More than a basketball skills and drills clinic, Hoops Against Violence raises awareness of family violence and establishes relationships with police and services.
The program, aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under the age of 18 from across the Grampians and Barwon South West regions, came to Ballarat’s Minerdome on Monday and Tuesday.
Children were invited to participate in sessions with the stars of Ballarat Rush and Miners, shooting and dunk challenges, traditional games, dances and activities, while information displays and stalls were also available.
Victoria Police community liaison officer Pauline Smith said one of the highlights was a basketball match between the community and police.
“Sometimes the only time they see Victoria Police is when they are looking for them or when they are in trouble,” she said.
“So having that better engagement with Victoria Police, it is really good.
“They can meet here one-on-one, so they know the police officers and get talking and the police officers get to know our community.”
The two-day event was also a chance for the community, workers and service providers to build relationships and network.
Amber Barker-Lovett from the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative said the holidays marked the perfect opportunity to get the community together and promote awareness of violence not being part of their culture.
“With basketball, like any sport, it is getting them away from being on the streets and not getting in trouble,” Barker-Lovett said.
“It is another chance for them to break the stigma of violence.”