By Evelyn Leckie

The State Government will pour $440,000 into a Mernda-based residential diversion program for Aboriginal male offenders who have been convicted of family violence offences.

Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll announced the funding for the Ngarra Jarranounith Place Program, saying its therapeutic nature and wrap around services have worked to rehabilitate Aboriginal offenders.

The program, run by service provider Dardi Munwurro, was part of the State Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The program works on residential healing, behaviour changes, rehabilitation and providing support to impacted family members.

“It’s not lost on me as a minster for corrections that if you’re born Aboriginal in Victoria, you’re 14 times more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system,” Mr Carroll said.

“These programs work.”

Director of Dardi Munwurro Alan Thorpe said the funding would enable an opening of a third residential property in Melbourne’s north to provide the rehabilitation services.

“It’s really sad to see the incarceration rates and see our youth, men and women in the criminal justice system,” Mr Thorpe said.

“There is so much intergenerational trauma. We need to drive these programs, it’s in our hands, we have the culture, elders and we know what we need to do.

“Extra support gives us resources. Let us drive it, make a difference, and be innovative.

“Family violence is really affecting our community, it’s hurting our families, too many men are in prison and it’s important we stand strong with our supporting organisations.”

Representatives from Collingwood Football Club and Melbourne Storm attended the event in support of the program.