Skip navigation


Need a password?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


'Child abuse and neglect: Identifying and assisting children at risk' is a live national satellite television broadcast event due to be presented by the Rural Health Education Foundation on Tuesday, 24 October 2006, at 8 p.m. EST (repeated Friday, 27 October at 12.30 p.m. EST). See details at:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


For schools: 'Are YOU a bully bystander?'

While many students are neither victims nor perpetrators of bullying behaviour, they are often witnesses of such behaviour and therefore can play active roles in making a school a safe and supportive environment for all. 'Are YOU a bully bystander?' is a Ryebuck Media DVD and print resource to help 'bully bystanders' to identify instances of bullying behaviour in their school environment and to empower them with the strategies needed to deal with it effectively and safely. The resource also raises human rights issues associated with bullying behaviour, challenging students to help create the type of society in which they want to live. The 10-minute DVD features a variety of typical bullying scenarios acted out by drama students and staff at Kilbreda College and St Bede's College, Mentone, and includes comments from the students themselves about their experiences of bullying behaviour. The accompanying 56-page booklet contains detailed suggestions for using the resource in the classroom across curricula, plus a series of worksheets for photocopying on issues raised by the DVD, as well as other resources for each of the topics covered. The resource was designed to help schools implement the National Safe Schools Framework. Its intended audience spans Year 5 to Year 12. Contact Ryebuck Media, ph: (03) 9500 2399; fax: (03) 9500 2388; email: ryebuck[AT]; website:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The UK Government's green paper, 'Care matters: Transforming the lives of children and young people in care', outlines ways to encourage authorities to give looked-after young people free access to youth clubs, sports grounds and leisure centres. While there's no new funding for the proposals (backing from the Treasury would be needed if they were rolled out nationally), the UK Department for Education and Skills will pilot some of the report's ideas, and its proposals will be discussed at the inaugural 'Leaving Care' conference, taking place on 25 October 2006. That conference is being organised by the UK magazine, 'Young People Now', to coincide with National Care Leavers Week in the UK ( )
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Youth Disability Advocacy Service

The Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) provides individual advocacy for young people with disabilities between the ages of 12 and 25 throughout Victoria. Contact details: ph: (02) 9267 3733; or 1300 727 176. People with hearing impairments can call via the National Relay Service: 1800 555 630.

The benefits of music

An article in the October edition of 'link magazine' examines the benefits of learning a musical instrument for people living with a disability. Musician and music teacher Anthea Skinner outlines the physical, educational and social benefits of playing music either individually or as part of an ensemble, gives advice on how to choose an instrument to suit temperament and physique, and describes two interesting case studies on the accessibility of school music classes for students with a disability. (Source: 'link magazine', v.15, n.4, 2006, p.3-6.)

Tasmanian students benefit from e-learning project

A group of 15 Tasmanian students with learning disabilities has taken part in a mentoring and e-learning project, creating short digital films based on their personal experiences. The Hudson Project consisted of face-to-face and online learning programs that taught students a range of digital film production skills. Students' films were shown as part of the Other Film Festival, a festival of films made by, with and about people with a disability in Melbourne in August, and will be part of the Awakenings Festival, a regional disability arts festival in Victoria later in October. See:;
(Source: 'link magazine', v.15, n.4, 2006, p.32.)

Braille literacy for Australian children

This topic is discussed as part of a feature on the current major initiatives of Blind Citizens Australia written by BCA national policy officer John Power and Carla Angela. They note that while the integration of blind and visually impaired children and young people into mainstream Australian schools in the 1970s has had 'welcome social benefits' for blind and visually impaired students, it has not necessarily resulted in equal access to Braille literacy. This is due to a lack of teaching graduates literate and skilled in Braille teaching and a lack of access to study materials in accessible formats at secondary and tertiary levels, issues which the BCA raised in its submission to the Federal Government's National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. BCA was also actively involved in the development of the Federal Government's recently passed 'Standards for Education' and is optimistic that the structural changes necessary to improve education services for students with disabilities will come about. (Source: 'link magazine', v.15, n.4, 2006, p.34-35.)

Students with disabilities in mainstream schools

In July, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report on Australian children up to age 14 living with a disability. The report found that of the approximately 317,900 Australian children living with a disability, about half had profound disabilities. In terms of their education, 97 per cent of school-aged children living with a disability attend school and 89 per cent of these children attend mainstream schools. However, 63 per cent were found to experience 'some difficulty' at school, facing social, communication, intellectual and learning difficulties. The report also found that mothers were the primary carers of 91 per cent of children living with a disability. More at the AIHW website:
(Source: 'link magazine', v.15, n.4, 2006, p.22.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


'In My Life': Stories to help families through drug addiction

A research study completed in 2004 as part of the National Drug Strategy had found that governments and service providers ought to draw on the strengths and relationships offered by families to family members who are drug users in their midst, and to recognise the needs these of families in helping their loved one through a drug treatment program. As a result, the Department of Health and Ageing launched 'In My Life' in June, a book that draws on the real-life experiences of families trying to deal with drug addiction in their midst. It aims to help other families who are facing the same battle, and was written from interviews conducted by Moya Sayer-Jones and produced by a consortium of three organisations, LMS Consulting, UnitingCare Burnside NSW, and Family Drug Support. The book's useful information includes a contacts page and a glossary of commonly-used terms. 'In My Life' was funded by the National Illicit Drugs Strategy, National Comorbidity Initiative. (Source: 'Of Substance', v.4, n.4, 2006, p.6; Pyne, C. (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) 2006, 'Real life stories to help families battling drug use', media release, 5 June, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, viewed 12 October 2006, or

2006 National Drug and Alcohol Awards honour triple j

The ABC's youth-oriented radio station, triple j, won the excellence in alcohol and drug media reporting award at the 2006 National Drug and Alcohol Awards, presented in Sydney in June, for their drug and alcohol-related stories featured on 'Hack', triple j's daily half-hour current affairs show. 'Hack' has covered drug and alcohol-related topics, such as cannabis and mental health, drug testing in schools, ecstasy use, drink spiking and increased methamphetamine use. In the October edition of 'Of Substance' magazine, former 'Hack' presenter Steve Cannane made the following comments about triple j's approach to drug and alcohol-related reportage: 'At triple j, we've considered it our responsibility to give out straightforward information about the dangers of drugs, both legal and illegal. We know a certain proportion of out audience will ignore these warnings. With this in mind, we also see it as our duty to give out information that can minimise harm to those who decide to take drugs'. The National Drug and Alcohol Awards are a collaborative effort of the Ted Noffs Foundation, the Australian Drug Foundation, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia and the Australian National Council on Drugs. (Source: 'Of Substance', v.4, n.4, 2006, p.10, 14).

Reducing the stigma of dual diagnosis

'Stigmatised' is a group-devised theatre piece organised by the South Sydney Youth Services Dual diagnosis Team, and was performed to a standing ovation at the Fifth International Conference on Drugs and Young People held in Sydney in May this year. Developed as part of a 12-week program for young people with a dual diagnosis using a combination of drama, community development, group therapy and peer education, the program was extended at the request of the participants, eventually running for six months. The performance is a series of vignettes depicting young people's involvement with mental health services, drugs and peer groups and was designed to 'make people tear apart their previous misconceptions and stereotypes and leave them with a whole new perspective on the subject'. (Source: 'Of Substance', v.4, n.4, 2006, p.21.)

Illicit drug use in rural and remote Indigenous communities

This is the title of a report published in August as part of the Australian Institute of Criminology's 'Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice' series. Written by Judy Putt and Brendan Delahunty, it summarises a 14-month project which surveyed police perceptions of drug use among Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Researchers also met with a number of local community representatives and service providers to discuss the issue. While the report does not focus on young Indigenous people in particular, the authors note in the conclusion that 'a major concern during community consultations was the impact of widespread heavy use of cannabis, mostly by young people, perceived as exacerbating substance misuse-related problems' in rural and remote Indigenous communities. The full report is available in html and pdf format on the Australian Institute of Criminology website: (Source: Putt, J. and Delahunty, B., 2006, 'Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice n.322: Illicit drug use in rural and remote Indigenous communities', Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.)

New UK report: Pathways to Problems: Hazardous use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs by young people in the UK and its implications for policy

This report, released in September by the UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), found that alcohol causes more problems in young people than all other drugs. The use of aclohol had grown in use, and the report's authors have recommended that alcohol misuse should be tackled with the same urgency that has been shown towards hard drug use. Among the range of measures that the ACMD recommends is a ban on the TV advertising of alcohol and a lower drink drive limit for young drivers. In the UK, the death rate among young drivers has doubled in the past five years. The UK's Drug Education Forum has welcomed the report from the ACMD, saying it 'gives us a very clear picture of some of the challenges in helping young people to develop into healthy adults', but Howard Williamson, a well-known UK youth researcher, comments that this 'excellent report is likely to be ignored', and a piece in 'The Telegraph' reflected that while the UK Government often acts on the recommendations of the ACMD, acknowledged as an important barometer of opinion about the relative dangers of particular drugs, there may be some reluctance in adopting the report's proposals given the UK$200 million a year spent by the UK's alcohol industry on advertising. The ACMD report, produced by a group chaired by Laurence Gruer, the director of Public Health Science at NHS Health Scotland, is in PDF format at: and it can be downloaded in sections from: (Sources: 'Young People Now', cited 11/10/2006 at: ; and 'The Telegraph', cited 11/10/2006, at:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Vigorous physical activity enhances academic achievement

A study recently released by the American College of Sports Medicine indicates that young people who participate in at least three 20-minute sessions of sport or vigorous physical activity per week generally achieve better academic performance than their less active peers. The study of 214 middle school students measured participants' levels of physical activity both inside and outside the classroom. While researchers expected participation in physical education classes alone to be a predictor of increased academic performance, they found that participants attained most of their vigorous physical activity in extracurricular activities such as soccer, football, basketball and baseball/softball. Researchers recommended that these and other vigorous physical activities be incorporated into physical education classes. The study was published in the August edition of 'Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise' (v.38, n.8, 2006, pp.1515-19). (Source: Kinect Australia, 2006, 'Active Media Bulletin', September, p.4.)

Students lament lack of activities

Year 7 students participating in a Victorian educational study have complained of a lack of opportunities for informal physical activity during recess and lunch breaks at high school. The students, from private and government schools in Victoria, said that unlike primary school, at high school they were unable to run, play informal games or access sporting equipment during their breaks. Melbourne University professor Lyn Yates, one of the study's authors, said that 'sitting and talking' was the most commonly reported lunchtime activity for these students. Boyd Swinburn, a childhood obesity expert from Deakin University, suggested that schools fail to encourage physical activity during lunchtime due to a fear of litigation resulting from playground accidents or injuries. (Source: Kinect Australia, 2006, 'Active Media Bulletin', August, p.4; taken from 'The Age', 10 July 2006, p.3.)

'Read Hot' website for secondary students

'Read Hot' is a New Zealand website designed to get secondary students to share comments and reviews about their current reading and to find out what other young people are reading. The site's produced by Unitec in Schools, New Zealand's professional development site for teachers. See: (Source: email, viewed 30 August 2006.)

OECD: Education at a glance 2006

This annual report provides an up-to-date collection of comparative indicators on the performance of education systems in OECD countries, including Australia. See:,2340,en_2649_37455_37387877_1_1_1_37455,00.html (or )

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Protection for young workers in NSW

The New South Wales Government is to draft a law to protect young workers from the Federal Government's WorkChoices industrial relations reforms. Under the proposed law, employers will be required to provide workers under 18 years of age with employment terms and conditions that are at least equivalent to NSW employment awards and legislation. NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca said that the legislation will be debated in parliament as soon as possible, with a view to introducing the law before the state election in March next year. (Source: 'YAPRap', v.16, n.9, 2006, p.1,11.)

Representatives from the Youth Action and Policy Association NSW Inc (YAPA) recently met with Justice Marcus Einfeld, chair of the NSW Government taskforce established to investigate the potential impacts of the Federal Government's WorkChoices legislation on the delivery and quality of community services in NSW. YAPA presented a series of recommendations to Justice Einfeld in relation to the youth sector, including the establishment of a free and independent Young Workers Advisory Service to provide information on rights at work, pay and conditions to young workers. YAPA's recommendations to the NSW Government are outlined in the September issue of their newsletter, 'YAPRap' (v.16, n.9, 2006, pp.12-13).

Young Workers Advisory Service in Queensland

YWAS is a community organisation advocating for the rights of young workers in Queensland, funded by that state's Department of Industrial Relations. YWAS provides young workers under 25 years of age with education, information and advice on workplace issues such as dismissal, entitlements, bullying, discrimination and harassment, and also represents young workers in cases before relevant tribunals. See:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Tobacco control and social equity strategy

Cancer Council NSW is embarking on a five-year collaborative project with social service agencies across that state to address tobacco use problems among the most disadvantaged groups in society. Their Tobacco control and social equity strategy acknowledges that smoking is a social justice issue, as disadvantaged and vulnerable groups such as young people, the unemployed, single parents, Aboriginals and people living with a mental illness all experience higher rates of smoking than the overall population. The strategy aims to 'build awareness and understanding of smoking risks, develop tools to help people quit smoking, change social environments to make it easier for people to resist smoking and influence legislation and policy that affects smoking'. Cancer Council NSW is currently planning an initial seminar on smoking and social equity and will launch the strategy in Sydney later this year. Contact Jon O'Brien, Cancer Council NSW: ph: (02) 9334 1848; email: jonb[AT] (Source: 'YAPRap', v.16, n.9, 2006, pp.8-9.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Mental health and homelessness

David Wright-Howie, policy officer for the Council to Homeless Persons, has written an information paper on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Initiatives regarding mental health and homelessness. The 11-page document can be downloaded from the CHP web site, at:

The future of homelessness support

The August edition of 'Parity', the monthly publication of the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), contains articles commenting on the future of homeless support, a number of which are focused on young people:

* In 'The future of youth homelessness support: Some direction home', Anna Forsyth, CHP's youth policy officer, comments on the Youth Homelessness Action Plan (YHAP) launched by the Victorian Department of Human Services in 2004. Forsyth says that while YHAP initiatives have improved outcomes for clients and developed greater integrated support responses to client needs, the existing service delivery framework 'continues to largely segregate support responses. According to Forsyth, the second stage of the YHAP, released in September, 'promises to provide some exciting opportunities to enhance intensive support capacity across the service system, moving away from segregated and restrictive crisis and transitional support models'.

* 'Resilient kids', by Joanna Ash from Wesley Mission Melbourne's Resilient Kids program provides a critique of the status of children in the current homelessness support system. She concludes by saying that 'the underpinning premise of the system is that children are there merely as 'accompanying' the adults in their lives, which diminishes the adequate allocation of resources towards children. The lack of resources within the system in general means that it is difficult to even adequately provide for the needs of our clients whether they be adults or children. Children need to be seen as individuals in their own right before the system can even begin to adequately respond to their needs'.

* 'Young people at risk and their transition from child protection to independent living' by Jenny McNaughton, manager of Wesley Youth Services Southern, discusses issues faced by many young people in their transition from the child protection system to independent living, particularly those young people regarded as 'high risk'. McNaughton discusses these issues in relation to one such high-risk adolescent, using the story of his descent into homelessness to highlight the fact that the child protection system 'has not put enough emphasis on creating models for transition to independence that targets challenging adolescents'. She welcomes recent changes to the Children and Young Persons Act in Victoria, which extends the period of child protection involvement for young people in the process of leaving care from 17 to 21 years of age, saying that this change 'gives scope for optimism provided that continuity of care translates into relationship and trust-based initiatives with all the resources requirements these require'.
The articles above appear in the CHP magazine, 'Parity', v.19, n.7, 2006.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


'Hidden treasures: Recognising the value of Indigenous educators' is a short paper in the Dusseldorp Skills Forum's Education Horizons' series. In the four-page paper, Michael Winkler draws our attention to the vital role of Indigenous educators in the education of Indigenous students. Information gathered from the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Program has found that ensuring Indigenous presence, involvement, and influence in schools is one of the best ways to improve Indigenous students' outcomes.

In a recent paper by three mental health workers from the Kimberley region, the high rates of suicide among the Kimberley's Indigenous youth have been linked to child abuse. This high incidence has been thought to be the result of depression, but The paper, presented at the Healing our Spirit Worldwide conference in Canada in September suggests the cause is more likely to be exposure to trauma, and to child sexual abuse in particular, child abuse being 'the core social and emotional wellbeing issue impacting on Aboriginal communities'. The Age on 21 September 2006 (at: or

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Getting a sense of purpose

In the US, the Stanford Center on Adolescence aims to spread the recognition of 'youth purpose' as an important area of scientific research by encouraging all inquiries that shed light on issues of 'adolescent motivation, personal meaning, or positive character formation in an array of settings found in contemporary society'. The Stanford Center on Adolescence defines purpose as a stable and generalised intention to accomplish something that is meaningful to the self and that leads to productive engagement with some aspect of the world beyond the self. Their research looks at how purpose develops, its antecedents, the difference that purpose makes in the lives of young people, and how to best cultivate a sense of purpose in youth. They also study ways in which contemporary institutions might be revitalised in order to promote social, moral, and work-related skills and values among youth. See:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


UNESCO study into youth media participation

UNESCO has released a study examining the innovative ways in which young people use and participate in both new and traditional forms of media in various cultural contexts. The study, 'Innovative practices of youth participation in media', was conducted by Dr Sanjay Asthana of the School of Journalism at Middle Tennessee State University. It profiles 12 youth media initiatives in developing and underdeveloped countries, including Mexico, Mozambique, Somalia, Haiti and Vietnam. UNESCO recommends the study as a research and reference guide for a wide range of community, media and government stakeholders, including community-based media organisations, media education practitioners, media professionals and policy-makers. The study is available for download from the UNESCO website: (Source: UNESCO 2006, 'UNESCO releases study on innovative media use of youth', UNESCO website, 29 September, viewed 9 October 2006.)

Play Now Act Now in NSW

Now in its fifth year, Play Now Act Now is a film/video, graphic design and writing competition and health education initiative for young people in NSW, giving entrants the chance to produce a creative piece on alcohol and other drug issues. Organisations are invited to host a Play Now Act Now information session during October and November for any young people they feel might be interested in the competition, which has four categories: film/video, graphic design, creative writing and mobile phone movies. Play Now Act Now is open to young people in NSW aged 16 to 25 years and the finalists in each category will be featured during Youth Week 2007. Entries close on 23 February 2007. Contact Katrina Douglas, Play Now Act Now project manager ph: (02) 9361 5318; email: k.douglas[AT]; website: (Source: 'YAPRap', v.16, n.9, 2006, p.3.)

National Indigenous film festival

The Message Stick's Indigenous Film Festival is currently touring nationally from 11 October. Curated by Rachel Perkins and Darren Dale, and features the best new Indigenous short films from Australia and around the world. All screenings are free. The festival details are on 'The Black Book' website at:
or download the PDF at
'The Black Book' is an Australian website hosted and maintained by the Australian Film Commission and inspired by New Zealand's Brown Pages ( It acts as both a directory and a library, with the directory listing more than 2,700 Indigenous organisations and individuals working across 95 professions in the arts, media and cultural industries. The Black Book library includes news of artistic works by Indigenous people. Message Stick is a half-hour magazine-style TV program about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lifestyles and issues;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies is a new international interdisciplinary journal for research. It analyses the psychological, sociological, health, cultural, economic, and educational aspects of children and adolescents in developed and developing countries. Find out more at:

Youth Studies Australia digests of newspaper and journal articles

This newsletter does not normally cite newspaper articles, for the very good reason that recent press articles concerning youth are summarised in each issue of our journal, Youth Studies Australia. The journal's 'Youth Monitor' column is a four-to six-page regular feature in each issue of this quarterly, peer reviewed journal.

Similarly, this newsletter does not cite items from scholarly articles, because each issue of Youth Studies Australia has a column catering for that need. The journal's 'Abstracts' column summarises recently-published articles from selected scholarly journals relating to youth issues, relevant to an Australian audience. Find out more about Youth Studies Australia at:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Mental health and employment issues

SANE's latest newsletter ('SANE News', n.39, spring 2006), looks at the issues of mental health and employment in the context of both the Federal Government's Welfare-to-Work reforms and the Council of Australian Governments' National Action Plan on Mental Health. The latter plan will provide an extra $4 billion over the next five years to improve mental health services across Australia. Some of the issues touched on in the newsletter include the need for mental health advocacy groups to 'carefully monitor' the COAG plan's implementation and to continue to hold governments to account in order to ensure their 'ongoing commitment to improve the lives of people with a mental illness'. The concern that some people with mental health problems might be inappropriately placed on Newstart allowances is also discussed. (Source: 'SANE News', n.39, spring 2006, pp.2-3 and the COAG website: )

Establishing a community of youth services: Call for submissions extended

The closing date for the receipt of submissions and small grant applications for the headspace Youth Services Development Fund has been extended by one week, to 5 p.m. EDST on Monday, 13 November 2006. Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, was established earlier in 2006 by the Australian Government under the Promoting Better Mental Health - Youth Mental Health Initiative ( ) and this is its first call for submissions for funding. The call is for organisations across Australia interested in establishing a Community of Youth Services, a strategy that aims to build the capacity of local communities to identify mental health problems early and to provide effective resources to young people aged 12-25 with mental health and related substance use issues. Small grants will also be provided to organisations or consortia to assist in the development of full submissions for subsequent funding rounds. Submission information and application forms are available by registering at For information contact (03) 8346 8213 or email [email protected] (SOURCE: AYIN email list and Barbara Reither, Headspace, Level 1/369, Royal Pde, Parkville, Victoria 3052. )

Depression and diabetes

A recent Diabetes Australia research project has found that about one in four young Australians living with diabetes experiences long-term depression. Professor Fergus Cameron, head of diabetes services at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, said that the transition from childhood to adulthood can be a particularly turbulent time for young people living with type 1 diabetes. (Source: 'link magazine', v.15, n.4, 2006, p.21.)

World Mental Health Day was celebrated on 10 October, on the theme of 'Building awareness: Reducing risk: Mental illness and suicide'. The World Health Organisation estimates that there are one million suicide deaths each year, representing 1.4 per cent of the total global burden of disease. It is also estimated that half of all people who die by suicide have at least one mental illness (often undiagnosed), or misuse alcohol or other drugs. See the World Federation for Mental Health website at:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse has been established to collect and deliver the latest relevant research and best practice to family relationship service providers and practitioners across Australia. See:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Vision Generation (VGen)

VGen is World Vision Australia's youth movement, an 'interactive youth community', working with schools, student clubs and SRCs to raise funds for and awareness about disadvantaged communities around the world. Each year, VGen chooses a World Vision project to support, and has developed a youth advocacy website called 'Stir' (mentioned in the February 2006 YFX newsletter), which encourages young people to take an active involvement in fighting world poverty and injustice. See the Stir website: (Source: 'Connect', n.160, August 2006, p.19.)

World Youth Day for Democracy takes place on October 18 and will focus on highlighting what youth are already doing in their communities to help us all appreciate the diverse contributions young people make to democracy building and to inspire new collaborations in the future.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


October 17 was the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and Anti-Poverty Week ends on 21 October 2006. See:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


'Youth support services: Who's carrying the can?'

On 11 October, the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) and the Victorian Council of Social Service launched a report detailing the findings and recommendations of their 'Youth support services: Who's carrying the can?' campaign to identify and explore gaps in Victoria's youth support services. The report's key findings and recommendations concern 'the need to build a youth services system in Victoria, the need for increased investment in early intervention and secondary intervention support services for young people and the need to invest in sector sustainability'. The launch of the report coincided with the launch of 'Staying connected: Solutions for addressing service gaps for young people living at the Interface', a report commissioned by the Interface Council in metropolitan Melbourne. For further information on the YACVic/VCOSS report, contact YACVic: ph: (03) 9267 3799; email: info[AT] (Source: 'Yikes!', v.4, n.10, 2006, p.7.)

Youth perspective on draft NSW State Plan

The NSW Government has released a draft copy of its state plan, a document which outlines goals, plans and benchmarks for public policy over the next decade. In August, representatives from the Youth Action and Policy Association NSW Inc (YAPA) attended a stakeholder forum with members of other peak organisations and government departments to give feedback on the plan. YAPA is currently preparing a detailed response to the plan from a youth perspective. Their recommendations are summarised in the September edition of the peak's newsletter 'YAPRap' (v.16, n.9, 2006, pp.7-8). A detailed submission will be placed on the YAPA website at a later date: The NSW Government's draft state plan is at:

YACVic Victorian election kit

With the Victorian election set for 25 November, YACVic has compiled an election kit for young voters in that state. The kit contains policy positions from most of the major political parties on nine key issues that affect young people and the youth sector in Victoria. YACVic is also hosting a public forum on 25 October, called 'The state election and young people: Rhetoric or reality?'. For further information about the kit and the forum, contact YACVic's Jen Rose, ph: (03) 9267 3722; email: jrose[AT] (Source: 'Yikes!', v.4, n.10, 2006, p.7.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Refugee Week 2006 (22-28 October 2006) is a national event that gives refugee communities, community groups, schools and refugee support agencies the chance to promote the contribution of refugees to the community and to highlight issues affecting refugee communities throughout Australia. This year's theme is 'Journeys'. Contact the Refugee Council of Australia, or see:

Sydney-based Triumphant! International, a new organisation run by young refugees and friends of refugees, will be celebrating refugee week in Sydney with a showcase of refugee talent. See:

Moving Young: State of world population 2006: Youth Supplement

The voices of young people are often absent from debates about international migration, which makes the information in this United Nations Population Fund report interesting. It begins with general information about young people who move, and explores the lives of young people from ten countries (Burkina Faso, Colombia, India, Kenya, Liberia, Moldova, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Suriname and Zambia). Some have ventured into new lands to chase their dreams, others to escape oppression, war, poverty and misfortune, and some have never migrated, but are marked by the experiences of their spouses or relatives who moved abroad. They were interviewed by journalists in their countries of origin or destination. See:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


What's happening in youth research at ISA's Research Committee 34

The International Sociological Association's World Congress of Sociology in Durban earlier this year was mentioned in a previous edition of this newsletter. ISA's youth research strand (Research Committee 34 or RC34) aims to strengthen youth research networks around the globe and has about 130 members drawn from 43 countries, and many of them attended a six-day internal program at the Durban congress, submitting a total of 70 youth research-related papers from around the globe. Australian youth researchers also chaired sessions and gave papers. A delegate writes: 'Durban was a really confronting mix of so many of the things that we would discuss at the conference. The setting was beautiful, not that dissimilar to Brisbane or Gold Coast, but provided so much to think about (inequalities, social change, crime, personal security, policy responses ... Several of the delegates got mugged ... at least one was injured by a knife, and by mid-week, we had police escorts everywhere, even to walk us across the road. This cut through the usual conference mode of drifting around and meeting people, because we were constantly reminded that it wasn't safe to walk anywhere.'

The new RC34 executive includes people from our side of the world: Prof. Ngan-Pun Ngai, of the Chinese University of Hong-Kong, is its president, and the new regional vice-president for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania is Dr Ani Wierenga of the Australian Youth Research Centre, University of Melbourne. Dr Wierenga told YFX that 'the youth researchers in the region who are already part of this network are extremely active, so I think our work will be a team effort. Our current task is to develop a vision for the region for the next four years'.

Some work has begun on developing themes for the ISA's 2010 world congress. An ongoing focus of RC34 will be to support more isolated researchers working with young people and their communities, and those in lesser resourced places or nations. The ongoing work of RC34 will happen in six regions of the world: Africa (including Near East and Middle East); Asia including China and Japan; Australia, New Zealand and Oceania; Central and South America; Europe (including Russian Federation); and North America. Dr Wierenga hopes that 'some of us in the region can work closely with Asian youth researchers, who will be holding a youth research conference next year in India'. (see: )

Besides its interest in work that is strong theoretically, RC34's also interested in research that supports effective policy and practice. The network is open to sociologists and people from other disciplines. See The 'International Bulletin for Youth Research' website provides an international networking hub for youth researchers, and carries information about RC34 and its activities. See: and those interested in joining RC34 can register there. Alternatively, contact the regional representative.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Young Australian Rural Network and Heywire come together in Canberra

Last week, the Department of Forestry and Fisheries launched the Australian Government's revamped rural youth portal. Known as the Young Australian Rural Network (or YARN, not to be confused with the Youth Affairs Research Network, also known as YARN) the website describes itself as an 'interactive website designed for young people in rural industries'. The website contains news stories, current events, a discussion forum and much more. Visit it at:

The YARN launch event was also used to announce the winners of this year's ABC Heywire competition. The winners will have their radio documentary scripts recorded and played on ABC local radio and triple j, as well as participating in the Heywire Youth Issues Forum in Canberra in early 2007. For more information, visit the Heywire website: (Source: email, 24 September 2006.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Keeping Aboriginal youth safe

In October, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma launched a number of safety projects developed by the Blacktown area Aboriginal community in response to the high number of youth injuries in the area. The projects, 'Home Safe Home', 'Keeping Aboriginal Youth Safe' and 'Safety in the Local Environment', will be rolled out in the Blacktown area over the next few months. They are aimed at keeping young Indigenous people safe and preventing risk-taking behaviour which can often lead to injuries or contact with the criminal justice system. The projects all attempt to address one of the basic determinants of health: to live in a safe environment. (Source: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, )

Internet safety and youth

NetAlert has recently developed a number of websites to help Australian youth with internet safety issues. Organisations working with young people may find these websites useful for programs. NetAlert is funded by the Australian government to help children and families stay safe on the internet. The websites, relevant to youth aged 12 to 25, are:; (also available on CD-ROM); and (also available on DVD).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Connecting pathways: Big country, big picture: Suicide Prevention Australia's November conference

The 2006 National Conference on Suicide Prevention, organised by Suicide Prevention Australia, is coming up soon. It is to be held at the Stamford Grand Hotel in Glenelg, South Australia, on 2-4 November 2006. This bi-annual event will bring both national and international experts together, as well as those bereaved by suicide and those who've experienced suicidal ideation, to work collaboratively to share experience, research and practice in order to further advance collaboration. The focus this year is on participation. Further details about speakers and topics are in the conference brochure, which may be downloaded as a PDF from this link: (Source: SPA email, 118/10/2006.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Getting Out!

This attractive, user-friendly website ( has been produced by a group of youth workers in South Australia to help young people to negotiate the complex transition from living at home to independent living. While some information on this site is specific to South Australia, young people in all parts of Australia would find its general contents very useful. It provides information, advice and links to relevant services on topics such as career options, further education, employment, managing money, housing, transport, physical activity, socialising, safe partying and sex, homesickness, studying and stress management, enrolling to vote, obtaining a tax file number and Medicare card and legal issues. The website also includes a list of 'help numbers'; telephone numbers for organisations and services that young people might find useful. The website is a joint initiative of several health services in South Australia and the Department of Education and Children's Services through the Futures Connect Strategy in the Eyre Peninsula. The information contained on the website is available for sale in booklet form, while wallet cards containing the help numbers are also available for sale. Contact Lower Eyre Health Service, ph: (08) 8688 2629; email: ask[AT]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

United Nations: Australia's Youth Representative

Applications are now open for one young Australian to become part of the 2007 Australian delegation to the United Nations as Australia's youth representative. The youth representative, as a fully-accredited member of the Australian Delegation to the UN General Assembly, spends about eight weeks in New York. The position is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is administered by the United Nations Youth Association of Australia. See:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Exploring the economic and social value of present patterns of volunteering in Australia

In this report from the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Michael Bittman and Kimberly Fisher look at the volunteering sector in relation to its policy and economic significance, and present a case for an expanded definition of volunteering that includes activities outside the ambit of formal organisations. Higher levels of participation in voluntary activities are associated with higher status occupations, university level qualifications and living in regional areas. Importantly, volunteering played a crucial role in building and maintaining social capital. However, not all volunteers had the same opportunities to build social capital. Interestingly, the report found that Australians spent about half the amount of time volunteering as people in Canada, Finland, France and the United Kingdom. The report is in PDF format at:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Gen Y in the spotlight

The Dusseldorp Skills Forum (DSF) has released a qualitative study into the attitudes and experiences of young Australians aged 16 to 24 years. The study, 'Fearless and flexible: Views of Gen Y' was conducted on behalf of the DSF by prominent Australian social researchers Irving Saulwick and Dennis Muller. It summarises focus group research Saulwick and Muller conducted with young Australians during July 2006. The report indicates that Generation Y Australians represent a point of change in Australian social and economic history. Unlike their parents' generation, Generation Y Australians are in sync with the times, having fully adjusted to the globalised world. They display a pragmatism born out of prosperity; little awareness of issues outside their immediate orbit; an acceptance of the status quo. Saulwick and Muller also note that the values of this generation are conventional and their ambitions modest. For many of these young people, the authors remark that their dreams-come-true are about family, home, and the car. The study can be downloaded in full from the DSF website: . A short overview of the study, compiled by co-author Dennis Muller, is also available on the website: Muller also wrote an opinion piece based on the findings of the study. This was published in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on 3 October: (or: You can also read the Australian Youth Facts and Stats news story about the study: (Source: Dusseldorp Skills Forum, 2006, 'Fearless and flexible: Gen Y talks about their generation', media release, 30 September, viewed 9 October 2006, .)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Northern Territory news:

Applications are now being sought from young Territorians who are interested in being part of the 2007 Youth Minister's Round Table of Young Territorians, an advisory group of 16 young people, aged 15 to 25. See: or contact the Department of the Chief Minister's Office of Youth Affairs on freecall 1800 652 736. Applications close on Tuesday, 31 October 2006.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Call for youth sector code of practice in Victoria

The feature article in the October edition of 'Yikes!', the newsletter of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, explores the debate surrounding the development of a code of ethical practice for the youth sector in that state. The recent enactment of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 and the Working With Children Act 2005 has provided new 'legislative impetus' for this debate in Victoria. Researched and written by Lauren Hoiles and Tim Corney, the article describes a generic code of ethical practice as 'a document developed by a body of practitioners to provide and agreed framework or set of values for professional practice'. Hoiles and Corney argue that youth workers and the youth sector need a code of ethical practice to ensure the safety and protection of both clients and workers, and to ensure that pre-service and in-service education and training within the sector is based on a set of agreed values. Specific approaches to such codes taken by the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia and the UK's National Youth Agency are also outlined, although the authors note that 'the type of code developed, how such a code is regulated or enforced and the length of the document must be decided by the sector developing the code'. They also insist that any youth sector code of ethical practice must be developed 'by youth workers for themselves and should highlight the core values underpinning youth work'. (Source: 'Yikes!', v.4, n.10, 2006, pp.1,4-6.)

Europe: Training essentials for youth work

In order to raise the standard of youth worker training and to define its criteria for such training, the Council of Europe and the European Commission entered into a partnership agreement several years ago spelling out ways to 'promote active European citizenship and civil society by giving impetus to the training of youth leaders and youth workers working within a European dimension'. A wide spectrum of activities and publications has resulted, as well as tools for further networking. The partnership has three main components: a training offer (long-term training for trainers and training on European citizenship), publications (both paper and electronic versions of training materials and magazine) and networking tools (trainers' pool and exchange possibilities). A publication, titled 'T-Kit No. 6 - Training essentials' by Gavan Titley US$18) is one of the results. See:
or (Source: YARN email discussion list, email message from Borbala Fellegi, 16 October 2006.)

UK: The essential role of youth services

The UK online magazine, 'Young People Now', reports that the UK's Association of Principal Youth and Community Officers has issued a statement to all local authorities outlining the role of youth services. The statement, intended to ensure that youth work values are upheld, has the endorsement of the Association of Directors of Education and Children's Services. It describes the principles underlining youth work and identifies youth work as crucial to the relationship between youth workers and young people, based on voluntary engagement. It also highlights the role of youth services in advocating for young people. The Association of Directors of Education and Children's Services says that councils will 'start to buy youth work in a way they've never bought it before. In some places the influence of the principal youth officer has not been at the right level for an awareness of youth work values to have been crucial to the thinking process.' ('Young People Now', October 2006, cited on 11/11/2006 at: )

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Trust for Young Australians

The TYA is a philanthropic organisation working to help disadvantaged young people by conducting programs and developing model projects which can be benchmarks for other agencies working with young people. It is one of the organisations participating in the Australian Collaboration, a group of peak national community organisations representing social, cultural and environmental constituencies and interests that includes the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Consumers Association, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia, the National Council of Churches in Australia and its Social Justice Network. See:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


LLENs or 'local learning and employment networks' make wide use of mentoring as a strategy to help youth. Lindsay Short is executive officer of the Campaspe Cohuna LLEN in Echuca, which is developing school mentoring programs across the LLEN region. A few months ago Lindsay wrote in to YFX about his recent South African study tour, with words to inspire anyone who might have reservations about mentorship as a positive influence in the lives of youth. 'I was invited to South Africa by the World Change Academy as a mentor representing the Oaktree Foundation, a movement of young Australians seeking to empower and equip children and youth in the developing world. I still find myself deeply moved by what I experienced, the desperate need that I have to make a difference for young people around the world.' The main emphasis of the tour (in Kwazulu Natal) was to help provide schools, teachers and students with some resources for change. Lindsay's role was varied, from developing teacher leadership groups and helping to organise SRC-like leadership groups for students, to trying to instil hope in a group of 50 young people in a detention centre. 'These young people had committed minor offences, often in the hope of raising funds to be able to eat. I was so moved by the plight of one of them that I agreed to sponsor him to go back to school for the next twelve months. My next challenge is to seek support from the community to sponsor more than one young person. One day soon I will return to South Africa with the hope that some of our teachings have been successful and that we can further contribute to making life-changing differences that are sustainable for young people. I could never have imagined the effect that this tour would have on me ... we take so much for granted in this country.'

If you have an inspiring story along this vein, please send it in to YFX for consideration.