Results show a police boxing program is helping teenage girls from troubled backgrounds make positive life choices.
Recent NSW crime statistics show that young girls in inner Sydney are 30% more likely than other girls across the state to suffer domestic violence, exposure to which can contribute to issues with school attendance, drug dependency and crime.
A group of participants who took part in the program at the City of Sydney PCYC are now young adults and emerging triumphant.
70% of the original girls have gone off to university...
The girls-only boxing program started in 2012 and incorporates exercise, nutrition and crime prevention focused education.
Local youth agencies refer girls considered "youth at risk” or “young offenders”. Other girls from the community can also participate.
Senior Constable Diana Ucles, the police youth case worker who heads the program, is proud of the results.
“Seventy per cent of the original girls have gone off to university and that is impressive,” Sen Con Ucles said.
She believes the nature of the boxing program, “draws in young girls that could be directly or indirectly affected by domestic violence.”
“It’s important that young women are empowered and given the tools to be resilient in the face of domestic violence,” she said.
“Programs like these also break down barriers between youth and police and can encourage the reporting of domestic violence.”
The crime prevention element of the program is developed each week from community input to addresses topical issues.
"If we're seeing that stealing is an issue then we'll ensure that we address that and educate the girls in that area, Sen Con Ucles said.
Lily Burgess, now at university, has participated in the boxing classes since the beginning.
“The program provides a safe place where all are welcome and provides positive role models for young girls,” she said.