The challenge to Bourke – a community development initiative
The Challenge to Bourke was born out of feedback from Bourke (NSW) community members who were disturbed by the cycle of alcohol, drugs and violence, and the impact on their families. On average, eighty calls to police to attend domestic violence incidents occur monthly, most under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. The challenge issued to Bourke was for the community to reduce consumption of drugs and alcohol and to confront family and domestic violence. The goals of the project were: promote connectedness; acknowledge the damage violence causes; close the gap; have fun without substances; deliver information/education on drugs and alcohol, mental health, domestic violence, grief and loss; explore wellbeing; and find creativity.
Murdi Paaki Drug & Alcohol (MPDAN) Coordinator and Drug & Alcohol Counsellor, Michelle Goodwyn, based at Bourke Aboriginal Health Service (BAHS), brought together a wide range of agencies and businesses to organise a month long project culminating in a two day conference, including pre conference workshops in July 2015. Darling Local Area Command (LAC) police statistics showed a decrease in domestic violence and requested the project be repeated every six months, commencing January 2016. This paper will discuss the activities to reduce crime and substance use.