Local MP Andrew Hastie, David Templeman MLA, Telethon researcher Megan Ansell, and representatives from schools and support organisations gathered at Lotteries House Mandurah to celebrate the launch of the Peel Alliance Interventions for Teen Anger and Violence (PAITAV) on Thursday.
The alliance gathers local organisations, government entities and NGOs under the same banner to team up in the fight against youth violence and abuse in the Peel region.
The initiative was first drafted by local youth violence expert and Peel Youth Services worker Tanya Langford in an attempt to raise awareness about the issue and the solutions at reach within Western Australia.
Ms Langford said there’s a lack of knowledge regarding youth violence and abuse in Western Australia, and hoped the initiative helped to make services available more accessible to families and teenagers.
“There’s a lack of awareness and attention in Western Australia,” she said.
“This framework makes it easier to connect families and services.”
The PAITAV is the first one of its kind in Western Australia and focuses on four main programs provided by different organisations across the region.
All programs tackle different stages and profiles of youth violence as well as different age ranges.
“It’s very exciting,” Ms Langford said.
“We are setting a benchmark for other organisations across Australia.”
Ms Langford hopes the court and justice system recognises the value of the alliance and gets involved in the project by providing court orders and referrals for the services.
At the presentation afternoon tea, representatives from the organisations involved in the alliance talked about their youth violence projects and shared their experiences and advice with the members of the public.
Emotional Regulation and Anger Management
The service provided by Down South Therapy aims to provide early intervention for behaviour and anger probelms in 12 to 15 year-olds.
It focuses on helping youth identify and regulate their feelings and reactions through games and activities, as well as providing them with appropriate responses.
Down South Therapy worker Jodie Heath said the organisation would operate based at the Peel Youth Services office on Fridays but would also travel to schools, offices and centres upon request.
Peaceful Pathways to Conflict Resolution
The initiative by the independent, international NGO Alternatives to Violence Project works on reducing anger and violence among teenagers.
NGO member Mark Newhouse said the program is based on experiential workshops to build communication, cooperation and conflict resolution skills.
Their Help Increase the Peace program is currently being implemented in primary schools.
This is a state government run program based on traditional clinical psychology aimed at reducing extreme anti-social behaviour, anger and violence among the youth.
Program worker Anita Maketic said the program seeks a collaboration between families, peers, schools, neighbours and other actors in order to address underlying psychological issues.
The program, first implemented in the United States, aims at addressing issues regarding abuse and violence in the home by the youth.
The program, one of the only ones of its sort in Western Australia, is ready to start operating next month.
“We are over the moon to say we are ready to accept referrals for Step Up,” youth violence expert Tanya Langford said.
PAITAV will also arrange education programs for schools and parents as well as individual counselling and family therapy.
To find out more about the services call Peel Youth Services (08) 9581 3365.