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Acacia donates cubbyhouse for children at Koolkuna

Participants of a unique reparation program at Acacia Prison have built a cubbyhouse for children impacted by domestic and family violence.

Making amends for harm done to the community (reparation) is an important part of prisoner rehabilitation at Serco. Acacia’s Reducing Reoffending Assistant Director Natalie Sangalli said the facility is always looking at opportunities for prisoners to contribute back to the community.

“This year, Acacia decided to focus its reparation efforts towards issues in the community that are impacted or impact crime and imprisonment,” she said.

“The chosen themes were Family and Domestic Violence, Youth at Risk and Homelessness.”

Staff at Acacia were asked to nominate local organisations within these themes, and a relationship with Koolkuna Domestic and Family Violence Services in Midland resulted. Koolkuna provides domestic violence advocacy services, outreach programs and a women’s refuge that provides safe, supported, short-term accommodation to women and children escaping domestic or family violence or other life crises resulting in homelessness.

The cubbyhouse was created through a Chaplaincy program called Powertools. Participants in the program engaged in practical ’handyman’ activities and through this reflected on their own spirituality, experiences, life choices and understanding of community and relationships. At the program graduation, the prisoners elected to donate the cubbyhouse to Koolkuna.

“Many prisoners are family and domestic violence perpetrators, so reparation to a local women’s service is particularly powerful,” Ms Sangalli said.

Koolkuna chief executive officer Robyn Fitall thanked those involved in the project and said the cubbyhouse would be well used by children at the shelter.

The Hills Gazette community newspaper carried a story on the donation.

Pictured: Acacia Chaplaincy Co-ordinator Susan Blackburn and Chaplain Mark Arney with one of the prisoners involved in the project.