as song, dance, storytelling, artefact making, traditional games, roles and responsibilities and healthy lifestyle choices.
As part of the COVID-19 response, AWF has suspended face-to-face activities including weekly cultural mentoring sessions, mentor meetings and cultural camps for this coming school holidays. AWF is exploring opportunities to maintain community engagement remotely and continue to provide mentoring and support to the young people and families connected to the program.
Dardi Munwurro has continued to deliver Bramung Jaarn ‘Brothers walking together’ in Gunai language (previously the Journeys program). Bramung Jaarn supports young Aboriginal males aged 10 to 18 years. Dardi Munwurro has adapted its service delivery model to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions which includes remote group sessions and the establishment of the 24-hour, seven day a week Brother to Brother hotline.
Brother to Brother delivers a non-contact service option that provides immediate support and assessment to ensure community and family safety along with follow up and referrals. Dungulayin Mileka Massive Murray Paddle (MMP), auspiced through the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Associated Limited, is working closely with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) to reshape and expand the MMP program delivery model. It is unlikely the MMP event will be delivered in its existing form in 2020. A decision regarding the scope of the 2020 MMP resulting from COVID-19 restrictions will be taken in due course.
Through Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja, the fourth phase of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA4), the Victorian Government and the Aboriginal community are committed to improving justice outcomes and reducing negative contact with the justice system. Community-Based, Intensive Diversion Programs were one of the funded initiatives announced under AJA4. Community-Based, Intensive Diversion Programs will target Aboriginal children and young people who have had, or are vulnerable to, involvement with the criminal justice system to address factors contributing to offending.