The KickStart story

Right now in Victoria and around Australia there is a critical gap in Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) programs for medium to high risk offenders in the community.

For example, in Victoria, the number of people on Community Corrections Orders (CCOs) has significantly increased due to recent sentencing and parole reforms. Within this growing group, the incidence of alcohol and drug problems is exceptionally high.

Addressing these problems requires specialist and intensive treatment interventions to effectively treat the underlying causes of offending and AOD use.

Until recently, short to medium term individual counselling was the primary treatment offered to community-based offenders. However compliance was low, with offenders often not attending sessions.

KickStart steps it up

Caraniche – in partnership with the Department of Health & Human Services, and Justice Health – wanted to develop a criminogenic AOD group program that increased the availability of treatment offered to this offender group.

By applying their 25 years of experience developing and delivering group-based AOD programs in prisons, Caraniche created KickStart:  a program aimed at assisting community-based offenders to reduce substance use, improve their lifestyle choices and health, and reduce criminogenic risks.

KickStart uses proven, evidence-based approaches to build motivation, self-efficacy for change and increase awareness of the link between substance use and offending. To reduce harm and subsequent re-offending behavior, they also provide the skills and strategies needed to manage high risk situations.

With KickStart, change is possible

Changes in participant behaviour were evident in the 2015-16 Pilot Program. Key changes included reductions in order breaches and detected drug use, improved well-being and emotional states, and positive feedback from participants.

This represents a reduction in drug using behaviour whilst participating in the program, and increased compliance with Corrections Order requirements.


KickStart expands to reach more participants

The initial pilot phase of KickStart demonstrated that the program was able to achieve it’s primary goal: positive outcomes for moderate and high risk community based offenders. Additionally, we needed to know that offenders would actually attend group treatment! The pilot results were promising – by the end of this phase we had a 70% completion rate with participants reporting a decrease in their criminal thinking patterns and improved emotional regulation.

Since then, KickStart has expanded its program suite, and is now being delivered by four dedicated KickStart providers across several Melbourne locations. KickStart programs continue to receive positive feedback from both participants and facilitators, and we look forward to continuing to expand the reach to more participants, and reducing the incidence of AOD related offending.