Mentoring program a social changer for Bellambi

A program designed to educate community leaders about domestic violence issues is a success for the Bellambi Mentors.

At a time when domestic violence is causing sorrow in our community, TAFE NSW Illawarra and Wollongong Police have collaborated with the Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre, Wollongong City Council and Family and Community Services (Community Coordination) to develop and facilitate a Mentoring course.

Bellambi leaders have graduated with a TAFE NSW Statement of Attainment in Mentoring at Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre on Monday 12 December to become advocates for social change within their community.

Ann Burbrook, student and Manager, Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre is delighted with the program outcomes.

“The course was brilliant! It is going to change Bellambi,” says Ann.

“It absolutely set out to achieve what it was intended to achieve. We were told exactly what the Police do around domestic violence and how the community can work with them.”

With a combination of mentoring from TAFE teachers and an understanding of the role that Police play in domestic violence, Ann thought the information dovetailed really well.

“The Police spokespeople broke down those barriers and humanised their role. It engaged everyone in a diverse group of different ages, genders, social and cultural backgrounds,” says Ann.

Katie Carroll, Teacher and Coordinator explains: “Over four days, the course delivered at TAFE NSW Illawarra Wollongong is designed to give community leaders skills and information to deal with a range of social community issues including domestic violence situations.

“Domestic violence matters do not always get reported to police for a number of reasons, leaving victims at risk and without support. The course content provides advice in relation to reporting domestic violence and information about access to support services,” she says.

Identified as having a strong presence and connection with families in their local community, it’s often these leaders that victims will turn to.

“It also provides a gentle opportunity to introduce community members back into a study environment and give information to them about available pathways if they want to continue their learning. They have the ability to improve their community and work with other members of the community,” says Katie.