Seeds of Affinity: Pathways for Women Incorporated have been recognised for supporting and empowering women during, and upon their release, from prison, receiving a bronze award in the community-led category of the 2018 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA).
The ACVPA recognise best practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia.
Seeds of Affinity Chair and volunteer, Dr Michele Jarldorn said the program supports and empowers women both during, and upon their release, from prison.
“Seeds of Affinity’s unique approach actively engages criminalised women as providers and recipients of support,” Dr Jarldorn said.
Linda Fisk, co-founder, community coordinator and volunteer said: “We set up Seeds of Affinity because we saw tremendous gaps in service provision for women with complex needs.”
“Our vision was to create a space where criminalised women were the leaders in their own integration journey. Seeds gives criminalised women a voice and the opportunity to choose and direct the support they need post-release,” she added.
“Our survival for over a decade built upon our social enterprise model and the generosity of volunteers demonstrates to the women still in prison that there is a pathway out of the criminal justice system.
“If it was not for the commitment and courage of my former parole officer, Anna Kemp, the co-founder of Seeds of Affinity, our organisation would not exist, we have a lot to thank her for. For us to win this award validates our work and increases our visibility to the broader community,” Linda Fisk said.
These annual awards recognise the outstanding contributions being made across Australia for crime prevention, including the development and implementation of practical projects to reduce violence and other types of crime in the community.
Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) Director, Michael Phelan APM said the project’s community development model of service offers a unique opportunity to redress isolation by supporting women to access essential services such as housing, financial support and peer support.
“The model encourages women to share strategies that increase their skills and develop pro-active ways to stay out of prison,” Mr Phelan said.
All projects are assessed each year by the ACVPA Board, which consists of senior law enforcement representatives from each state and territory police service, and chaired by the AIC Director.
SA Police Chief Inspector Alex Zimmermann said the recognition of such organisations is an important part of acknowledging the invaluable work done by just some of the innumerable stakeholders in the task of Crime and Violence Prevention.
“At some stage in our lives we all need a helping hand—some more than others. Seeds of Affinity has been recognised for its unwavering efforts to improve the lives of women who have spent time in the criminal justice system,” he added.
“Seeds of Affinity provides hope and a pathway to a better life for women who would otherwise not have had anyone to stand by their side as they go forward in their lives with a focus on strategies to minimise the likelihood of them re-offending.”
The awards are a joint initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments, coordinated by the AIC and co-sponsored by the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management.
For more information about the award winners, visit www.aic.gov.au/acvpa
Ongoing psychological trauma; a system at odds with the needs of children and mothers and a lack of coordinated services are just some of the issues impacting on children identified by community members in a report released today.
For the first time in South Australia, Women’s prison advocacy group Seeds of Affinity, has released a report highlighting the impact of a mother’s incarceration on children.
Every women and child: A community response to the issues of children in the criminal justice system involves the insights of community agencies and advocates, including mothers with lived prison experience; the Commissioner for Victims’ Rights; a leading psychologist; the CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Rights movement and senior staff in the Department of Corrections.
The shocking mistreatment of youth in detention aired on the ABC Four Corners program at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre is prevalent across the Australian prison system.
Seeds of Affinity call to include women and girls in the royal commission into Northern Territory juvenile detention.
Former women prisoners tell the world “what I know now” to assist others transition from life outside of jail, and educate the public about the struggles faced during this time.
Seeds of Affinity is hosting a public forum, Every woman and child, to raise awareness of the most vulnerable people in our community – the children of women in prison.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to support an initiative which represented the work of women who are very much in need of gainful employment and the support which is derived from the group setting. I am aware from my own work of the benefits that the program has produced in the lives of women who have participated. - Greg Mead, Senior Counsel, Legal Services Commission of SA