Concurrent Session - Day 2 - Orion Room

State of knowledge: Young people's attitudes towards violence against women

Sue Fyfe & Jess Vati

Dr Sue Fyfe is a consultant in social research and community development, tertiary education and evaluation who is currently supporting the work of Peel Says No to Violence. Sue has a strong background in academic research and leadership with over 30 years experience in university, not for profit and government roles. Sue specializes in public health and educational research and development, focusing on social issues as well as public health, disability, health services and educational research in tertiary health sciences. She is committed to building strong, resilient communities with equal opportunity and educational opportunities for all.

Jess Vati is the Coordinator of Street Net Youth Service providing early intervention, diversional and recreational activities, and case management for young people aged 12-18 years who are at risk, through centre based and outreach services. Jess has been with Street Net since September 2009 and has 19 years’ experience in the youth sector. Jess is passionate about Respectful Relationships Education for young people and has been facilitating programs and workshops for 7 years in the Peel Region. Programs have included SARC’s Respectful Relationships, NAPCAN’s Love Bites, and more recently R4Respect. Jess strongly believes that young people are the key to ending violence in our communities.

Building Healthy Relationships Project (BHRP): Community led Primary Prevention and Gender Equality programs in schools in the Peel region of WA.

Family and Domestic Violence is a major issue in the Peel region. Challenging gender stereotypes and roles and strengthening positive equal and respectful relationships are critical actions for FDV prevention. The Building Healthy Relationships Peel (BHRP) project builds on these actions through student workshops and professional learning for staff.

Ovis Community Services developed the 8-week Kids against Violence (KAV) program for Year 2 students. Facilitated by two Ovis staff with the teacher present, it focuses on safety and respect and challenges gender stereotypes. In 2020, there were 10 KAV programs in three Peel schools for 173 children.

The two 2-hour R4Respect workshops for Year 7 students were developed by YFS (Ltd) in Queensland. Facilitated by peer educators aged 18-25 and Allambee Counselling, they focus on the condoning of violence against women, power and control, consent, “crossing the line” and digital abuse. Students have the opportunity to challenge their own and peers’ attitudes. In 2020 there were 11 four-hour workshops in two secondary schools for 193 students.

Pre and post -program evaluations were undertaken. Students reported learning something new in KAV (86%), increased their recognition of violence (41% to 65%) and increased their belief in the rights of everyone to feel safe (56% to 90%). Teachers reported that they could see improvement in students’ capacity to recognise violence and identify safe and unsafe situations.

150 students and school staff evaluated R4Respect and reported a high level of confidence in peer educators engaging and facilitating workshops in a youth-friendly way. Students found it helpful to have peer educators lead workshops (87%), thought peer educators were knowledgeable (86%) and helped them better understand what is OK and what crosses the line into harm (85%). Most students (85%) found the information interesting and helpful and 84% said their learning will help them treat others with greater respect. Most students (80%) reported that felt they could speak up, although less (65%) felt comfortable and safe to discuss the topics with their peers. Two thirds (66%) would prefer peer educators to lead respectful relationships education.

Findings and practice points for undertaking FDV prevention in schools with young people will be presented.

Lisa Fenn

Lisa Fenn is the highly skilled offsider to Jodie-Griffiths Cook, the Children and Young People Commissioner, helping to keep the Commissioner’s many strategic objectives on track. She also has some pretty nice talents in her own right, having worked across Federal and Territory Governments, Parliament and NGO sectors, and as co-director of a consulting firm. Lisa is passionate about harnessing under-utilised forms of knowledge, including people’s lived experience. She is a strategic analyst, researcher and community engagement specialist, working particularly with overlooked and vulnerable population groups.

My World: Young People’s Perspectives

This presentation belongs to 35 young people who shared their experiences of living with family violence. Who are they? They are young Canberrans aged 13 to 20, some finishing college exams, some in high schools, some in community services and alternative education pathways. Some of the young people have casual jobs and at least one is an activist. Several have disabilities, some are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and some are LGBTQI+.  A few of these young people might be judged by others as ‘high performers’, and others would be judged as ‘troublemakers’. They are thinkers, jokers, actors, survivors. Sons, daughters, siblings, cousins: every one an inspiration, for wanting to make life better for the kid that comes next.  

Today the views of these young people come to you through Lisa Fenn, Senior Adviser to the ACT Children and Young People Commissioner. Lisa is an analyst, researcher and community engagement specialist, working particularly with overlooked and vulnerable groups. She has worked across Federal and Territory Governments, Parliament and NGO sectors, and as co-director of a consulting firm. Lisa is passionate about harnessing under-utilised forms of knowledge, including people’s lived experience. She has supported the ACT Children and Young People Commissioner for five years, helping to make Canberra a better place for kids.

Danielle Antaki & Matthew Stewart

Danielle Antaki – The Arts and Education Manager at the Constable Care Foundation, Danielle has spearheaded the development of its youth engagement program, Youth Choices, using Forum Theatre to engage young people into dialogue about challenging youth issues.
She has written and directed for the company and brings a wealth of experience and expertise, having previously worked as Artistic Director, performer, writer and teacher for many companies including Milkcrate Theatre (working with the homeless communities of Sydney), Powerhouse Youth Theatre (working culturally and linguistically diverse young people and emerging artists of Western Sydney) to name a few.

Matthew Stewart – Youth Choices Coordinator, Matt has over 30 years as a professional theatre practitioner, using theatre to address issues such as youth mental health and suicide, homelessness and healthy relationships. He co-founded Darlinghurst Theatre Company, and was a founding member of MilkCrate Theatre for the homeless. He has adapted the interactive Forum style of theatre for a range of different contexts including Access Week, Youth at Risk, YWCA Canberra and Mind Blank Inc.

Control Freak, educational show for young people.

Meet Gemma. she is young and madly in love with her boyfriend Brenn. It starts out with small things, like checking her text messages and suggesting she change the clothes she’s wearing before they go out. However she soon finds herself with more than just an overly loving, passionate boyfriend – she finds herself trapped in an abusive relationship.
Control Freak is an educational performance for secondary schools, which explores the consequences of small-scale controlling behaviours and empowers young people to develop an awareness of their responsibilities towards building healthy relationships. Concepts addressed include the development of effective communication strategies in relationships, understanding of controlling behaviours in relationships and their consequences, when and where to seek help and the role of the bystander in supporting the target of the abuse and also calling out perpetrator behaviour, toxic masculinity and disrespectful attitudes towards women.
This four-actor Forum theatre workshop for young people uses playbacks and audience participation to revisit actions and their consequences in order to identify and address issues of controlling behaviours and relationship violence.