Wyndham community safety project
The Wyndham Citizens’ Academy (the Academy) is a new program in Melbourne’s west providing participants with an opportunity to learn more about Victoria Police and the criminal justice system in Victoria.
The Academy was developed following community forums in Point Cook, Werribee, and Hoppers Crossing in late 2017 as part of the Wyndham Community Safety Network.
At the community forums, residents identified the local safety concerns that matter the most to them. A key safety theme for Wyndham residents was to have a stronger connection with their local police. Other concerns raised were theft and burglary and disengaged young people.
The eight-week Academy program is designed for community members from diverse language and cultural backgrounds to help build on the strong relationships police have with the Wyndham’s diverse community and help them to gain a thorough understanding of the justice system.
A group of 18 Wyndham residents aged 18 to 68 are participating in the first phase of the program, running from February to May. The second phase of the program will start in July 2019.
About the program
The Academy was developed by the Wyndham Community Safety Committee, comprising Victoria Police, Department of Justice and Community Safety, Wyndham City Council, Odyssey House, WEstjustice, VicRoads, and community members. It is being delivered by Wyndham Community and Education Centre (Wyndham CEC).
With a focus on the three branches of government, the legislative, the executive and judiciary, the Academy ‘walks’ participants through Victoria’s Parliamentary system (making of law), to the Victoria Police (carrying out the law), the Courts (interpreting the law and providing deterrence) and the administration of justice by the Department of Justice and Community Safety (management of laws, offender services and consumer rights).
The Academy also explores some of the programs that exist to intervene or prevent youth crime; the role and influence of the media, and how mediation can provide an alternative pathway to traditional justice.
The first program intake commenced in February, with 18 participants from a diverse range of backgrounds taking part, including Indian, South Sudanese, Ethiopian, Somali, Malaysian and Filipino.
As part of the Academy, participants took a tour of Victoria’s Parliament House, watched Question Time and met with their local Member of Parliament, the Hon. Tim Pallas.
Other Academy sessions included:
- a tour of Wyndham North Police Station to learn about the role of police and the community in preventing and responding to crime
- a visit to the Sunshine Magistrates Court and heard about the role of Courts in Victoria in interpreting law, preventing and deterring crime and sentencing
- a visit to the Department of Justice and Community Safety office in Wyndham to learn about justice administration and services delivered by the department such as Births, Deaths, and Marriages; working at the department; and Consumer Affairs
- a tour of a community legal centre to learn about the services and programs offered such as help navigating consumer law, infringements, motor vehicle accidents, tenancy, family law and more
- learning about the role of community organisations that are working to prevent and disrupt youth crime in Wyndham.
In June 2019, Wyndham CEC hosted a graduation event for participants of the first phase of ‘A walk through justice’ and celebrated the success of the initial Citizens Academy.
A documentary about the experience of participants was also shown on the night, showcasing how the participants’ understanding and appreciation of the justice system within Victoria evolved through their program journey.
You can watch the documentary on Wyndham CEC’s YouTube channel.
Anyone interested in participating in the second intake of the program can register their interest with Wyndham CEC by calling 9742 4013.
Photo: Wyndham Citizens' Academy graduation
Find out more
- Keep in touch with your local police and let them know what’s important to you by following the Wyndham Eyewatch Facebook page.
- Find out more about your local Neighbourhood Watch at nhw.com.au
- For crime prevention tips and resources visit crimeprevention.vic.gov.au
- Find out more about community safety initiatives in Wyndham on the Community Safety Statement 2018/19 website.
- Read the latest crime statistics for Wyndham by downloading a one-page fact sheet from the Crime Statistics Agency Victoria.