Youth Ally Project

Youth AllyYoung people are disproportionately affected by domestic, family and sexual violence, both as witness, victims and perpetrators.

Recent research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found young women aged 15–19 are five times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than any other group, while young men of the same age are the group most likely to choose violence. Young people are also less likely to report sexual violence to the police, but more likely to confide in their peers as a first point of help-seeking after violence has occurred.

We know that preventing domestic, family and sexual violence requires deep and lasting transformation of individual and social attitudes, beliefs, norms, practices and structures that drive violence.

We also know that primary prevention of violence cannot be achieved alone or by a single initiative – these deep cultural shifts require the power and diversity of many voices, together.

The Youth Ally project is being delivered by WHEQ, in partnership with the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and LGAQ, which adds to the existing strengths of young people. Providing engaged groups with education and tools and ongoing support, Youth Ally enables the creation of grass-roots initiatives that contribute to the prevention of violence and safer communities.

This is a multifaceted project, offering workshops to assist participants to

  • Understand gender;
  • Deconstruct stereotypes;
  • Identify and challenge the drivers of violence and;
  • Navigate respect and consent in their own relationships.

Workshops go on to offer young leaders the key skills they need to:

  • Be an Ally to friends and loved ones experiencing violence, by recognising red flags that may be pre-cursors to abuse and to prevent and reduce the various forms of violence and abuse that occur between family members and in intimate partner relationships.
  • Undertake basic primary prevention, and facilitates the creation of a primary prevention campaign or initiative by the young people for their peers and wider community.

After the delivery of the workshops, regular Communities of Practice (CoPs) occur, which follow and continue to grow the young peoples’ identified campaign ideas. These CoP meetings are extremely effective in helping young people to hone the actions, messages and campaign ideas around their preferred topics

Overall, the project is providing young people an opportunity to gain a deeper sense of the concept of primary prevention and grass-roots action.

In 2021, Youth Ally has worked with regional Youth Councils in Toowoomba, Fraser Coast, Townsville and Gladstone to build capacity and enable action. The project has also engaged young people in Aurukun to create sustainable resources in that community.

In 2022, Youth Ally looks to continue establishing a network of engaged young people across the state.

We are excited to see the final projects as they come to fruition!

If you would like to learn more about the program and how to get involved please email facilitator Hannah (Community Engagement and Education) engage@womenshealth.org.au