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Location: Home Resources Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

The Royal Commission put a spotlight on a group of people who required support and there was a need to develop a base level service quickly to respond to these needs. Programs were delivered from three service points; Katherine, Darwin and Alice Springs. These services utilised the existing infrastructure within Relationships Australia NT to establish a service quickly; offices were co-located and some staff were moved across from other RA teams. Other staff were recruited to positions from outside of the organisation. The focus was to quickly establish coverage across the Northern Territory and position the service to be ready to respond to community needs.

I'm Not Crime

The Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory team at RA provided services to those affected by the Royal Commission. One of the most successful programs was I'm Not Crime.

Relationships Australia ran a group program called ‘I’m Not Crime’ in 2018. The young men who participated in this music event gave the Royal Commission team information every day about our service and about how we can do it better. They gave us a lot of feedback through conversations and through video interviews. Their music told us stories about what we need to consider when working with young people who have been in contact with the justice system.

The objectives of I’m Not Crime were to support youth and strengthen community relations between young people and families through positive engagement. To reconnect young people with culture and country through culturally appropriate activities facilitated by Aboriginal Elders who can share the spiritual, physical and emotional connections to country. Educate youth about services available to them and their families. Create a healthy conversation around youth crime between young people, elders, families and organizations. To fill a gap for culturally appropriate activities during school holidays and strengthen connections between relevant services involved. Lastly the program aimed to create a song that the participants could be proud of and be utilised as educational purposes in the future.

All participants were young Indigenous men who are currently involved in the criminal justice system. Activities were delivered in collaboration with other services providers and met the intended outcomes.

Young people attending the activity were engaged in an activity that diverted them from participating in anti-social behaviour and provided feedback clearly outlining that. The elements of the projects that worked well were attractive a cohort of young people who usually don’t engage with services in an activity that allowed them to identify strengths, and to provide a pathway to ongoing service delivery.

The feedback from the program was very positive with participants noting that “It was good to get me up out of bed”. It was diversionary, “If I wasn’t here, I’d be at home just bored, or ….[taking] drugs, the wrong crowd, the wrong people”. And, that it had a positive effect “It felt good compared to last week”; “I reckon a program like this could be revolutionary…… it has been an outreach to us, it has helped us a lot…..more than anybody else could have.”

Listen to the I'm Not Crime song via Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/j-mangohig/i-am-not-crime-1st-mix/s-zWcQP

Healing Camp

The Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory team at RA provided services to those affected by the Royal Commission. One such program was Healing Camp which engaged with Arrente elders to share cultural knowledge with young people. The Healing Camp brought together people from the Akeyulerre Healing Centre and a group home visiting program in a culturally safe and careful way.

 

The importance of belonging in social and emotion wellbeing (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council, 2004) indicates the need for keeping people connected to their culture and communities. Healing Camp resulted from understanding the cultural and social needs of young people. Aside from developing the team’s capacity to understand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges, RA’s Aboriginal and Indigenous Cultural Advisors carried out camps that engaged youth with culture and community.

By working to resurface culture with young people, RA’s Royal Commission team have offered something unique to young people. These experiences are a resistance to the degradation of culture experienced by Aboriginal people through colonisation. It is argued that by presenting powerful associations with land, traditional stories and family responsibilities, these programs have the potential to foster resilience and support positive choices. Highly skilled workers developed a culturally active therapeutic practice that was well accepted by participants.

One participant noted, “They should have more of this. More workers. Workers that can show us how to be. There should be more cultural activities, show them how to do things they can’t do at home, and art programs.”

Young people who have been in contact with the justice system have in other forums been described as ‘difficult to engage’. Healing camp demonstrated that when the content is culturally active and the supports are in place, young people can be very engaged. They learnt real skills and real knowledges that can be translated into their lives and used to guide. This work is grown from Indigenous knowledge. It is innovative and presents an excellent model for future design and warrants further interest.

I'm Not Crime ABC Radio Interview

Relationships Australia ran a group program called ‘I’m Not Crime’ in 2018. The young men who participated in this music event gave the Royal Commission team information every day about our service and about how we can do it better. They shared their stories through music and interview. ABC Radio's Kate O'Toole came to check out the program in January 2018.

I'm Not Crime ABC Radio Interview - Read More…

Presentation of the Evaluation Report

This presentation is a collection of stories about the team that was set up by Relationships Australia, NT, to provide support to people affected by Royal Commission.

This presentation has been created to share with young people, families and service providers who were involved in the Royal Commission programs. The purpose of the presentation is to share knowledge with other service providers and organisations working with young people. Furthermore this evaluation will inform funding bodies and those working in policy of priorities and decisions regarding services in this sector. Relationships Australia NT want others to benefit from the outcomes and knowledge gained over the last two years.

Jacqueline Dysart, qualified social worker and researcher, worked with the RA-RC team to carry out this evaluation.

The evaluation of the Relationships Australia Royal Commission program made seven recommendations for providing a strong service for young people in the justice system:

  1. Community Engagement is viewed as an essential, underpinning activity for understanding needs. Time is allocated for yarning
  2. AICA’s and Clinician develop culturally active approaches to mental health in partnership
  3. Outreach services to prisons for 12 – 25year olds
  4. Strong cultural programs carried out by strong cultural leaders
  5. Programs that actively assist young people connect with family
  6. Ongoing activities to support continued engagement with workers
  7. Outside of the Justice and child protection systems

Evaluation Report of Services to the Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the NT

The Evaluation Report is a collection of stories about the team that was set up by Relationships Australia, NT, to provide support to people affected by Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

PDF document icon RA-RC Evaluation Report.pdf — PDF document, 8902 kB (9115902 bytes)

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