Who We Are
Street Peace is a not-for-profit, faith-based organisation providing outreach, mentoring, training and employment opportunities for high-risk youth in Melbourne’s outer South East region.
Street Peace was founded in direct response to the growing number of youth congregating in Frankston Shopping Centre, creating local unrest amongst shoppers and retailers due to their violence, crime and antisocial behaviour.
According to Medicare Local (2014) 9.7% of 16-24 year-olds in Frankston North are not engaged in education, employment or training. This rate of disengagement is 2.2 times higher than the Victorian average (8.8%). Medicare Local also found that Frankston youth have significantly higher than average levels of risk factors including substance abuse, anti-social behaviour and mental health issues. Youth homelessness is also a significant issue in the area. In 2019, the Frankston City Council reported that over 200 young people are without shelter every night in Frankston and Mornington Peninsula.
Through engaging with young people in Frankston, the Street Peace team found that many avoid the school system even though they are already engaged with the youth justice system. As the data suggests, many of these youth are homeless, involved in drug abuse, living in poverty, stealing for money and food, and are disengaged from most local programs. Street Peace staff were able to survey youth around the primary reasons they were on the street and congregating around the shopping precinct. The following themes arose:
Many come from a dysfunctional family and find family amongst each other.
Many slept rough or couldn’t be at home during the day and needed a place to congregate.
Many young people skip meals due to the lack of access to food and are often dependent on stealing food and items from the shopping centre to eat and make money. Consequently, they choose to share food with each other, forming pseudo-family relationships leading to them hang out in groups around the city centre.
Most have very limited access to finances or food in their homes. Their age makes them ineligible for social welfare benefits.
The high rates of disengagement from education, employment and training have resulted in growing unrest, anti-social behaviour and gang culture. The effects of these issues have been felt acutely by local shop owners and residents, particularly around the Bayside shopping precinct. To date the issue has been addressed locally through an increase of police patrols and protective services officers in and around Frankston Train Station and surrounding streets.
Street Peace believes in a preventative approach: not just addressing symptoms, but also connecting with young people to discover and address the driving factors behind their disengagement and anti-social behaviour.
To see the lives of at-risk youth transformed through relational connection guiding them into lives of purpose and hope.
Street Peace relentlessly pursues volatile at-risk youth, disrupting their mindsets and behaviours by building trusting relationships that address trauma, encourage hope, drive change, restore lives and bring peace back to the streets.