The Sports Alliance (the Alliance) brings together leading Victorian sporting organisations to design and implement initiatives to engage and support young people to help prevent offending. The project will also connect young people with sport and recreation opportunities to support successful transitions out of the criminal justice system.
The Alliance comprises leaders of Victorian sporting codes from the AFL, rugby, soccer, basketball and netball. The Alliance provides advice to the government and delivers projects supporting young people to help build safer Victorian communities.
$1.4 million has been allocated for Sports Alliance initiatives to mid-2021 as part of a broader $11.3 million package of support for Victoria’s multicultural and multi-faith communities to assist in recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.
Sports Alliance Projects
Initial projects have supported vulnerable people and communities during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, such as through online mentoring programs. Projects include:
- The Community Action Netball Project will work with young people aged 12 to 17 in the Kensington and Shepparton areas, combining netball skills training with personal development sessions to help young people build self-confidence and resilience, learn about teamwork and leadership, and to support their health and mental wellbeing.
- Melbourne Storm’s In League in Harmony project supporting young people aged 14-18 years from multicultural backgrounds in the Hume and Casey LGAs who are at risk of disengagement and contact with the justice system. In Hume and Casey the project will support young people from Pasifika and refugee backgrounds.
- An enhanced In League in Harmony model to support up to 480 young people at risk aged 13-16 years to address risk factors for offending and build protective factors with specific focus on young people from Pasifika backgrounds. A Youth Advocates stream will also be provided for up to fifty young people aged 16-18 years who have previously completed the ILIH program.
- Football Victoria’s Empowering Lives Through Football Program will be delivered to up to 40 young people aged 12-15 years that are experiencing challenges. Individual participant plans with tailored goals will be developed for each participant and Football Victoria will deliver eight online sessions to assist participants in achieving these goals.
Further Sports Alliance projects are under development for commencement in early 2021.
Models of support for young people who are involved in the youth justice system are also being developed, and work has begun to establish a ‘sports academy’ in custodial settings, in line with government’s Youth Justice Strategic Plan.
As COVID-19 restrictions ease, there will be an opportunity to. transition programs for young people into face-to-face settings.
Evaluations of the projects will help to build an evidence base of the impact sport can have on supporting young people to prevent offending behaviour and promote community cohesion and safety.