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The Art of Crime Prevention

February 23rd, 2014. Original Source




The Attorney-General Department’s Crime Prevention grants provide funding for projects that help to improve safety and wellbeing in communities across South Australia. The Beyond Art project did that in a unique way.

Run by youth support organisation HYPA (Helping Young People Achieve), Beyond Art began in 2011 upon being awarded a $50,000 crime prevention grant. The program run at Adelaide Youth Training Centre at Cavan - a facility designed to help rehabilitate young offenders -  used art to stimulate communication among young people, a practice known as art therapy.

’The program really encouraged the participants to look at a new way of communicating their emotions and feelings in a supportive, rehabilitative environment‘ said Sally-Ann Skewes, one of the HYPA counsellors who worked on Beyond Art.

The therapy activities revolved around the topics of values, the meaning of community, and victim awareness and understanding – to help increase overall consideration of the dangers and repercussions associated with committing crimes. It was designed specifically for youths who have already been sentenced (as opposed to those currently in remand), and who were identified as being open to the program and its values.

According to HYPA counsellor Rebecca Engelhardt, the artwork from across the four rounds of the program varied greatly.

’The program itself was structured in terms of lessons and discussions, but the participants weren’t specifically told what to do in terms of style and design and that allowed for each of the young people to really express themselves – and the artwork compiled by the completion of the project was both personalised and remarkable‘ Rebecca said.

’At the completion of the program we held a graduation-style event, where we auctioned off the work created by the young people who participated – and they chose three victim support groups to whom the funds would be donated.’

The three organisations sharing the profits were the Homicide Victim Support Group, the Road Trauma Support Team and the Victim Support Service Children’s Program in Port Augusta. These organisations are associated with the Victims of Crime Commission, which works to support people affected by crime in South Australia.

The Crime Prevention grants are designed to encourage communities to consider local crime prevention problems and solutions – grants have been given to support projects such as safety education, drug and alcohol abuse support, and the installation of safety lighting and CCTV cameras.

For Beyond Art the focus was to educate repeat offenders, with an aim to lessen the potential of reoffending. HYPA counsellors feel Beyond Art’s ability to actively involve participants has led to its impact.

Ms Englehardt said ‘The participants were more engaged because Beyond Art was a different take on an important subject, and they were able to have some freedom in expressing themselves.’

Overall, HYPA and its counsellors view the project as a win for all involved.

The program was a success and something that participants really wanted to hold onto, which is a fantastic measure of the effect it had.’

Sally Skewes - Art Therapy.jpg
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