Funded through the Drug and Alcohol Office, the Crossroads Project comprises a partnership between 55 Central, Saint Patrick’s Community Services and Curtin University. The project provides a unique and innovative response towards tackling alcohol and drug related harm and antisocial behaviour, its dual aims are:
To reduce alcohol and drug related harm, and improve the health and social wellbeing of clients who come into contact with the service.
Reduce disruptive behaviours created by problematic drug and alcohol use by working with communities who are affected.
Two key components underpin the model ‘client facing’ and ‘community facing’.
Client facing includes:
Assertive Outreach – an approach characterised by working with clients in their own environment, over the medium to long-term, as a means of assisting them towards accessing mainstream services. The flexibility of this approach allows services to be offered to clients who may not otherwise receive them, and thus provides a vital gateway to health, housing and human services. Two dedicated Assertive Outreach workers are assigned to the service, which operates in street drinking hotspots: Fremantle CBD, Perth CBD, and the Maylands commercial area.
Community facing includes:
As well as seeking to improve the health and social wellbeing of people with drug and alcohol dependency issues the service aims to reduce associated disruptive and antisocial behaviour within the community. To this affect the community facing component, involves targeted community engagement strategies to ensure all stakeholders are involved, consulted and contribute to the program’s aims. This is supported through a full time dedicated Community Engagement Officer who is employed by the service.
As this is new and untested service model in Western Australia the emergent findings of which may have important implications for similar service provision in the future.
Consequently the service has engaged Curtin University’s School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work to undertake an Action Research project to measure the impact and outcomes of this service. Action Research is a process which involves all relevant parties – clients, service staff and community stakeholders – towards examining a situation in order to change and improve it.
It is action which is researched, changed and re-researched, within a process, by critically reflecting on context and process. For instance, the needs of the client group, and barriers they face in accessing services. Importantly Action research aims to be an impartial and genuine democratic process, whereby clients who are helped determine the purpose and outcome of the research itself (Wadsworth, Yolanda .1998. What is Participatory Action Research? Action Research International, Paper 2.)
It is hoped that the research findings arising from this project will help optimise future policies, systems, service models and practice responses to this client group.