Inaugural Youth Mentoring Projects Against Radical Ideologies Underway

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia ( April 13, 2011

Inaugural Youth Mentoring Projects Against Radical Ideologies Underway

Inaugural Youth Mentoring Projects Against Radical Ideologies Underway

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell today visited the Youth Centre at Hume City Council in Melbourne to discuss a ground-breaking local project being developed to help mentor young people away from extremist ideologies.

“The Hume Anti Violent Extremism Youth (HAVEY) Project is one of the inaugural recipients of a community grant under the Australian Government’s Building Community Resilience Youth Mentoring Grants Program,” Mr McClelland said.

“The Australian Government will provide Hume City Council with a $200,000 grant to run the HAVEY Project, which will focus on supporting young people through individual and group mentoring.

“The HAVEY Project is one of only seven projects from around Australian that received grants as part of the program.”

The project will comprise:

•  mentoring by cultural leaders, youth workers and police youth liaison officers;

•  training sessions on topics such as social connectedness, discrimination, advocacy and developing positive relationships;

•  promoting cross-cultural understanding between young people from different ethnic groups; and

•  participation in community events and recreational activities.

The Building Community Resilience – Youth Mentoring Grants Program is a key part of the Government’s $9.7 million investment in counter radicalisation initiatives.

“The program funds  activities that directly support young people away from intolerant and radical ideologies and encourage positive participation in the community,” Mr McClelland said.

Mr McClelland and Mr Mitchell today met with the staff, youth workers and community members who will be participating in the project.

“Research shows a range of personal experiences can make young people more vulnerable to extremist messages, for example: discrimination, prejudice and marginalisation, social isolation, and worries about employment and educational opportunities,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Through this program, we want to help young people develop skills to deal with these issues in a positive way, while at the same time reducing the appeal of extremist or radical ideologies.

“We have a rich and vibrant mix of nationalities in this area – we come from more than 140 countries and speak more than 125 different languages.  It’s great that we can bring these projects to Sunbury and Craigieburn.

“We all benefit from more inclusive and resilient communities and projects like this demonstrate the way the Government can work with communities to achieve that goal,” Mr Mitchell said.

Domenic Isola, Hume City Council Chief Executive, believes that early intervention and support are vitally needed for youth who show signs of extremism.

“Hume City Council is working hard with service providers and the community to address significant disadvantage in terms of education, employment, violence and mental health issues across our municipality,” Mr Isola said.

“Projects like HAVEY can introduce young people to alternative pathways and provide them with the skills to make better choices for themselves and their communities.”

Young people will be referred to the HAVEY Project through local welfare agencies, schools and police.

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