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2007 and earlier information

New South Wales school students health behaviours survey: 2005 report

Released in May 2007, this report is based on a survey of 5,522 New South Wales secondary school students conducted in 2005. Students attending government schools comprised 61% of respondents, 23% attended Catholic schools and 16% attended independent schools. The probability sample of 12- to 17-year-old students surveyed completed a self-administered questionnaire which covered the following aspects of health: nutrition and eating, height and weight, physical activity, injury, psychological distress, sun protection and alcohol, tobacco and substance use.

Selected findings from the report:

  • 41.5% of students reported consuming an adequate amount of fruit (3 or more serves daily) and 19.4% reported consuming an adequate amount of vegetables (4 or more serves daily
  • 9.2% of students perceived themselves to be underweight, 68.7% perceived themselves to be of normal weight and 22.1% perceived themselves to be overweight
  • 13.2% of students reported meeting the recommended daily level of physical activity (at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily)
  • in the six months prior to the survey, 39.4% of students reported sustaining an injury which required the attention of a doctor, physiotherapist or other health professional. Almost half (42.2%) of these injuries were sustained at a sporting facility, 24.2% were sustained at home and 19.5% were sustained at school
  • in the six months prior to the survey, 16.6% of students reported experiencing high psychological distress
  • 51.6% of students reported high levels of sun protection behaviour on sunny days during the previous summer
  • 63.5% of students reported consuming an alcoholic drink in the 12 months prior to the survey, 39.4% reported drinking in the month prior to the survey and 25.3% reported drinking in the week prior to the survey
  • 21.0% of students reported smoking tobacco in the 12 months prior to the survey, 11.4% reported smoking in the month prior to the survey and 8.4% reported smoking in the week prior to the survey
  • in the 12 months prior to the survey, 93.4% of students reported using painkillers, 14.4% had used inhalants, 11.8% had used marijuana/cannabis, 7.2% reported using sedatives/tranquillisers for non-medical reasons, 3.2% reported using amphetamines, 2.6% reported using ecstasy, 1.9% reported using hallucinogens, 1.9% reported using cocaine, 1.4% reported using steroids and 1.2% reported using heroin.

The report can be downloaded from the NSW Health website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au

Source: Centre for Epidemiology and Research, NSW Department of Health 2007,
New South Wales school students health behaviours survey: 2005 report, NSW Department of Health, Sydney, [viewed 21/09/07].

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Gambling problem among wealthy teens NSW, 2007

A survey of 252 students was conducted by Waverly Action for Youth Services in four private schools in Sydney's eastern suburbs. It shows:

  • 81% of the students have gambled at least once in the year, with almost 7% meeting the criteria for being problem gamblers. (This is double the rate of problem gamblers found in surveys of teenagers in other states, and is much higher than among adults).
  • Most teenagers first gambled between the ages of five and 11, using pocket money, and later money from part-time jobs.
  • The problem gamblers - all male - had a mean age of 15. They were categorised as having problems through a nine-point questionnaire. They were more likely than the others, for example, to lie about or hide their gambling, and to gamble to "escape from problems".
  • They were much more inclined than the non-problem gamblers to report that their parents had first made them interested in gambling.
  • Though the problem gamblers were no richer than the others, they spent between $10 and $19 each time they gambled compared with between $1 and $4 for others. Over the course of a year, the problem gamblers increased the amount they spent by 50% to maintain excitement.
  • More of the problem gamblers described their first experience as "exciting" and were much less likely than others to believe "gamblers usually lose", and more inclined to rate themselves as "skilful" gamblers.

The youth service is introducing programs for schools to teach children the odds of winning, how to recognise problems and where to go for help.


Sources: Brisbane Times, May 7, 2007: Rich teens prone to problem gambling
[viewed 16/6/2007].
ABC Newsonline May 7, 2007: Survey reveals gambling problem among wealthy teens [viewed 16/5/2007].

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Victims of personal crime, 2005-06

There were 226,700 usual residents aged 15 years and over in NSW who were victims of personal crime in the 12 months to April 2006, a victimisation rate of 4.2%. This was similar to the 2004 and 2003 rates (both 4.5%). The victimisation rates for robbery (0.7%), assault (3.5%) and sexual assault (0.2%) remained relatively unchanged compared to the 2004 victimisation rates.

Overall, males were more likely to be victims of personal crime than females. There were 140,300 male victims, a victimisation rate of 5.3%, and 86,400 female victims, a victimisation rate of 3.2%.
In particular, the victimisation rates for males was higher than for females for 15- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 44-year-olds. The differences between the sexes for all the other age groupings were not statistically significant.


Victims of personal crime: Age and sex 2006

Perception of crime/public nuisance

In 2006, an estimated 53% of persons did not think there were any crime or public nuisance problems in their neighbourhood. This was an increase on the 52% of persons who did not perceive any problems in 2004. The percentage of persons who did not perceive any problems from crime or public nuisance in their neighbourhoods has been increasing every survey year since 2001.
The main perceived crime or public nuisance problems reported were dangerous/noisy driving and housebreaking/burglaries/theft from homes, with 9.3% and 9.1% of persons respectively identifying one of these as the main problem in their neighbourhood. The next most common perceived problem was vandalism/graffiti/damage to property (8.6%), followed by louts/youth gangs (6.7%).

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4509.1 - Crime and Safety, New South Wales, April 2006 released 27/11/2006 Canberra.
[viewed 08/03/2007]

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Young offenders and recidivism in New South Wales

Juveniles who receive a police caution or who are ordered to attend a youth justice conference are less likely to re-offend than those who are referred to the Children’s Court, according to a new report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

Conducting a follow-up on 5,981 cautioned youth offenders (69.7% male, 29.9% female, 0.4% not recorded) and 1,711 youth conferencing participants (82.6% male, 17.4% female) in NSW during 1999, the bureau found that 42% of those cautioned and 58% of those ‘conferenced’ were found guilty of a subsequent crime within five years. Offenders who were male, Indigenous or in the younger part of the cohort were more likely to re-offend than their female, non-Indigenous or older counterparts. Only a small proportion of those cautioned (5.2%) or conferenced (10.8%) committed a subsequent offence serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence in the ensuing five years. In comparison, earlier research conducted by the bureau indicates that 65% of young offenders who appear before the NSW Children’s Court re-offend within five years.

Bureau director Dr Don Weatherburn said that the findings reflect the ‘hierarchy of responses’ outlined in the Young Offenders Act. ‘Young offenders deemed by police to be at higher risk of reoffending are more likely to be sent to the Children’s Court. Those who are deemed to be at lower risks are more likely to be dealt with via a police caution or referred by police to a youth justice conference’, he said.

The report can be downloaded in full from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research website: http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/bocsar

Source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research 2007, Reoffending by young people cautioned or conferenced, media release, 3 January, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research [viewed 25/01/2007].

Vignaendra, S. & Fitzgerald, J. 2006, Reoffending among young people cautioned by police or who participated in a youth justice conference, Crime & Justice Bulletin n.103, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney [viewed 25/01/2007].

Daily Telegraph, 4/1/07, p.7.

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Teen smoking rates drop in NSW (2006)

Results from a 2005 survey of 5,616 NSW school students aged between 12 and 17 years indicate that teenage smoking rates in the state are at their lowest level in over two decades.

The survey, conducted by NSW Health, found that 8.4% of students surveyed had recently smoked a cigarette (8.3% of girls and 8.5% of boys), down from 13% in the corresponding 2002 survey and 22.3% in the 1984 survey. According to these findings, an estimated 41,000 students in NSW had smoked at least one cigarette in the week prior to the survey. Students who identified themselves as smokers smoked an average of 22 cigarettes per week.

The number of teenagers in the state who have ever smoked dropped to 32.8% in 2005, from 42.1% in 2002 and 67% in 1984. Three-quarters of those surveyed believed that film and television images of celebrities smoking encouraged young people to smoke.

This data forms part of the latest wave of the National Australian Secondary School Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, conducted every three years. The final report is scheduled for release in March 2007.

Source: Sartor, F. (Minister Assisting the Minister for Health (Cancer)) 2006, ‘No smoking’ message getting through to teenagers, media release, 22 October, NSW Health, [viewed 25/01/2007].
Sunday Telegraph, 22/10/2006, p.21.
Daily Telegraph, 1/11/06, p.9.

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ACT and Region . . . A Statistical Atlas, 2006

This publication is the third issue in an annual series that replaced ACT Regional Statistics (cat. no. 1362.8.55.001).
The aim of this publication is to provide a broad picture of the characteristics of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the surrounding Australian Capital Region (ACR). It presents colour maps of key population, family and housing characteristics of Canberra. The data represents all Statistical Local Areas (suburbs) of Canberra and surrounding region. A brief commentary explaining the main features and characteristics also accompanies each map.

Topics presented in this issue are based on themes – population, housing, work and welfare. These themes vary for each issue of this publication. Data have been drawn from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) statistical collections, the Australian Tax Office and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

The Statistical Atlas (available in PDF and hard copy format)

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1381.8 ACT and Region . . . A Statistical Atlas, 2006 [viewed 25/01/2007].

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Kids Help Line Australian Capital Territory 2005 Report

General information

  • In 2005, Kids Help Line received 7,470* telephone and online contacts from the Australian Capital Territory and were able to respond to 3,509* of these contacts (3,009* telephone contacts and 500 online contacts).
  • 48% of calls to Kids Help Line required counselling or support.
  • 14 young people from the Australian Capital Territory reported current thoughts of suicide, while 39 young people reported having deliberately injured themselves (as distinct from suicidality).
  • 17% of telephone callers were referred to other support services in their local area. Duty-of-Care actions, such as contacting an emergency service or child protection agency, were required for 5 Australian Capital Territory callers.

* Estimation due to 6 days of missing data.

Location of callers

Region % of calls
ACT metropolitan 99%
ACT mobiles <1%

The following figures are based on data gathered from 640 telephone counselling sessions with children and young people in the Australian Capital Territory aged 5-25 years:

Age and sex of callers

Age Females Males Total
5–9 years 3.9% 0.7% 4.5%
10–14 years 27.1% 8.9% 36.0%
15–18 years 34.0% 11.2% 45.2%
19–25 years 11.4% 2.8% 14.2%
Total 76.4% 23.6% 100.0%

10 most frequent concerns of Australian Capital Territory KHL clients, 2005

Concern Proportion of ACT contacts Proportion of national contacts
Family relationships 18.4% 17.7%
Peer relationships 15.2% 13.4%
Partner relationships 12.5% 10.0%
Emotional/behavioural management 7.8% 7.1%
Mental health issues 5.3% 6.9%
Homelessness/leaving home 5.2% 4.0%
Bullying 4.2% 5.8%
Child abuse 3.3% 4.9%
Suicide 2.7% 2.2%
Pregnancy 2.7% 3.0%
N.B. due to large differences in the number of telephone counselling sessions from the ACT compared with the Australian total, problem type comparisons are not meaningful (i.e., not statistically significant).

The report is available for download from the Kids Help Line website: http://www.kidshelp.com.au

Source: Kids Help Line 2006, Australian Capital Territory 2005 Report, Kids Help Line, Milton, QLD, [viewed 25/01/2006].

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Kids Help Line New South Wales 2005 Report

General information

  • In 2005, Kids Help Line received 251,707* telephone and online contacts from New South Wales and were able to respond to 121,223* of these contacts (115,053* telephone contacts and 6,170 online contacts).
  • 37% of calls to Kids Help Line required counselling or support.
  • 473 young people from New South Wales reported current thoughts of suicide, while 1,670 young people reported having deliberately injured themselves (as distinct from suicidality).
  • 14% of telephone callers were referred to other support services in their local area. Duty-of-Care actions, such as contacting an emergency service or child protection agency, were required for 117 New South Wales callers.

* Estimation due to 6 days of missing data.

Location of callers within NSW

Region % of calls
NSW regional mobiles 28.5%
Sydney metropolitan 19.4%
Sydney mobiles 13.0%
Hunter 9.7%
Northern Rivers 6.3%
Greater Murray 4.3%
New England 4.3%
Mid North Coast 4.1%
Illawarra 3.6%
Mid West 2.8%
Macquarie 2.0%
Southern 1.6%
Far West 0.5%

The following figures are based on data gathered from 15,578 telephone counselling sessions with children and young people in New South Wales aged 5–25 years:

Age and sex of callers

Age Females Males Total
5–9 years 2.3% 1.2% 3.4%
10–14 years 25.9% 7.7% 33.6%
15–18 years 41.5% 13.0% 54.5%
19–25 years 6.0% 2.4% 8.5%
Total 75.7% 24.3% 100.0%

10 most frequent concerns of New South Wales KHL clients, 2005

Concern Proportion of NSW contacts Proportion of national contacts
Family relationships 16.1% 17.7%
Peer relationships 12.8% 13.4%
Partner relationships 10.4% 10.0%
Mental health 10.9% 6.9%
Emotional/behavioural management 7.8% 7.1%
Bullying 6.7% 5.8%
Child abuse 5.9% 4.9%
Leaving home/homelessness 4.4% 4.0%
Pregnancy 3.5% 3.0%
Drug or alcohol use 3.1% 2.7%

The report is available for download from the Kids Help Line website: http://www.kidshelp.com.au

Source: Kids Help Line 2006, New South Wales 2005 Report, Kids Help Line, Milton, QLD, viewed 21 June 2006.

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Schools in the ACT, 2005

ACT Stats: Schools in the ACT, released 10 October 2005 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. (The data presented does not include students or staff engaged in school level education in institutions other than schools, such as Canberra Institute of Technology.)

At February 2005:

  • Number of schools in the ACT: 140 primary, secondary and combined primary/secondary schools –
    • 96 government schools (95 in 1984) and
    • 44 non-government schools (35 in 1984).
  • Number of students enrolled in government schools: 35,721
  • Number of students attending non-government schools: 24,554
  • Number of ACT full-time school students has increased by 2% since 1984.
  • Enrolment in non-govt schools has increased from 32% to 41% of the total ACT student school numbers.
  • There has been a corresponding decline in the proportion of students enrolled in govt schools – down from 68% in 1984 to 59% in 2005.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1344.8.55.001 Australian Capital Territory, ACT Stats: Schools in the ACT [viewed 25/01/2007].

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Report: Adolescent Gambling in the ACT, 2005

Adolescent Gambling in the ACT presents key findings of a 2003-2004 study involving more than 900 secondary school students from 18 schools in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Gambling frequency:
Students were asked to indicate the frequency of their gambling for the year prior to completing the survey. The results showed:
  • 29.6% of students reported that they had never gambled,
  • 60.4% reported infrequent gambling, and
  • 10% said they gambled frequently (i.e. weekly or more often).
The table below sets out these findings on gambling frequency and the gender of those persons who never gambled, and those who had gambled infrequently and frequently.

Number (%) of male and female adolescents gambling at each frequency:



Gambling frequency (n = 898)

Never
n (%)
Infrequent
n (%)
Frequent
n (%)
Male 127 (27.5) 270 (58.4) 65 (14.1)
Female 139 (31.9) 272 (62.4) 25 (5.7)
Overall 266 (29.6) 542 (60.4) 90 (10.0)




Gambling prevalence:
  • The most popular type of gambling based upon overall participation was private card games (40%) and bingo/scratch cards (41%), racing (32%) and gambling on sporting events (26%).
  • 6.1% of students had gambled on the Internet in the past year, making it one of the least popular forms of gambling.
  • Males were more likely than females to be frequent gamblers. Boys were also more likely to gamble on card games, racing, sports events and scratch tickets, but there were no differences between males and females for lottery or poker machine gambling.
  • Young people indicated that 72% of their parents gamble, a rate very similar to the overall national average. There was a significant association between the frequency of adolescent and parental gambling involvement.
  • The social context of adolescent gambling varied according to type of gambling activity. Card games were predominantly played with friends. Poker machine and Internet gambling were most commonly undertaken alone, whereas racing, lottery and scratch card gambling were more likely to be undertaken with parents.
Source: Adolescent Gambling in the ACT [viewed 25/01/2007], Australian National University, Centre for Gambling Research.

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Issues of importance to young people 2004

A resource, published by the NSW Commission for Children and Young People: Ask the children: Kids' Issues, details the responses of 430 young people who were asked to identify issues important to them in four key areas of their lives – family, school, work and their local community.

The Commission found that many young people:

  • Recognised that it is vital to have their family for love and support
  • Want to be liked and respected by their teachers.
  • Were concerned about working conditions for young people.
  • Want safer parks and public spaces.
The resource also details issues young people feel are the most important and what they want done about them.

'Things to do and places to hang out' was identified most commonly as the issue young people wanted something done about, with many saying that there was a lack of entertainment and activities for kids in their area.

Issues to do with school such as workloads and HSC stress were highlighted, along with underage use of drugs, alcohol and smoking and safety in the community.

The resource can be viewed at the NSW Commission for Children and Young People web site [viewed 25/01/2007].

Source: AICAFMHA News, Issue #4.17 (23/10/2004).

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Young People in Custody Health Survey, 2003

Between January and March 2003, the Department of Juvenile Justice conducted the Young People in Custody Health Survey (YPiCHS) as part of its ongoing efforts to understand the physical and mental health needs of NSW young people in custody.
All young people remanded or sentenced to a period of control in any of the nine juvenile detention centres in NSW were eligible for inclusion in the survey.
The YPiCHS examined the physical and mental health needs of young people in custody using a broad definition of health, including social and demographic factors, physical and mental health, and intellectual and educational performance. The survey had the following goals:
  • Determine physical health needs, including blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections,
  • Determine mental health needs, including intellectual disability and mental health disorders.
  • Identify risk behaviours.
  • Explore health service utilisation and needs, and
  • inform policy development and service provision.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 4/10/2004, p.3.

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Mobile phone use, 2004

In July 2004, a major new study of youth phone use reveals the average age for under-18s to begin using mobiles is 13 and many are spending more than half their income on bills.

Youth Action & Policy Association (YAPA) polled 550 young people, aged under 18, in NSW about their mobile-phone use. The survey found:

  • 20% admitted phone debt had caused them major problems
  • fewer than 10% knew where to go for help with debt
  • 40% had received monthly bills for more than $200
  • 4 % had received bills for more than $1500
  • more than one in 10 spent more than 50% of their income on phone bills.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald web site [viewed 25/01/2007].

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Rates of re-appearance in court for juvenile offenders, 1995–2003

NSW Bureau of Crime and Statistics and Research study identified a sample of 5,476 juvenile offenders who appeared in the NSW children's Court for the first time in 1995 and followed them up for a period of eight years.

More than 68% of the juvenile offenders who appeared for the first time in the NSW Children's Court in 1995 re-appeared in a NSW criminal court within the next eight years, with more than 13% ending up in an adult prison within this period.

The researchers found that:

  • Within eight years of their first court appearance, juvenile offenders re-appear in court 3.5 times on average.
  • Rates of re-appearance in court are much higher for Indigenous offenders and for those whose first court appearance occurred when they were relatively young.
  • Indigenous offenders re-appeared 8.3 times on average, over the eight-year follow-up period, while those whose first court appearance occurred when they were 10-14 years of age re-appeared, on average, 5.2 times over this period.
  • Indigenous males, who were aged 10-14 at their first court appearance, re-appeared 12 times.
  • More than half (57%) of the juveniles examined in the study went on to appear in an adult court within the eight-year follow-up period.
  • The likelihood of a juvenile re-appearing in an adult court was higher for Indigenous offenders, for those with a prior record, and for males.
  • More than 90% of Indigenous juvenile offenders, who were aged 16 at their first court appearance, ended up in an adult court and 85% of this group with two or more Children's Court appearances went on to appear in an adult court.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 27/5/2005.
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Media release, 26 May 2005: The transition from juvenile to adult criminal careers [viewed 25/01/2007].

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2002 NSW Youth Services Census

The Youth Action and Policy Association (YAPA) conducted a census in October-December 2002 of non-government, non-residential youth services in NSW that are funded by government departments and local councils. The census revealed that:

  • 4,300 group activities were run for 28,000 young people.
  • 15,000 young people took part in unstructured recreational activities.
  • 1,300 young people received emergency relief.
  • One-third of the 300,000 young people involved in projects speak a language other than English
  • The 770 projects had a total recurrent expenditure of approximately $69.4 million. 74% of the funding ($51.3 million) was provided by the federal or state governments.
The 770 youth projects employed approximately 1,950 paid staff working on average 22 hours each a week, or the equivalent of 1,230 full-time positions. 39% of staff worked full time.

48% of projects used volunteers (other than as part of management/advisory committees). These projects used approximately 1,830 volunteers working the equivalent of 220 full-time equivalent positions.

The most commonly available services were:
  • Information and referral
  • Informal counselling/support
  • Living skills education and training
  • Structured recreational activities
The four services using the largest proportion of staff time were:
  • Information and referral
  • Individual casework and advocacy
  • Drop in
  • Structured recreational activities

Source: Youth Action and Policy Association 2003, Summary report on the 2002 NSW Youth Services Census, YAPA, Sydney [viewed 25/01/2007].


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Youth population in NSW and the ACT, 2001

2001 Census figures

NSW:


0-14 years 15-24 years
Male 673,898 431,188
Female 639,452 414,157
Total 1,313,350 845,345
Percentage 20.8% 13.4%

ACT:

0-14 15-24 Total ACT pop'n
Females 32,162 24,498 157,118
Males 33,145 25,358 152,066
Total 65,577 49,856 309,184
% of total pop'n 21.2% 16.1% 100%

Source: adapted from Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

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1996 Census figures

Number of young people 12-25 years: 1,201,770

Percent of total NSW population: 20%

Number of Indigenous young people: 27,821 (2.3% of young people)

...born overseas 15.8%

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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