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Reaching young people - where they are at

Providing support and services to young people requires an understanding of their circumstances, the restrictions on their mobility, their reluctance or inability to access support systems, and their restricted financial resources.

Four of the papers in this issue take different but overlapping perspectives on supporting young people. There is a paper outlining youth service provision in general and three papers that tackle specific issues of support: volatile substance abuse, homelessness in young women and adolescent mental health.

The remaining papers describe new research into the role of student bystanders in bullying and into the reasons why young women binge-drink.

Students as bystanders to sexual coercion: How would they react and why?
by Ken Rigby and Bruce Johnson

Youth Studies Australia, v.23, n.2, 2004, pp.11-16. PEER REVIEWED

Summary: More than half of 200 Year 8 and 9 students who watched a video showing a girl being sexually coerced by a boy in the presence of student bystanders reported that such events occurred regularly at their Australian school. When asked how they would respond as bystanders, just over half said they would directly object to the boy's action, and nearly a fifth said they would seek help for the girl from a teacher. However, a quarter of the students said they would ignore what was happening and one in 40 said they would support the boy. Analysis of the results indicated that students' "attitude to victims", but not their gender, predicted the likelihood that they would express a readiness to help the girl. These findings suggest that promoting more caring attitudes in students towards the victims of peer abuse will encourage positive interventive action by both boy and girl bystanders in cases of sexual harassment at school.

Duty of care, harm reduction and young people in care: An effective approach to working with volatile substance users
by Rowan Fairbairn and David Murray

Youth Studies Australia, v.23, n.2, 2004, pp.17-21. PEER REVIEWED

Summary: Rowan Fairbairn and David Murray argue that duty of care and harm minimisation are not mutually exclusive concepts when it comes to caring for young people who choose to inhale volatile substances. In fact, the most effective approach to treating the trauma often associated with this substance abuse requires the two concepts to work synergistically.

Binge-drinking in female university students: A theory of planned behaviour perspective
by Kim L. Johnston and Katherine M. White

Youth Studies Australia, v.23, n.2, 2004, pp.22-30. PEER REVIEWED

Summary: Researchers have noticed a disturbing increase in alcohol consumption by young women in Australia. Although they are affected more than young men by the same amount of alcohol, the current research found that young female university students are binge-drinking at similar rates to young men. Female students who binge-drink believe they are more likely to have fun drinking than those who don't binge-drink. However, they also increase their risk-taking and damage their health. Intervention programs need to make students aware that their positive expectations of binge-drinking are distorted and that they face disapproval from significant others if they binge-drink.

Mapping the terrain: Youth service provision
by Rob White

Youth Studies Australia, v.23, n.2, 2004, pp.31-37. PEER REVIEWED

Summary: Service provision for young people can be improved by using a variety of frameworks to analyse existing services. These frameworks consider not only the types and roles of services but also the needs of young people, their social location and the interaction that occurs between young people and services.

First you have to 'see' them: Youth-friendly practice in mental health work
by Ann Crago, Chris Wigg and Kathleen Stacey

Youth Studies Australia, v.23, n.2, 2004, pp.38-45. PEER REVIEWED

Summary: Youth-friendly approaches to mental health work require stepping outside of common practice in mental health services. This paper takes a practice-based focus to what it means to "see" young people experiencing mental health concerns, set within the context of contemporary issues that shape the context of youth mental health services.

13 days and counting: A mutual support model for young, homeless women in crisis
by Rosemary Green, Robyn Mason and Alison Ollerenshaw

Youth Studies Australia, v.23, n.2, 2004, pp.46-50. (Programs and practice)

Summary: An innovative program in rural Victoria matches young homeless women with older homeless women and provides them with a range of support services. The result is more stability in the accommodation setting, mutual benefit and satisfaction for clients, and impressive rates of permanent housing outcomes.