Passenger Rail, Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Social Governance and Inclusion

Dandenong outreach program cuts anti-social behaviour

dandenong outreach

 

An innovative outreach program at Dandenong Station in Melbourne has helped more than 1000 passengers in just three months, with early results showing a decrease in anti-social behaviour.

The ‘Community Connectors’ program is the first partnership of its kind for Metro Trains and South East Community Links, which supports the local area by providing two community workers at Dandenong Station from 1-5pm on weekdays.

The workers have qualifications in social work, mental health and nursing.

Since August, the community workers have provided passengers with support for emergency relief, youth housing and empowerment programs, settlement services, and financial counselling as well as referrals to local services for drug and alcohol, mental health, homelessness, and family violence support.

Metro station staff are also participating in training to assist them to better understand the local community environment and support services available.

The program also aims to reduce the number of anti-social behaviour and trespass incidents at and around the station.

These types of incidents remain a significant and on-going challenge on the Metro network and can regularly cause delays to train services.

Combined with protective services offices and authorised officers, customer service staff and CCTV, early results show a 23 per cent decrease in anti-social behaviour at Dandenong station compared to the same time last year.

The trial will continue for 12 months and, if it continues to be successful, it’s hoped the program will be expanded to other key stations on the network.

South East Community Links chief executive officer Peter McNamara said the innovative outreach program was making a real difference in the lives of community members experiencing challenges and hardships.

“Many of the people our Community Connectors have engaged with have expressed concerns around their mental health and 80 per cent have engaged in some form of support including referrals to services and accessing material aid like food, water, PTV vouchers and clothing,” he said.