Frankston's Big hART organisation has received a grant of $240,000 through the Crime Prevention Innovation Fund.

The funding will support their ‘Something to Talk About’ project, an initiative aiming to provide creative educational content, by way of peer programs. It targets young people in Frankston North, aged 10-15 who are in danger of either carrying out or experiencing family violence.

The project aims to involve students during the years of transition between primary school and high school that are at risk of:

  • witnessing
  • experiencing, or
  • committing coercive control.

During this time peer groups shift, and coercive control can emerge amongst bullying behaviours peer to peer. This is also a time when young people make new kinds of interpersonal relationships.

‘Something to Talk About’ uses digital art workshops that involve designing creative content to share their message about preventing coercive control within the community. Participants will also share the message with their student peers in Year 5-8 across Frankston North.

This project is testing new approaches to family violence in a high-risk area, with promising new practices based on Big hART’s four stream layered approach. The project focuses on young people and community assets to drive a cultural shift from peer to peer.

The four streams are: 

  1. Culturally appropriate engagement workshops run by mentors from the creative industry that focus on capturing data and understanding behaviours.
  2. Digital skills and narrative workshops. This is to encourage discovery, discussions and understanding of interpersonal behaviour through story telling via film, audio or digital art.
  3. Young people share their content with the community which allows and supports the perception of safety in the community.
  4. Voice, agency, media – cultural shift. This encourages the young people involved to take control of their media platforms in a meaningful way to increase the impact of their newfound voice.

The basis for this approach is to show the community how young people can and are creating change, now and into the future. It also works to build local crime prevention capability from the ground up.

In this way, capability and community perceptions are enhanced for the future, while targeted change is taking place in the present.

Big hART completed ‘taster’ workshops in late 2021. These were used as an introductory platform to the workshops that commenced in 2022, and also to increase engagement of young people.

Term one workshops, ‘Engagement and Creative’, have concluded. Big hART are now focusing on collating content developed throughout term one to showcase at their community event.

The Building Safer Communities Program is a core component of the government’s Crime Prevention Strategy with an investment of over $19.4 million across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 State Budgets. The Building Safer Communities Program comprises a range of grants and community forums to support Victorian councils and community organisations to deliver innovative projects to address the causes of crime and improve community safety.