In December, Clean Slate Without Prejudice and Never Going Back initiatives won gold at the National Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards. The awards recognise good practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia. The awards encourage public initiatives, and assist governments in identifying and developing practical projects which will reduce violence and other types of crime in the community.
Clean Slate Without Prejudice program has been running since 2009 and consists of a boxing and fitness program at the National Indigenous Centre of Excellence gymnasium in Redfern. It also involves the active participation of community leaders and police officers from the Redfern Local Area Command.
The Never Going Back program targets Aboriginal inmates who are nearing the completion of their custodial sentences. They are collected from Long Bay Correctional Centre three times a week at to attend boxing with Clean Slate Without Prejudice and receive training for employment.
Both these programs are part of the Tribal Warrior Mentoring initiative which is a grass roots community, holistic exercise, assistance and referral program designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
The mentoring concept is simple in design. It’s all about forming good habits, guiding by example, acknowledging achievements and including everyone.
Participants gets into the habit of getting up early in the morning, to train together as a group.
The program is not just for encouraging sport participation and discipline, but also provides participants with Indigenous culture and language classes and takes excursions to places of cultural significance to learn the history of important sites and their heritage.
Mentor Eunice Grimes says, “We’re all about embracing, accepting and encouraging people to make sure they stay on the right track.”
The program creates a supportive family environment so that everyone feels at home and is encouraged when milestones are reached.
In December 2016 Tribal Warrior Mentors Eunice Grimes and Lavina Phillips, along with mentees Grace Niuqila and Lena Riley talked to the ABC about Tribal Warrior’s Mentoring Program. ABC News: Meet the Indigenous women using boxing to fight crime in Redfern.