More than $1.5 million in grants have been awarded to programs to empower and re-engage Koori young people through camps, sporting activities, workshops and education to help prevent them from coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

Across Victoria 25 community-based partnership projects have been funded under the Koori Youth Crime Prevention Grants, a partnership between the Department of Justice and Regulation’s Community Crime Prevention Unit and Koori Justice Unit.

The grants focus on Koori youth aged between eight and 17 years old and their families across the state, and aim to support Koori Youth Justice Workers and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to provide early intervention activities that target youth at risk and provide a pre-charge diversion option for police and courts.

Projects include:

  • Ngwala Willumbong has been awarded $150,000 to provide Koori youth from Melbourne’s southern suburbs with weekly activities that promote positive lifestyles, cultural strengthening, employment readiness, health and wellbeing and independent living.
  • Koori youth in Orbost, Lake Tyers, Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale will have access to affordable sport, cultural and recreational activities, with an $83,000 grant to be used to promote physical and mental wellbeing during school holidays and weekends.
  • The Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative will use $36,240 in funding to empower and inspire Koori youth through regular meetings in Geelong and Colac. The sessions will involve a wide range of guest speakers and focus on cultural connection, education opportunities and local initiatives.

Other successful projects include programs that draw on the Koori kinship systems, cultural identity, spirituality, community and traditional knowledge, as well as those that address risk factors.

The Koori Youth Crime Prevention Grants acknowledge that Koories have disproportionately high rates of disadvantage and are significantly over-represented in the criminal justice system, and support projects that deliver a range of early intervention, prevention and diversion programs.

The grants are funded through the government’s $19.4 million investment in the Community Crime Prevention Program, as part of the $10 million Youth Crime Prevention Grants program.

A full list of the funded projects can be found on our website.

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