Part of our communities: Extending a helping hand to the places we operate
Serco works hard to be a valued part of the communities where we operate. We work with partners to help the wider community address issues that the business may also be dealing with internally.
One such issue is family and domestic abuse. While a new policy for Serco staff has recently been introduced to tackle the problem and provide support at an employee level, outreach is also being extended beyond company boundaries to help the broader community deal with this difficult issue.
Domestic abuse is a major issue within Australian prisons, with a high number of prisoners either perpetrators or victims of domestic abuse. Our team at the Serco-operated Clarence Correctional Facility are tackling the problem with a multi-pronged approach.
Some team members facilitate the Love Bites education program, which runs workshops teaching respectful relationships at local high schools, while others put together care packages for local community members who have become homeless as a result of domestic abuse.
The prison also runs an inmate art program which provides education about domestic abuse, and partners with the Clarence Valley Domestic and Family Violence Committee, which is raising awareness of domestic abuse in the local community using some of the art works created by the facility’s inmates.
Through education, our team are aiming to break the stigma of domestic abuse, prevent it from occurring in the first place, aid rehabilitation and reduce reoffending.
Serco also operates a State Government contact centre, taking calls from the public about issues that, while they may not be emergencies, still need to be reported. After observing a significant increase in domestic abuse-related calls in recent years, additional resources have been deployed to better train our people to deal with those particular calls and provide education around when they are appropriate to escalate for emergency response.
And team members from the Serco-operated Federal Government agency contact centre in Burnie have also been working hard to support their community.
The team from this contact centre work closely with the community, often as volunteers, for example, with The Smith Family’s Work Inspiration program, which builds career knowledge among disadvantaged youths to broaden their perspectives and help them develop their aspirations. This includes high school visits, an onsite ‘Day in the life’ experience at the contact centre, resume preparation and mock job interviews.
But community outreach is more than just a one-way street, providing a good opportunity for Serco to improve team morale, raise its profile and standing in the local community, and connect with potential future employees.
In a community which faces many challenges, Rachael says there is no shortage of things Serco can do to help. Other recent projects have included collecting food and sleeping bags for community members facing homelessness after losing work during COVID-19, fundraising for an animal welfare charity that rehabilitates penguins from the local colony, and participating in both a local suicide prevention walk and sleep-out for homelessness.
“As one of the largest employers in town, we are part of the fabric of this community, so it’s really important to show up,” Rachael says.