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New research into respectful relationships the catalyst for relaunch of The Line

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‘The Line’ is the Australian Government’s social media campaign that aims to ‘challenge attitudes and behaviours that support violence against women’. It has recently been relaunched after its first five years of operation.

New research, commissioned by Our Watch and carried out by Hall and Partners at Open Mind, has informed the revamped ‘The Line’ website and Facebook page, and will build on the good work that has been achieved in this campaign in the past five years.

The research was overseen by Natasha Stott Despoja and surveyed 3,000 people. It found that young people still desperately need to know what a normal, healthy, respectful relationship looks like. Part of the problem seems to be that social media, which plays such a central role in most young people’s lives, allows previously unacceptable behaviours to be more easily carried out online. And parents are not discussing the issue sufficiently with their young people either.

Gender stereotypes are still a strong influence on behaviour. Some surprising findings are that one in three young people ‘don’t think that exerting control over someone else is a form of violence’, and that one in four young people ‘don’t think it’s serious if a guy, who’s normally gentle, sometimes slaps his girlfriend when he’s drunk and they’re arguing’.

A 23-page summary of the research findings, which were released this month, can be downloaded here.  The Our Watch policy brief called Working with children and young people can also be downloaded from this page. The research findings summary is well worth reading for anyone involved in working with young people across a range of areas including relationships, health, development and violence.

Access 'The Line' here. 

ACYS will shortly be publishing its latest Face the Facts briefing on violence against young women; keep an eye out for it on the ACYS website.


Source:media release from the Australian Government, 8 May 2015.

This month's The Sector profile is about the good work done by The Line in the area of challenging attitudes and behaviours that condone violence against women.

Read the Sector

A look into the world of adolescent domestic violence

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A report on ABC TV's 7.30 program in late May looked at the issue of domestic violence carried out by adolescents.

The report looked in some detail at the way this violence plays out, and a Victorian police officer said that there were between 4,000 and 5,000 cases a year in that state alone where a young person (generally an adolescent) has carried out some sort of assault.

The problem is hard to tackle as many parents and family members are understandably completely against ‘turning in’ their violent offspring to the police or pressing charges, and police are often placed in a situation where they have to try and find alternative accommodation for the perpetrators.

While the program revealed the dramatic and emotional side to these quite shocking episodes of violence, research needs to be carried out into why they are happening, and how they can be prevented.

Youth workers, health professionals and those working with people who have committed such offences, or the families of those who have, will find this report of interest.  

Watch the program or read the transcript here. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4238733.htm


Source:7.30 program, ABC TV, 19 May 2015.

Fewer young people under youth justice supervision

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A bulletin just released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) notes that there were fewer young people under youth justice supervision in the 2013–14 period in both community supervision settings and in detention centres.

However, the news is not so good for young Indigenous Australians, as the level of over-representation of this cohort (aged 10–17) rose during the five years up to 2013–14 from 13 to 15 times the non-Indigenous rate of youth justice supervision.

AIHW spokesperson Justine Boland said that 'Also of concern is the younger age profile for Indigenous young people under supervision – on an average day, Indigenous young people under supervision were most commonly aged 15 or 16, compared with 16 or 17 for non-Indigenous young people’.

During 2013–14, on an average day there were 6,100 young people aged 10 and older within the youth justice system due to ‘their involvement or alleged involvement in crime’. Of these, four out of five were boys or young men. Over the five years to 2013–14, there was an overall drop in the rate of young people under youth justice supervision on an average day, from 28 to 23 per 10,000 young people aged 10–17. According to the AIHW figures, this decrease occurred in both community-based supervision (from 24 to 20 per 10,000) and detention (from 4.0 to 3.5 per 10,000).

Anyone requiring a brief overview of the current state of the youth justice system in Australian states would find this 24-page bulletin of interest. Download AIHW Bulletin 127, Youth justice in Australia 2013–14 here.    


Source: CommunityNet e-news, 20 May 2015.

Parity magazine focuses on young people at risk of homelessness

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The April 2015 edition of Parity, the Council to Homeless Persons’ (CHP) national publication examining homelessness, is a special issue on the theme ‘responding to young people at risk of homelessness’.

In the editorial for the edition, CHP CEO Jenny Smith highlights the importance of early intervention in youth homelessness: 

'We know that young people who become homeless are at risk of further damage, to their physical and mental health, as well as to their later life chances. Hence, many people who experience homelessness in their youth go on to experience long-term homelessness.

'The evidence is emerging about the effectiveness of flexible approaches to engaging young people. Early intervention programs that operate in schools, work with families and operate in places where young people are to be found, are experiencing success in preventing young people from becoming homeless.'

The lead paper in this edition gives an overview of the first wave of data from the Cost of youth homelessness in Australia research study (‘The Australian youth homelessness experience: Evidence from a longitudinal survey of homeless youth’ by Paul Flatau, Monica Thielking, David MacKenzie and Adam Steen). Key findings include:

  • ‘Homeless youth aged 15 to 25 are more likely than young people generally to leave school early.’
  • More than half (60%) of the young people interviewed for this study reported ‘diagnosis of a mental health condition in their lifetime’.
  • ‘Just over half of the homeless youth reported first having slept rough prior to turning 18.’
  • The study confirmed ‘the very strong relationship between homelessness, foster care and other out-of-home care arrangements’.
  • ‘The incidence of reported self-harm and attempted suicide is very high among homeless youth, particularly among young women.’

The authors conclude that ‘the findings of the study underline the seriousness of youth homelessness as a social issue in Australia and the need for action at all levels and sectors of government and the community to overcome this problem.’

The majority of papers in this edition of Parity are written by practitioners from early intervention programs across the sector, and outline how their programs are contributing to make a difference in the lives of homeless young people, and those at risk of homelessness, across Australia.

Parity magazine is available to subscribers, but at the time of writing YFX, several articles from this youth homelessness edition, including the lead article, were available for download. Visit the CHP's Parity website for more information.

Source: Parity magazine, April 2015