Codes 4 Life Financial Year 2020/21: A year-in-review
Aug 18, 2021
The DKA flagship project’s primary focus is to reconnect Aboriginal men with cultural identity, responsibilities and community, while simultaneously addressing substance abuse and unlawful behaviour. Codes 4 Life encourages participants to engage in self-reflection, and find strength in one’s role in their community.
In the financial year 2020 – 21, Codes 4 Life built on the previous year’s efforts, and worked to enhance the delivery of programs for Aboriginal men’s wellbeing. The team focused on improving knowledge about men’s health, and increased awareness about the effects of substance abuse.
Codes 4 Life Ex-Project Officer Wayne Scrutton and Manager Michael Liddle were responsible for the progress made in the financial year 2020 – 2021.
In addition to the program’s core objectives, Codes 4 Life outlined three focus areas which strengthened deliveries, and supported its strategic direction:
1. Accelerating the impact of partnerships
To maximize the value of local service providers, the team worked closely with CASSE Australia and the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre to improve the scope of deliveries. Codes 4 Life also entered a formal partnership with Victims of Crime NT, which allows the program to expand its impact in four Central Australian localities, with a significant focus on breaking the cycle of violence
2. Facilitating conversations about domestic violence
Having previously addressed domestic violence and sexual abuse in past workshops, the team moved to highlight the primary and secondary impacts of these actions and its ripple effect. Codes 4 Life also collaborated with community safety groups, and examined the cycle of domestic violence with workshop participants.
3. Understanding the brain and human psychology
To advance the program’s competency and support more meaningful engagement with clients, Manager Michael Liddle completed a Mental Health Assessment & Suicide Prevention training by Indigenous Psychological Services. The team also collaborated with Don Dale Youth Detention Centre’s psychologist to provide culturally appropriate engagement with Indigenous youth.
In FY 2020 – 21, Codes 4 Life hosted 10 workshops incorporating reinforced messaging, which were spread across six Central Australian towns and communities. The workshops had a combined attendance of 143 Aboriginal men, with 97% reporting positive outcomes and cultural knowledge improvement. These deliveries supported the employment and meaningful engagement of 16 Aboriginal men, including the program’s manager, co-facilitators, and Elders.
“We spent a lot of time going out to workshops to see what was working, what wasn’t, what was needed to improve the workshop’s reception, and how to get men to engage better,” says Michael.
“We put in extra work, extra effort. We looked at workshop methods on the Internet; worked with specialist services; and increased engagement with local service providers such as St John Ambulance, the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities, and women’s safety groups. We also broke down the invisible wall by bringing women in to speak at our workshops, because the issues we are dealing with are no longer only men’s business.
“What has worked well is bringing in [the Department of] Territory Families, and having men’s health conversations led by [Central Australian Aboriginal] Congress. These conversations have made men more aware of the need to be better fathers, and the need to practice better health.”
In addition to Codes 4 Life activities, Michael sustained his commitment to the Central Australian community with his involvement in important topics affecting the region, such as water usage in the Barkly region; gambling, alcohol and drug use linked to stimulus payments; secondary cross-border alcohol sales, and other social issues affecting Alice Springs.
He also continued to assist the Northern Territory Government and local service providers with the NT’s COVID-19 pandemic response by advocating for and promoting the distribution of vaccines at targeted locations and to the wider Aboriginal community.