pt'chang Nonviolent Community Safety

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peacekeeping 1 training course

Pt'chang will be running an eight-week course during september and november. Topics covered will include:

An eight-session course for people wanting to learn skills and explore community-building and empowering approaches to creating safety. This is an introductory course for people wanting to volunteer for Pt'chang projects but is open to anyone wishing to explore nonviolent community safety skills and approaches.

Highly practical and skill-based, this unique training course brings together models and experience from around the world, and covers topics ranging from nonviolent interventions to looking after ourselves. There are real and effective alternatives to violence, security cameras and increased private security.

Booking for the entire course is essential:

All Pt'chang training is highly subsidised - cost is negotiable.

To find out more phone/fax: 03 9415 6642 or email:
or download the flyer in Word format here

safety teams

Pt'chang Nonviolent Community Safety Group assists organisers develop and create genuine community safety at events and responds to unsafe situations in ways that go beyond traditional 'security' approaches.

pt'chang's approach to safety

Pt'chang takes a pro-active and preventative approach to safety at events, working closely with all parties involved and working as an integrated part of the event, blending with the 'feel' of the event rather than standing out.

Safety teams focus on inter-personal safety issues such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, drug related incidents and interpersonal conflict that are often overlooked or responded to inappropriately by mainstream security firms. Pt'chang volunteers adopt a co-operative, 'power-with' approach to incidents of aggression and conflict and are trained in effective nonviolent intervention techniques and conflict resolution skills. Pt'chang believes that everyone has a basic right to feel safe and that approaches to creating safety should be nonviolent and empowering.

pt'chang teams

A Pt'chang safety team can provide:

Pt'chang works with organisers to determine the role and size of the team and to help develop safety and emergency response strategies best suited to the event. Pt'chang seeks to work as an adjunct to existing emergency, first-aid and security systems already in place at an event rather than replace them.

Teams include both women and men who work on a volunteer basis. Pt'chang volunteers include experienced psychologists, youth workers, drug and alcohol workers, social workers and first-aiders, and all volunteers are trained in conflict resolution, protective behaviours, nonviolent intervention and peacekeeping skills. All volunteers work within set protocols and procedures developed by Pt'chang in 1999.

Pt'chang has been fielding trained community safety teams at large scale events such as Earthcore, ConFest, Psycorobboree, Reclaim The Streets, the Fringe Brunswick Street Festival and many others over the last five years and received a Violence Prevention Award, Certificate of Merit, in recognition of it's work at ConFest in 1998.

To enquire about Pt'chang community safety teams, please contact us.

legal observer teams

Legal Observer Teams are one type of citizen-initiated, third-party intervention in situations of 'vertical' or repressive violence. Whereas nonviolent peacekeeping (see above) may be appropriate in situations of 'horizontal' violence - between parties of relatively equal power - a different form of intervention is required for situations involving state institutions, such as the police forces, using violence against citizens.

Legal Observer Teams aim to provide a level of independent and impartial scrutiny at community protests and political events that serves to deter police from using violence against citizens at a nonviolent protest. The deterrence effect of a Legal Observer Team can include the simple effect of being observed, the threat of future civil legal sanctions against police, or the possible application of domestic civil rights or international human rights mechanisms.

This form of third-party observation or 'presence' can also serve to reduce the level of fear experienced by activists when faced with violent or coercive police responses. Both the deterrence effect and the reduction of fear are important objectives of Legal Observer Teams.

community education and training

A particular strength of Pt'chang's community safety and peace-building work is its commitment to community education, training and skill- development. Pt'chang has designed it's training program as a way of enhancing the capacity of communities and grassroots organisations to create safety. Since 1996, Pt'chang has trained over 600 people in innovative and empowering nonviolent community safety skills and concepts.

nonviolent community safety and peacekeeping training

All Pt'chang volunteers receive an intensive two-day (or 24 hours) training in basic community safety and nonviolent peacekeeping skills. A follow-up 24 hours of training is available after the volunteer has gained some experience on Pt'chang projects. This initial training draws upon and explores protective behaviour skills, nonviolent intervention skills and basic conflict resolution concepts. Components on stress management, group skills and assertive behaviour and communication are seen as integral.

Each year, Pt'chang also conducts a series of specialised, skill- development training sessions for all volunteers. These skill-development training sessions include: First Aid (workplace level 2), responding to people with mental illness, suicide intervention, responding to sexual assault, legal rights and critical incident stress debriefing. Overall, experienced Pt'chang volunteers can receive up to 90 hours of training each year.

community education

The commitment to continual learning and skill-development is also emphasised in the range of public forums, discussions and seminars on community safety-related topics, often with keynote speakers, which are regularly organised by Pt'chang.

Pt'chang volunteers themselves are involved in a diversity of community, public and governmental sectors and utilise the skills and concepts learnt within Pt'chang within their work and communities. All Pt'chang training is available to both volunteers and to the public. Much of the training provided by Pt'chang is totally unique. No other organisation provides training in ways to effective intervene in a wide range of unsafe situations, nor brings together such a range of nonviolent intervention models, skills and experience. The training is often applicable to many other work situations, transferable to many other roles and provides extremely valuable life-skills.

Pt'chang has produced and distributed several resource publications including the Peacekeeping Handbook (1996), four annual Pt'chang Reports (1996- ), The Community Listening Project Report (1999), Legal Observer Team Report (2000). Other publications are currently being produced. All these Pt'chang publications have a strong awareness raising and community education focus.

training for other organisations

Pt'chang also offers particular community safety or skills training to organisations upon request. Schools, local councils, environmental and peace groups, churches, welfare agencies and organisations such as St John's Ambulance have requested training from Pt'chang. Often organisation require skills and strategies in responding to aggressive, violent or challenging situations at their place of work. Pt'chang has a team of experience trainers able to provide three-hour, one-day or longer workshops upon request. Most workshops are tailored to the particular needs and circumstances of the requesting organisation.

If your or your group or organisation would like further information on training that Pt'chang could provide then please contact us.

critical incident debriefing

The importance of early and effective intervention into the negative effects of trauma, on both a personal and community scale, cannot be underestimated.

Pt'chang recognises that the types of traumatic incidents that can occur at community events, festivals and nonviolent protests can have a lasting impact on a community's sense of safety and upon the individual's capacity to recover and continue working in a particular role. Effective and appropriate intervention after a traumatic incident is crucial.

It is not enough, according to Pt'chang, to put in place preventative measures or to just have the ability to respond to unsafe situations as they occur. It is important and integral to a community safety strategy to also have in place processes to deal effectively with the aftermath of a traumatic incident should it occur.

Although Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CICD) and its variations are still a relatively new procedure in fields such as emergency and police services, it remains a virtually unknown practise in much of the community service and voluntary sector, particularly among grassroots social change networks. Often social change workers and activists will face a range of highly traumatic incidents and situations with little or no structured support or intervention. These incidents could include assault or threat of assault, fatal or near fatal drug overdoses, suicides or attempted suicides, fatal or near fatal accidents, arrest and imprisonment and high- levels of personalised abuse and victimisation.

Pt'chang developed internal debriefing, stress management and support structures for volunteers from it's beginnings in 1996. Soon after, however, it became apparent that Critical Incident Debriefing was a much needed process for a range of other community and social change organisations.

Pt'chang has since provided tailored group and individual debriefing sessions for community workers and social change activists from a variety of settings and campaigns.

Psychologists, counsellors and professional facilitators work together to provide a safe group setting and processes to allow people affected by an incident to explore, normalise and integrate their emotional experiences. The process of debriefing is to assist in the normal recovery processes and to intervene early in the negative or damaging impacts. Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) can be identified and further support for people arranged.

In many ways, Pt'chang is attempting to encourage a culture of increased personal support and debriefing for volunteer social change workers amongst community and activist networks. We continually highlight and promote the importance of adequate support structures within campaigns and organisations and encourage the adoption of debriefing as a routine process after events and protests and other political or community actions.

Acting as a network for professional counsellors and psychologists willing to provide volunteer critical incident stress debriefing after traumatic incidents at public events or protests, Pt'chang is now seen as an important and useful resource for grassroots campaigns and community organisations within Victoria. We receive requests for individual and group debriefing sessions regularly.