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Police launch new program in schools to combat youth violence

Wednesday, 24 August 2022 10:26:48 AM

A new anti-violence program featuring sporting influencers and ambassadors will be delivered in thousands of schools from this week to reduce youth violence in the community.

The NSW Police Force today launched the initiative in partnership with the NSW Department of Education, NSW Advocate for Children & Young People and the PCYC.

The program consists of a 10-minute video featuring influencers from various sporting codes who share their personal experiences and stance against violence.

The video will be played to thousands of young people in secondary schools, juvenile justice centres and out of hours school care settings by the end of the year.

Commissioner Karen Webb said a whole of community approach was needed to prevent public acts of violence involving young people.

“We have been working on this campaign to put a stop to the incidents of violence that have played out on our streets and have had a considerable impact on community safety,” Commissioner Webb said.

“It supports our current youth engagement strategies which are centred around prevention, intervention and diversion. The anti-violence program will be delivered by our Youth Engagement Officers who already attend schools across the state.

“The key to long and lasting change is working with young people and engaging them to ensure they make good decisions.

“A key part of this is making sure they understand the consequences of their actions, so that they think twice when making those tough decisions in the future.”

Earlier this year, the NSW Police Force launched its Sporting Partnership Industry Program with state sporting clubs and PCYC clubs to engage young people who are at risk of anti-social behaviour or criminal offending.

This program is an evolution of that partnership which aims to divert at-risk youth into meaningful activities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the program aimed to connect with young people using well-known influencers in the community.

“Role models, sports personalities and successful young leaders are perfectly positioned to reach out and engage with young people and steer them on the right path,” Mr Toole said.

“We know our police do a great job engaging with those at risk through a range of programs, but like the home environment, schools also play a role in shaping young people’s decisions as it’s where they spend much of their time.”

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said a number of youth engagement strategies involving police were delivered in schools across the state.

“We all have a common goal of wanting to see our young people achieve the very best life,” Ms Mitchell said.

“This program is about educating today’s youth and inspiring them to make good decisions by learning from the mistakes of others. The choices they make today will impact their futures.”

The program features well known sporting influencers and ambassadors including Sonny Bill Williams, Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Ivan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Chloe Dalton (Giants & Rugby Seven), Monalisa Soliola (St George/ Illawarra Dragons) and Simaima Taufu (Paramatta Eels).