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Concepts of community: young people's concerns, views and experiences - findings from the Youth Survey 2016

Youth Socioeconomic status Poverty Wellbeing Australia
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The transition from childhood to adolescence is a challenging period for most young people. Depending on where they live, a young person’s sense of place and attachment to their local community can help them to foster resilience, personal identity and social connections which can be accessed in times of crisis. For young people living in disadvantaged or low socio‐economic communities affected by complex and long‐term social problems, getting access to the same community‐based resources as their more advantaged peers is far from guaranteed.

In every state and territory of Australia, the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage can be seen
repeating itself in the lives of many young people from low socio‐economic communities. Through no fault of their own, some young people from disadvantaged areas are left behind from their earliest years of life as a result of having fewer opportunities and resources, leading to poorer outcomes across a range of life domains such as education, employment, housing and health.

In order to better understand the issues and challenges that are facing young people from different socio‐economic backgrounds, this report presents the findings from Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2016 with respondents grouped according to whether they lived in low, moderate or high socio-economic status (SES) areas across Australia. These groupings were determined using a well established social measure of advantage and disadvantage known as the Socio‐Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), which was developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This report makes comparisons between the responses of young people from different socio-economic areas across a range of issues and questions, with a specific focus on the issues identified as the most important by respondents. The main purpose of this report is to compare the results in terms of young people’s concerns about alcohol and other drug use in their communities; their feelings of trust and safety within their local community; their experiences as a target or witness of discrimination; their participation in community life and social activities; and their most common sources of social support in a crisis.

The report then offers a range of policy recommendations, as well as advocating for a more
consultative, place‐based and multi‐faceted approach of delivering services for disadvantaged young people. Consistent with the report’s main themes, these recommendations are predominately focused on how governments, community organisations and society can work together more effectively to ensure that all young people: are healthy; feel safe and included in the places that are integral to their development; participate in the community in ways that are meaningful to them; and receive the best possible care from informal and professional sources in times of crisis.

Please note - the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2016 can be accessed here

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