Without Suspicion: Peer Advocacy Project

The Peer Advocacy Team actively reach out to and support young people who have been impacted by discriminatory and unlawful police contact and abuse and also address other issues affecting young’s well being.

Building upon a successful peer outreach and legal needs analysis conducted by Daniel Haile-Michael and Maki Issa in 2015, this project supports a team of young people take on leadership roles to educate their communities about police encounters and empower them to help end racial profiling.

The Team will comprise  8-12 emerging young leaders, peer advocates  who will be working alongside Deng Maleek and former mentors.

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This project has been proudly supported by:

The Funding Network, The Reichstein Foundation, The Gailey/Lazarus Charitable Foundation and the The Hantomeli Foundation, The 6A Foundation, The English Family Foundation,  The Hart Line Fund, The Assia Altman Fund, The Ronald and Mary Henderson Fund of the Australian Communities Foundation.

Developed to support communities and youth affected by racially discriminatory policing and to ensure the comprehensive and effective implementation of Victoria Police’s ‘Equality is not the Same’ report and the intentions behind the historic Haile-Michael v Konstantinidis Federal Court settlement, the project is approaching its final and most important phase.

The Peer Advocacy Team seeks to build upon the previous two years of work, and help drive significant regulatory and legislative changes further.

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Sadja Still

Want to help us end racial profiling?

The Peer Advocacy Team trains & supports communities take action to end discrimination by police.

We’re seeking people aged 17-24 who:

  • Have experienced discrimination or racial profiling by the police
  • Want to learn about civil and legal rights and build up strength to maintain respectful and harmless treatment when stopped by the police
  • Are able to educate their peers and communicate well to groups of people about topics that affect young people and share positive and non-discriminatory policing solutions to End Racial Profiling. 
  • Are willing to speak to others about your experiences
  • Are able to commit to helping with at least two community workshops as a peer advocate over the next 12 months

ERP_logo_white_smallWe’ll provide training, support and will cover your expenses.

Training will cover the history of racial profiling in Australia and around the world, legal rights, law reform and strategies for ending discriminatory policing in Victoria.

As a team we will hold Know Your Rights workshops or forums  with young people from Indigenous and migrant backgrounds across Melbourne.  We’ll share stories and discuss ways to end racial profiling together.

For more information or to apply call:

Deng Maleek

Mobile: 0434 442 466

Office: 9376 4355

OR fill out this form below

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Why are you interested in the Peer Advocacy Team?

Have you experienced any sort of discrimination of racial profiling by police or security?

If there is a legal problem we can help you with, we will refer you to a legal service where you can get advice about your situation.

Are you available for a half day training workshop and to help us run at least 2 other events over the next 12 months? We'll send you details of the Team training later.

Your best phone contact:


Background and Rationale

The relationship between African young people and police remains extremely tense in most areas and incidents of abuse, misconduct, intensive stopping and racially abusive and biased policing still occurs with frightening regularity on the streets throughout metropolitan Melbourne.  In 2016 it continues to be the case that our African clients experience vastly disproportionate traffic and street stops by police.

Many young people of African and Islander or Indigenous background hold little or no trust in police and remain deeply impacted by the sort of policing they experience.

An African family came to us in July last year telling us how when the two sons left the house in one night they were set upon by police, thrown to the ground and handcuffed, the distressed family, who came out to see and ask what was going on were capsicum sprayed and then left with no aftercare and ignored at the station when they came to make a complaint. It seems that the police had mistaken the two young men for their neighbour, who was also African.

This case is one of many we take in. The ‘More Things Change’ report tells us many more won’t come to us as they have no faith in the system or of ever obtaining justice.

IMG_2002 “The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same” report of the Peer Advocacy Outreach Project was released in July 2015 and provided an unique overview of racially discriminatory policing across Melbourne.

The project, undertaken by Daniel Haile Michael and Maki Issa, used a peer advocacy model to outreach to young people across Melbourne and learn about their experiences of policing as well as workers in the field to understand the supports in place for young people.

The report claimed racially discrimination by Victoria Police continues throughout Metropolitan Melbourne despite recent efforts by Victoria Police to curb racial profiling. It also highlights the profound psychological and exclusionary impacts of racialised policing.

Daniel and Maki spoke with young people in Sunshine, Flemington, Noble Park and Dandenong about their experiences with police and found that negative experiences at the hands of police were common, public occurrences and caused anxiety, isolation and fear.

The report also found that youth and community workers who were approached by young people with complaints against police did not have the skills or resources to help young people make formal complaints.

Through the project, Daniel and Maki also shared their experiences as lead applicants in the landmark Race Discrimination Case with the young people they connected with.

This report shares their findings and reflects on developments since they began their legal action to hold police to account 10 years ago.

The 2015 project was supported by the Ben Bodna Award, The Besen Family Foundation and the Assia-Altman Fund via the Australian Communities Foundation.

A copy of the report The More Things Change; The More they Remain the Same is available here.

The Without Suspicion: towards Fair and Impartial Policing campaign is now in its third year.  Through this campaign we have seen in some of the most significant policing reforms in decades, maintained influence and pressure upon Victoria Police through a careful combination of external mobilisation and internal influence, we have engaged with, supported and enhanced the voices of marginalised individuals and communities most impacted by discriminatory policing. We have raised and articulated the complex issues in the public sphere in clear and responsible ways and have placed the issues on the laps of elected representatives of two Victorian Governments now.

Yet our intimate observations of this process over the past two years have consistently raised deep concerns with the Victorian Police response.

The major observation has been the refusal for Victoria Police, despite repeated recommendations and urgings by its own expert reports to seriously implement stop data collection that can be used to track stops by ethnicity. The receipting pilots as they stand fail to deliver on the promises made to the applicants in the Haile-Michael case and to the Victorian public at large.

Abraham Nouk, a young African spoken word artist quoted in Michael Green’s article last year, said, ‘Bottom line, if Victoria Police doesn’t want to admit the problem, it’s going to be a long time before these reforms have an impact.”

See: Equality is Not the Same: The Next Steps


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