The Empowering Communities grants is part of the Building Safer Communities Program which includes grants and a series of community forums across Victoria.
The targeted Empowering Communities program is designed to support local communities design and lead innovative initiatives to address the causes of crime and improve perceptions of safety. Communities are identified based on an analysis of crime and social data to ensure investment is targeted to areas where it is needed most. Other considerations such as community readiness for action and the opportunity to build on and complement local community safety efforts will also help to inform the selection of communities for investment.
The Empowering Communities stream has an emphasis on collaboration, partnerships and leveraging contributions across government and community agencies to address local crime and safety issues in identified local government areas. All Empowering Communities projects must include an evaluation. A reasonable portion of grant funding may be used to resource a research organisation to support evaluation activities and capability building as part of the project.
- build the capability of the community to understand crime related issues and design and implement effective crime prevention approaches
- strengthen relationships between community stakeholders to work in partnership to deliver crime prevention activity, and leverage community capacity to deliver sustainable outcomes beyond the funding period
- engage and mobilise the community to address issues of local concern
- build the evidence base for successful community development initiatives that address crime and safety issues.
Local Action Groups
In each location, Action Groups will be established, bringing together local community expertise with the shared interest of improving safety and addressing crime in their area.
A Building Safer Communities forum will be held early in the initiative to consider local crime and community safety issues and to inform future activity. Based on the issues discussed at the forum and other consultation and analysis, the Action Group will develop an agreed common goal, proposed activities to achieve the goal and an evaluation method to be used throughout the initiative to measure ongoing and overall success.
This illustration shows the key stages to setting up a strong initiative.
Funding is provided through a targeted grant process open to selected priority communities, which have been identified based on an analysis of crime and social data.
The Brimbank, Hume and Melton local government areas were approved for funding through Round 1. Action Groups have been established in each municipality comprising local and state government representatives, Victoria Police and community organisations. Following a Building Safer Communities forum in each area, the Action Groups have considered local crime and safety needs and established common goals, and are now developing activities for the period to June 2024.
Further information on each of these initiatives will be posted soon.
The Knox, Casey, Greater Dandenong, Ballarat, Greater Shepparton and Wyndham local government areas were approved for funding through Round 2. Planning for Building Safer Communities forums in Casey and Greater Dandenong is underway. Other forums will be held in approved municipalities in 2022.
The Empowering Communities Round 2 recipients were selected based on a targeted Expression of Interest process open to 16 councils with identified need and opportunities to improve community safety and address crime.