Christine bridges gap in new role
Wednesday, 10th July, 2019
By Myles Burt
Christine Awege is joining the local police ranks as their new Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer.
Ms Awege is a Baakintji and Malyangapa woman, who was born and bred in Wilcannia, and has been working with NSW Police for the last 21 years.
Ms Awege decided to leave her role as a General Administration Support Officer in Wilcannia, after successfully applying for the ACLO position.
She’ll be working alongside local ACLO Darren Hall and police with the local indigenous community in Broken Hill.
Ms Awege is looking forward to meeting and helping the local community, especially as she has a passion for working with kids.
“I’ve done 25 years as a volunteer working with them at home in Wilcannia,” Ms Awege said.
Ms Awege’s new role will be as a mediator for police officers, helping to bridge the gap between the community, coordinate and participate in programs and liaise with the wider community and elders.
Ms Awege is hoping to break the stigma around police, as most in the community see the blue uniform as a bad omen.
“As kids growing up you’re always told ‘if you play up, the police are going to take you away’, which is not the case,” Ms Awege said.
“In the short time I’ve been in Broken Hill already, I go in to talk to community members to get them to do statements so the police aren’t out there chasing them around.
“Get kids to do cautions so they don’t end up with a criminal record, because they get warnings, cautions and conferencing before the justice system.
“I also explain why they do what they do, how come they’re doing it and what they’re doing as well.
“It’s good to break those barriers.”
Through her role as an ACLO, Ms Awege helps streamline the system by giving indigenous community members advice on how to handle certain situations.
She encourages locals to come to the police station to make statements and others to turn up to court.
“That’s been happening for the last couple of months, which has been good and beneficial for them,” Ms Awege said.