The information session held on Tuesday included representatives from Greater Shepparton City Council, Kildonan Uniting Care, Ethnic Council of Shepparton, Victoria Police, GOTAFE, the Shepparton Interfaith Network and other community organisations.
The purpose of the session was to illustrate how to develop resilience in the community and how awareness of local community resources builds a stronger community. Where challenges arise in the community, a whole-of-community approach works best, Hass Dellal told. Multiculturalism is embedded in the Australian way of life, and over 86% of people in Australia say that multiculturalism is a good thing - as shown the Scanlon-Monash index of social cohesion. Respect and tolerance of differences strengthen the community.
Based on the Community Awareness Training Manual, presented and developed by the Australian Multicultural Foundation, participants were introduced to the program designed for Australian communities to assist in building resilience, increase awareness and understanding and dispel some misconceptions.
Community Awareness Training Manual
The Australian Multicultural Foundation has developed the Community Awareness Training Manual: Building Resilience in the Community, which delivers the knowledge, understanding and skills required for participants to be able to deliver information in the community about: recognising anti-social behaviours, including criminality, and processes that can lead to violent extremism, along with prevention strategies and where to go for support. The manual was designed following consultations with community groups, religious leaders, police and government to ensure that the contents and format remain relevant, practical and useful over time.
The manual is designed for Australian communities:
- to assist in building resilience
- to increase awareness and understanding about processes of anti-social behaviours that can lead to forms of criminal activity including violent extremism using The Behavioural Indicators Model (Monash University)
- to promote an increased knowledge of strategies and activities which can help prevent individuals from engaging in anti-social behaviours that can also lead to violence
The model is not specific to any one particular national, political, religious or ideological group and applies regardless of the ideology or motivation for radicalisation.
The training is delivered in two formats: a) as an information session, and b) a train the trainer session. Information sessions are for those who want to increase their knowledge and understanding designed for people such as parents, friends, peers and mentors. The train-the-trainer sessions are for those who will be able to train others either formally or informally.
To date, the AMF has conducted Community Awareness Training program nationally to over 700 people in information sessions and 132 people in train the trainer sessions. Training was conducted in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales with representation from a wide range of age groups, employment and socio-economic backgrounds. The training will soon be available online as an eLearning platform
Executive Director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, Dr Hass Dellal, AO, said that the five elements of social cohesion are most important and the keystone of this program.
The Scanlon-Monash Mapping Social Cohesion survey shares that the elements of social cohesion are:
- Belonging - shared values, identification with Australia, trust
- Social justice and equity - evaluation of national policies
- Participation - voluntary work, political and co-operative involvement
- Acceptance (and rejection), legitimacy - experience of discrimination, attitudes towards minorities, newcomers
- Worth - life satisfaction and happiness, future expectations
A socially cohesive society is one in which people:
- identify and feel a sense of belonging to Australia and pride in being Australian
- Actively participate in political, economic and civic life
- feel included in relation to social justice and equality of opportunity
- respect minorities and newcomers and value diversity
- have trust in other people and confidence in public institutions
- are satisfied with life and optimistic about the future.
Participants discussed the support networks already in place around the community as well as key messages around prevention such as building strong relationships and supporting those in vulnerable situations. More information on future training and information sessions will be available in the coming months.
Community representatives with Dr Hass Dellal of the Australian Multicultural Foundation
at the Building Resilience overview conducted at Gotafe