yourtown's advocacy work is focused on improving the lives of disadvantaged young people and their families.

Our work with young people brings with it the responsibility of leveraging our knowledge of their experiences to bring about systemic change.

Reports relating to employment, learning, mental health, family and domestic violence are regularly submitted to government to help shape social reform.

yourtown's Submission On The Child Protection Reform Amendment Bill 2017

Published: 09/2017
Categories: Advocacy

The Queensland government is driving a program of long-needed and significant reform of Queensland’s child protection system with the aim of improving the experiences and outcomes of the children, young people and families who come into contact with or live their lives supported by child protection services.yourtown has responded to the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee’s Inquiry into a step in this reform agenda – the Child Protection Reform Amendment Bill 2017.  This Bill introduces a number of key legislative changes that aim to support positive long-term outcomes for children in the child protection system, the safe care and connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with their families, communities and cultures and a contemporary information sharing regime for the child protection and family support system.

Suicidal thoughts start young: The critical need for family support and early intervention

Published: 07/2017
Categories: Advocacy

Presentation at the National Suicide Prevention Conference, Brisbane, July 2017Between 2011 and 2015, 89 children aged 14 years or younger died by suicide and Kids Helpline data show that many more think about suicide. Concerningly, ABS data suggest that suicide rates in this age group are increasing, but very little research about the help-seeking experiences of this group exists.In this presentation we reported analysis of two sources of data about help-seeking by this age group: Kids Helpline contact data from the past five years, and yourtown’s survey of children and young people with lived experience of suicide, which included 139 (29.4%) respondents aged 14 years or younger.Our survey data showed that younger people were significantly less likely to have sought and received help than older age groups, and that they often seek help from parents, many of whom do not know how to respond effectively. The presentation highlighted the need for more data about suicidality in children, more education and support for families, a critical need to reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking, as well as greater access to early intervention and outreach services for children.

The Impact of Pregnancy and Parenting on Teens and Young People

Published: 05/2017
Categories: Advocacy

Each year Kids Helpline (KHL) receives, on average, approximately 500 contacts related to pregnancy, and about 520 related to sexual activity, contraception or parenting from kids and young people (aged from 13 to 17 years). As well, yourtown runs several programs in various locations throughout Australia that assist pregnant teens or young parents with parenting, employment, and educational opportunities. In 2017 yourtown made a submission to the National Children’s Commissioner’s inquiry into teen pregnancy and young parenthood. That submission drew on a literature review, KHL data on contacts from young people (13-17) related to pregnancy, sexual behavior, contraception and young parenthood, and on an interview study with yourtown staff who work with young people in services that support pregnant teens and young parents.

Preventing suicide: The voice of young people

Published: 09/2016
Categories: Advocacy

In 2014, 151 young people in Australia aged between 5 and 19 years died by suicide.  Many organisations and individuals are working hard to develop strategies that will make a difference, but the voices of young people are often missing from the conversation.In this series of Insights papers we share the views and experiences of young people with lived experience of thinking about, planning and attempting suicide.  Using an online survey, 472 children, adolescents and young adults told us how they got help when they were feeling suicidal, who helped them, which experiences were helpful and which weren’t, and what advice they would like to give to other young people, families, friends, and those who provide services for young people like them. In each paper, we have intentionally privileged young people’s own words, as they provide important learnings about how young people think and feel, and are more powerful than anything we could write.Insights Parts 1 to 3 present young people’s experiences of seeking and receiving help, and their advice to others. Insights Part 4 summarises and highlights the issues that young people told us are important to them and draws attention to  those issues that we believe warrant increased consideration in the current policy and practice arena.  A fifth paper describes the background and method of the consultation.

Harm to children through exposure to pornography on the internet: Response to senate inquiry

Published: 03/2016
Categories: Advocacy

Pornography consumption makes up approximately 30% of all internet traffic, and whether intentional or accidental, children's exposure to pornography has dramatically increased as a result of the internet. Furthermore, the nature of pornography has been changing; popular mainstream pornography contains aggression and violence (mostly directed towards women) and teaches poor messages about consent. This response to the 2016 Environment and Communications References Committee senate inquiry presents data from Kids Helpline and Parentline summarising our clients' experiences of harm relating to exposure to pornography on the internet and presents our recommendations to government for how to reduce the harm caused by exposure to pornography.

Tackling long-term youth unemployment: Discussion paper

Published: 03/2016
Categories: Advocacy

The incidence of young people in long-term unemployment continues to increase, however, contemporary research and discussion is lacking in detailed strategies and interventions to specifically assist this group. This paper highlights the experiences and issues of young people in long-term unemployment by presenting data trends, reviewing relevant literature, and posing questions to promote discussion and further exploration of this topic.

Preventing Suicide by Young People: Discussion Paper

Published: 10/2015
Categories: Advocacy

Discourse about suicide often fails to recognise the lived experience of young people. This paper aims to: commence a conversation with policy makers, practitioners, researchers, and those with lived experience, and guide consultations to enhance our understanding of the issue, and inform the development of more effective responses to reduce suicidal behaviours.

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To view other yourtown reports visit Research and Evaluations.

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