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Bravehearts’ Turning Corners today received a bronze award in the community-led category of the 2021 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA).
The ACVPA recognise best practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia and play a vital role in highlighting effective community-based initiatives to prevent crime and violence.
Bravehearts created the Turning Corners program to meet the needs of adolescents aged 12–17 who engage in harmful sexual behaviours. Previously, these adolescents did not have access to an early intervention approach and treatment was only available after they came in contact with the criminal justice system. The aim is to reduce the incidence of sexual harm to children from adolescents acting out harmful sexual behaviours.
CEO of Bravehearts, Alison Geale, said that Turning Corners offers therapeutic interventions and wrap-around supports to young people, and their family members and/or carers and significant others to achieve the best possible results for the young people referred to the program. The program is based upon a best practice approach, and
recognises that young people can engage in harmful sexual behaviours for a variety of reasons and that young people are not ’mini-paedophiles’.
“The primary focus of the program is the decrease in children and adolescents affected by peer on-peer or sibling harm and in people accessing mental health services due to child sexual assault,” said Ms Geale.
“The program has a holistic ecosystem approach that has resulted in improved educational and employment outcomes and increased community awareness and responsiveness,” said Ms Geale.
“Receiving this award is not only a validation and recognition of the program, but will also hopefully increase awareness of the importance of providing an early intervention approach for this cohort of young people,” she said.
These annual awards recognise the outstanding contributions being made across Australia for crime prevention, including the development and implementation of practical projects to reduce violence and other types of crime in the community.
“This great initiative targeting adolescents that engage in risky sexual behaviours employs an effective holistic support service to an extremely vulnerable community group.
The program addresses a growing and complex issue,” said Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) Director, Michael Phelan APM.
Queensland Police Service Commissioner Katarina Carroll congratulated the state’s winners on their extraordinary projects and for their dedication to keeping their communities safe.
“I am pleased to have presented a bronze award in the community sector to Bravehearts’ Turning Corners program for their work to reduce the incidence of sexual harm to children from adolescents acting out harmful sexual behaviours. Their work providing early intervention approaches and treatments is commendable,” she said.
All projects are assessed each year by the ACVPA Board, which is chaired by the AIC Director and consists of senior law enforcement representatives from each state and territory police service.
The awards are a joint Australian Government, state and territory initiative administered by the AIC.
For more information about the award winners, visit www.aic.gov.au/acvpa
To watch the ceremony please visit the YouTube channel, CriminologyTV.
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