MECHELLE Turvey says she accepted the Midland NAIDOC female Elder of the year at Weeip Park on October 3 in honour of her son Cassius, who died last year.
“I’ve never needed accolades and when I do get them I feel uncomfortable but I accepted the award in Cassius’ honour,’’ Mrs Turvey said.
Her son was only 15-years-old when he was allegedly attacked with a metal pole as he walked in Middle Swan on October 13 last year.
Since his death and despite her own deep grief, Mrs Turvey has shown West Australians and indeed the nation why she is a deserving Elder of the year.
The way she communicated with people to stop further violence following Cassius’ death, and how she decided the more than $500,000 raised in the days following his death would be used to support local youth in her son’s name.
In December last year Echo News reported that when Mrs Turvey went to Middle Swan Primary School to accept a donation of more than $2000 for her family she surprised the students by giving back the donation so the children could buy sporting equipment.
In June she told young people struggling after Cassius’ death that her son would not want people mourning day and night for him and that she would carry on his legacy but she needed their support.
In honour of her son she gave $20,000 each to Koya Aboriginal Corporation, Binar Futures and the Swan City Youth Services along with $5000 to the Lawnmowers Boys, which Cassius had started when he was in Year 9 and is being continued by some of his friends.
WA Police announced in August that they would work closely with Mrs Turvey to implement new victim engagement training for recruits and serving officers with her training session – Take 5.
Mrs Turvey, who is a community engagement officer for Waalitj Foundation, said she had received positive feedback about the training sessions with comment from one officer-in-charge standing out.
“He said…‘it was one of the most powerful presentations that I have seen in 36 years of policing.’,’’ she said.
He’d said it jolted those listening back to remembering the victims as most of the time officers were “looking to what the next job we have to rush to is instead of doing what the presentation was titled – Take 5 to care about the victim we are now dealing with – at the scene, a few days and even weeks later – take that time to give them a call and follow-up”.