Your Say

Operation Newstart composite activities photo

Click one of the links below to complete a survey applicable to you;

Participants Survey – if you are a young person who has participated in an Operation Newstart Program

Significant Person Survey – you are a parent/family member, or a person otherwise connected to a young person or a person who has assisted with an Operation Newstart Program:

Schools Survey – you are a teacher or person in a school setting who has supported a student participant

Links to completed Significant Persons (Parents & others) Schools & Participants Surveys

Significant Persons Survey 09 02 15

Schools Survey 09 02 15

Participant Survey 09 02 15

What is being said in our Surveys

Insights from our latest Significant Persons Survey submitted by parents and others connected to Operation Newstart Programs –

To what extent do you see value in having a police officer acting as a key mentor and facilitator in Operation Newstart?

Instead of being a figure to rebel against, they become a figure of support.

I Facilitated a Peer Education Program at Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre. Numerous Operation Newstart groups attended throughout the years. The young men at MYJC completed a program and were accredited as Peer Educators.They presented to the groups of young people their stories of the issues that led them to MYJC. Included were their family issues, cultural issues, school. drug use, offending, victim empathy, prevention messages and advice. This was a powerful way of passing information to other young people in language they understood with honesty and credibility. This Peer Education program became redundant with the Facilitator from January 2014, a loss to clients at Malmsbury YJC and external groups of at risk youth. The Police can be exceptional role models,mentors and advocates for young people. They can assist the whole family and can be accessible to the young person where prevention strategies are required.

You are working with some of the most tragically disadvantaged young people. It is heartbreaking to hear their stories. They have no respect for themselves and certainly not for any authority. The value the police give these young people is incalculable. They are people who care and watch out for them and show them how to relate to each other and to the wider community. Brilliant.

Police officers bring unique skill sets, training and backgrounds into Newstart programs. Strange as it may seem, many graduates indicate that they might eventually like to pursue a career in policing. Their attitudes to authority are recalibrated. They come to a clearer understanding of the difficult work that police do in the community. From the police perspective, it is a great opportunity to take their experiences with Newstart students back into their own work-places; to assist other officers in the best ways of interacting with youth at the local level.

Could you please provide at least one example of the impact Operation Newstart has had?

A student was told given his behaviour that he would not be allowed to do VCE. Upon his return to school not only did he prove that he was able to change but he showed amazing determination to prove people wrong. He wrote 20 letters to surgeons before being accepted for work experience. It was no surprise to himself after completing VCE to be accepted into medicine.

My son has realized where he is going in life at school, to head for his chosen career with so many great opportunities that he came across in ONG. He’s committed himself to settling at school so he can achieve this and not let ONG down. (or himself)

I completed the Kokoda trek with a group of geelong newstart participants and saw first hand the positive impact the program has had. These kids had abosultely horrible back-stories and had struggled for years with drugs, alcohol, depression, assault issues and more, but the strength of charatcer and determination they showed was amazing. they had all started newstart as rebellious kids with no repsect for authority, but by the end they were completely transformed. I came away from the trek wondering why the Newstart program is not much larger and why it doesnt have much more for resources and funding. It is my opinion, its an extremely valuable crime prevention tool.

What impact has Operation Newstart had on you personally?

We were beside ourselves & under dreadful stress with the kids behaviour . That worry was shared and gradually a change took place.

I have been positively and significantly impacted by Newstart because it has made my day to day life and relationship with L much easier due to her being more obliging to help and contribute. I think she learned good team skills during Newstart camps and came home more grateful and aware of her privileges and benefits of home life. Moreso, her engaged and caring youth leaders who were on the same wave length as her, were able to positively influence her thinking, her self awareness, and impart valuable advice and guidance to her. So our family and personal life has benefited greatly.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Operation Newstart?

Parent schooling participation was defininetly worth having as well. I was very proud of my son and was thankful that he had this opportunity with Andy, John and Kelsey.

Operation newstart is an extremely valuable and powerful program. the kids feel like they belong somewhere and take pride in that. The overridding opinion that I heard from all the kids involved was that when they started out they all felt awful about themselves, but this program made them beleive in themselves again and think positively and make positive choices in life.

The relationships developed between the young people and the police was wonderful. They came to respect the authority and admired the officers working with them. They saw them as really great people.

There is nothing quite like Operation Newstart – not nationally nor, for that matter, anywhere in the world so far as I am aware. It is so easy to replicate: I think that educators and police everywhere should look closely at this model.

Further Comments:

“Fantastic program – has no equal – needs to be maintained and built on”

“The student that I referred to ONS was extremely violent, had several assault charges, and was almost entirely disengaged from school. After the program, he was more willing to attend school and to be referred to external agencies for support.”

“One student from our school has become a lot calmer and respectful in her dealngs with other students and her teachers, We had an incident which we was about old behaviour. We were able to link in with the Operation Newstart workers who supported us by visiting the student and reminding her of what they had achieved. This student is still in school and working well again.”

“The student had significant anger management issues with everyone and was missing significant amounts of schooling. However, he did not miss a day of the program and has become a model student and leader at our College.”

“One of my students completed New Start and although he did not complete school, he did go on to TAFE and completed an apprenticeship and is now fully employed. He has a partner and has a child and I often see him and he still, more than 6 years on, raves about the impact of Di and Brendon on his life. That is just one example, I could give you many more, nearly all the students who I sent improved and while they may not have gone onto completing University degrees, they went onto being happy individuals with lives which had meaning and purpose and they did NOT end up in Jail or JJ, which was certainly the path they were headig down.”

Individual comments by teachers who have had more than ten students participate.

To what extent do you see value in having a police officer acting as a key mentor and facilitator in Operation Newstart?

“The value of having a police member as a key mentor / facilitator must always be seen a pivotel element within the ONS program. The presence of the member/s, their relationship building with the student participants breaks down the ‘barriers’ and preconceptions that some of the students / parents have with the police and the need to be respectful and obey rules as a requirement of life. The incorporation of the police within the program cannot be under-estimated.”

Could you please provide at least one example of the impact Operation Newstart has had on an individual student?

“There have been numerous students that I have made application to Operation New Start where this program was seen as the ‘last resort’ of hope and re-engagement for the student on an academic, social and behavioural perspective. All students graduated. One recent application was made as a conditional element of their continued enrolment at our school after a pre-expulsion meeting. Through the pro-active relationship building of the DEECD staff member, Police member and Youth worker, continued follow-up with the parents, involvement of external agencies, communication with and support to the host school; the student has made a remarkable turnaround. The student remains at school, is engaging with curriculum and is about to be selected as one of fifteen students, on merit, to be given a $2000 scholarship towards a VET program.”

To what extent do you see value in having a police officer acting as a key mentor and facilitator in Operation Newstart?

“The benefit of crime prevention is much more significant when these kids can build relationships with police. They already have experiences with teachers but police are very alien to many of these more disengaged or at risk kids.”

Could you please provide at least one example of the impact Operation Newstart has had on an individual student?

“B was highly disengaged, in lots of trouble at school, extremely down on himself and heading in a criminal direction. Family members had previous significant trouble with the law and we were concerned he was heading that way too. Newstart helped intervene early and prevent some of his issues escalating at home and at school. He finished the program extremely positively but then slipped back into a very deep rut. The staff and support team from Newstart continued to follow up with him and provided significant support – in court, in school, at home and in his workplace. He is now happily settled into a career and extremely well respected by his employers. His family are very thankful for the support through Newstart.”

Other Comments from the Schools Survey:

“Helps students to see police officers as real people doing a valuable job”

“Establishing a close, respectful relationship with a police officer is integral to
the success of the program.”

“The Victoria Police members are able to demonstrate how to be a contained and controlled human being, demonstrate leadership for students who have never seen what actual leadership looks like and can converse with students about legal outcomes to their activities that border on/are illegal activities.”

“Our student was particularly resistant to the idea of working with police when entering the program, but she finished the program with an excellent rapport with the officer involved and feeling generally more positive toward the police force. Thanks Gordon!”

“I think that is one of the best things about the program for all students but in particular those that may have had difficulties with the law in the past.”

“Breaks down the stigma youth might have and builds trust and respect for authorities.”

“Participating in the Operation Newstart really influenced me to do a complete turn around in the direction I was heading. It was the first time I had ever actually accomplished something that I was proud of. This made me start believing in myself that I could suceed in the goals that I set. The leaders also took the time to get to know me and helped me to overcome personal issues that I had going on in my life and once the underlying issues were dealt with I was able to be a better and happier version of myself. Completed 2008 now at University.”

“Operation newstart honestly changed my life, going into this program originally I thought ‘sick! 6 weeks off school for being a bad ass’. But as the weeks flew on the friendships and bonds I made with people completely changed my outlook on Operation Newstart. People don’t understand how much it actually DOES help because they haven’t experienced it for themselves. A struggling 15 year old with a high ego and anger issues, well did Chris and Jimmy put me in my place…not only did they give me great techniques on how to handle my anger, they reminded me why I should start respecting everyone else and stop being conceited. It showed me to believe in myself and taught me I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”

“Newstart with phil and Matt put my life back on track and got a lot of respect for myself and others. I’ve seen a lot of my firends that I was hanging around with have either died or have serious problems with the police or drugs. I learnt the tools I needed to get away from that life. I now own my own business and have a beautiful family and I don’t think I would have been on this path without Newstart, Matt and Phil thanks guys”.

“I flourished mentally and creatively, my future looks significantly brighter!!! Was gonna drop out year 8-9 but now I’m enrolled at RMIT industrial design yeey!”

I feel confident, more reserved, more disciplined and more engaged in school. Newstart has helped me focus on future job and career prospects and personal battles. Andy and knucks you saved my life and I can’t thank you enough.

Gave me the strength to distance myself from the negative people I was surrounding myself with.

A change in my behaviour and a change in my home life, my anger problems got better and I talked to mum a lot more.

It made me treat my whole family with more respect not get angry with them as easily and helped me talk to my mum more.

I was no longer causing trouble in class. I wanted to learn. My teachers started to respect my change in attitude towards school after Operation Newstart. They were willing to take time out of their spare time throughout the day to mentor me and make sure I understood.

I thought all police officers were the same. Out to get me and my friends. Since Operation Newstart I have a whole new found respect for police officers. As I know I haven’t done anything wrong these days I feel great having them around now at train stations etc. I feel safe and protected now when they are about. Whereas before Newstart I felth threatened by them.

I now realise that not all cops are mean and pick on teenagers. Tracey is the best cop I know!

ONS showed me that Vic Police members were human. i forgot Di was a Police officer until the graduation.

A Final comment from one young participant on what Operation Newstart has meant for him. It is an example to us all in clear communication. It is succinct, to the point, foreright and with no additional verbage whatsoever:

Better attitude, more talkative, less drama!