Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Violence prevention: getting in early.



Download WordDownload Word

image

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

Minister for Justice & Customs

Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Senator for South Australia

 

121/98

Tuesday 24th November 1998

 

Violence prevention—getting in early

 

Anti-violence projects created for an by children were the stars at this year’s national Violence Prevention Awards announced today by the Federal Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone.

 

“These awards are important because early intervention plays a key role in preventing crime,” Senator Vanstone said.

 

“The Federal Government, through these awards and other initiatives such as the National Campaign Against Violence and Crime and model domestic violence laws, is taking the lead in crime prevention and demonstrating its commitment to reducing violence.

 

“The winners announced today show that much can be achieved at the local level and serve and an example to the wider community.”

 

Anti-violence projects created for and by children were the stars at this year’s National Violence Prevention Awards announced today by Federal Minister for Justice, Senator Amanda Vanstone.

 

Australians Against Child Abuse from Victoria were the overall national winners with two outstanding programs, The Children’s Sexual Behaviours Program and The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program.

 

Hampstead Primary School in South Australia also won a national award for its innovative project, And the Band Played On... and On . Each project has been rewarded with $10 000.

 

The Children’s Sexual Behaviour Program is a successful treatment and prevention model for children aged 5 to 11 who have displayed sexual behaviours which interfere with their normal development or are abusive towards others.

 

A first for Australia, children are supported to understand and consider the possibility of changing their behaviour to develop more respectful ways of interacting with others. 90% of participants have not repeated their sexual behaviours 12 months later.

 

The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program was the first school-based program in Australia aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of child sexual abuse by giving children, parents and teachers the information and skills to help prevent sexual abuse.

 

Since 1995 it has provided education and support to at least 6 000 children and young people from junior primary to upper secondary, through information and entertaining teaching strategies, including theatre performance, workshops and guest speakers.

 

And the Band Played On...And On has helped Hampstead Primary School and its local community dramatically reduce the incidence and severity of violence in the school and the community.

 

The program uses music and the arts as a tool for healing, self-improvement, group development and fun. Since its inception in 1995, school yard and classroom safety has improved by an estimated 60%.

 

Media Contact: Kevin Donnellan 0419 400 078

 

 

Background-Violence prevention awards

 

Early Intervention

 

Inspiration for the Children's Sexual Behaviours Program was drawn from the fact that a proportion of child victims of sexual a ssault in Australia showed aggressive behaviours and from the Program Coordinator's experience working as a clinical psychologist with adult sex offenders in the British prison system.

 

"I discovered 25% of incarcerated sexual offenders described having commenced their sexually aggressive behaviour between the ages of 7-10 years", Ms Jari Evertsz said.

 

Concerning sexual behaviour by children includes: inappropriate sexual touching of others; threats to carry out sexual behaviours to others; forcing others into sexual activity; sexual penetration of other children; masturbating in public; exposing private parts in public; and talking sexually to others which involves aggression or intimidation.

 

The 21 week program takes a non-stigmatising approach, focussing on the child's strengths and abilities. It aims to promote empathy for other's experiences and feelings; enhance communication and positive interaction; develop responsibility for and identify triggers to behaviour; provide alternative methods of dealing with difficult feelings; and improve children's self-esteem and self-confidence.

 

Since the program began in 1994, approx. 75% of participants have not required any further statutory intervention; participants and families report better communication and an increased sense of trust; and demand for the service has increased by 400%.

 

Co ntacts:

Jari Evertsz, ph (03) 9870 6261.

Kathy Mildren, Australian Institute of Criminology, ph (02) 6260 9237.

 

Education and Awareness

 

When the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program (CSAPP) was established in 1995, it was the first school-based sexual a buse prevention program in Australia.

 

CSAPP provides education and support to children from 5-18 years, and includes specialist programs for children with disabilities, children in care and homeless young people. In addition to child-focussed programs, CSAPP also provides workshops for parents, teachers and other professionals who work with youth.

 

An evaluation of the program indicated 5% of students who had participated in the program subsequently avoided a potentially abusive situation; and children and teachers had made substantial knowledge and skill gains.

 

Over 6000 children and young people have taken part in the program, which has also generated significant international interest, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Canada and the United Nations (Geneva).

 

Contacts:

Reina Michaelson, ph (03) 9431 4781.

Katfly Mildren, Australian Institute of Criminology, ph (02) 6260 9237.

 

 

The good f-words: fun, friendship and fellowship

 

A couple of years ago, Hampstead Primary School was considered disadvantaged . But one simple idea changed all that with a profound and lasting impact on its students, teachers and parents, as well as its local community and communities across Australia.

 

In 1995, the school community was concerned by high levels of vandalism, graffiti, break-ins and gang intimidation, and amongst the students physical fighting, harassment and teasing had reached an all time high.

 

Today, children and adults are thriving. The community is proud that the previous culture has been replaced by an atmosphere of empowerment, unity, pride, respect, tolerance and compassion.

 

The incidence and severity of violence in the school and the community have been dramatically reduced. Families are healthier and happier. Academic levels have improved, and the physical appearance and public image of the school have improved.

 

How did this remarkable turnaround come about? The school established the project, And the Band Played On ... And On, in the belief that:

 

* schools have a responsibility to create a safe environ ment, free of fear, violence and prejudice, and to develop the skills for productive citizenship and leadership; and

* all members of a school community have a responsibility to participate in and contribute to the greater well-being of the school, local and wider community.

 

School policies were reviewed and updated, and early intervention programs were established. Staff embarked on professional development and began working in supportive teaching teams. Students focussed on improving literacy, performing arts and social skills. Parents were supported with conflict resolution and parenting skills.

 

The Bushband, featuring singers from the school performing with a community band, was developed to build self-esteem, morale and link the school more to the community.

 

"All this resulted in tremendous positive energy and excitement in the school. At that point the children decided to focus on helping other people and working towards a safer society", said Christine Kerslake, School Principal.

 

The school has since fundraised and performed for many communities around Australia, such as Port Arthur, the Child/Adolescent Mental Health Unit of the Women's & Children's Hospital, drought affected communities, Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory and isolated communities of the Nullarbor.

 

Contacts:

Christine Kerslake, ph (08) 8261 2248.

Kathy Mildren, Australian Institute of Criminology, ph (02) 6260 9237.

Photo available from The Adelaide Advertiser.

 

 

 

rd