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LIVE NO FEAR PROGRAM

Theconsequences of making the wrong life choices is something Simone Bailey sees on almost a daily basis.

In her work as a barrister, Ms Bailey sees many young people coming through the court system because they failed to consider the long-term consequences of a split-second decision.Through her involvement in the Department of Justice’s Live No Fear program, Ms Bailey is teaching young people the consequences of their actions have a ripple effect.

“Some people don’t even know what a criminal conviction is and how having one can follow them for the rest of their lives, whether it be applying for a job or applying for a passport … what they do today may seem insignificant, but it can affect their lives years down the track,” she said.

Ms Bailey was joined in Ballarat yesterday by soul singer Candice Monique and professional hip-hop teacher Jacinda Richards to teach a group of Ballarat teenagers lessons in life and anti-violence skills through the Live No Fear program.

Students from the Ballarat Learning Exchange’s LinkUp program took part in yesterday’s session with the trio. Run through Ballarat Secondary College, LinkUp provides an alternative educational setting for students who have become disengaged with learning or don’t cope with traditional mainstream schooling.

The trio of Live No Fear mentors – all successful in their own right – talked with students about their own experiences in dealing with confrontation and challenging situations. Students were taken through real-life scenarios that could end in violence or confrontation and discussed the “dark, light and bright” decisions that could be used to end a conflict.

All three of the mentors are passionate about helping young women get the most out of their youth.

“In our experience, the ability to talk your way out of any situations is the most important skill you can learn, because it will save you trouble in the long run. We teach those taking part in our sessions to be smart, to take a step back, to think about the consequences and then to walk away,” Ms Bailey said.

Singer Candice Monique said while she was a late bloomer in the music industry, if she had a criminal conviction years earlier, she would not have been allowed to travel the world with her craft.

“By not having a conviction, my options have not been restricted,” she said.

Hip-hop dance teacher Ms Richards said each scenario taught the students about making tougher choices and explaining the different outcomes from those choices. “Some of these situations include cyber bullying, party situations and, in the extreme, physical violence,” she said.

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