Bendigo anti-violence program succeeds interstate

A BENDIGO program is helping spread the message about violence prevention in Queensland.

The Solving The Jigsaw violence prevention and well-being program was developed in Bendigo by the Centre for Non-Violence and has received accolades at The Spirit of Catholic Education Awards in Queensland.

Centre for Non-Violence worker Sissy Mylrea has been named the Queensland state winner of the awards after being nominated for the category of leading and facilitating for change and improvement.

Ms Mylrea was honoured for her work in delivering the Solving the Jigsaw program at Sacred heart Catholic Primary School in Yeppoon.

Centre for Non-Violence prevention and development manager Robyn Trainor, from Bendigo, said the award was recognition of the importance of work to stop violence. 

"We know that working with children and young people, and the whole of the school community is crucial in changing the culture of violence into one of well-being," she said.

"Solving The Jigsaw has been well received in the Rockhampton and Yeppoon communities, and we look forward to continuing our work with these communities."

The program was expanded into Queensland with the support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.

"It's been piloted in New South Wales and Queensland," Ms Trainor said.

"Solving The Jigsaw was developed in 1997 through the Centre for Non-Violence and basically it was a recognised need that came through our support services for women and children, that we needed to develop a primary prevention program into schools.

"So it started in 1997 in primary schools, usually it's the middle years from Grade 4 to Grade 6 that we deliver the program to but we've extended our reach and now deliver to Year 7 and Year 8 students.

"We had a range of schools participate in the program at the start and it extended throughout Victoria.

"We had some Victorian trainers who were doing individual work in some of the other states.

"So Sissy (Mylrea) was the trained person who started work initially in Queensland but, in late 2011, we were successfully funded to roll the program out within Queensland and New South Wales ... it's a fantastic opportunity because the program relies on engaging children in the conversation about violence, bullying and abuse but also ways of creating resilience and well-being."

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