Codes 4 Life
Reconnecting Aboriginal men with cultural identity, responsibilities and community.
Codes 4 Life is an Aboriginal men’s program that seeks to address and curb unlawful behaviour stemming from alcohol and substance abuse, including drink driving, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
The program drives reformation and personal change by delivering workshops designed to reconnect Aboriginal men with their cultural responsibilities and find strength in one’s role in their community. Embracing culture helps men understand their place in the world and their obligations to family, community, law and country.
All workshops are designed and facilitated by Program Manager Michael Liddle, supported by Project Officer Micha Bartlett, and overseen by Aboriginal Elders or senior community leaders. Codes 4 Life also works closely with the police and community support programs to effectively deliver comprehensive programs.
Michael Liddle emphasises the need for the change saying, “Our hospitals are filled up; our courthouses are filled up; our jails are filled up. The one place not being filled up is our schools. We need more policemen; we don’t need more football heroes.”
Michael Liddle encourages participants to turn down the volume of distractions and listen to the voice of culture.
Participants are often plagued with questions surrounding their identity. Codes 4 Life channels uncertainty about cultural identity into a sense of leadership by instilling a sense of responsibility to culture and community.
The workshops incorporate various engagement methods such as presentations, group talks, activities and showing video clips. They create a space for Aboriginal men to discuss issues, seek advice and guidance, and express difficult emotions with their peers in a safe, empowering setting.
This traditional dot painting was created by Codes 4 Life Project Officer Wayne Scrutton, and is symbolic of the program’s work. It represents Aboriginal men and youth (left) losing their way in noise and distractions, but trying to find their way to the Elders and their wisdom; lore, culture and country (right).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Codes 4 Life team continued their strong efforts, working with organisations that share their vision for a stronger community. Watch the video here.