Codes 4 Life Financial Year 2020/21: A year-in-review

Aug 18, 2021

Services: Codes 4 Life, Desert Leadership

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.

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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.

Codes 4 Life deliv­er­ies in the finan­cial year 2020 – 21.

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.

Other DKA Stories

The identity of an Aboriginal man: Codes 4 Life visits Tennant Creek

Jun 07, 2022

Codes 4 Life delivers a workshop in Tennant Creek featuring 21 participants, and three Elders of the Alyawerre, Warlpiri and Warramunga people.

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