The Fighting, Alcohol and Offending: Interventions Targeting Aboriginal gGirls (YAWG) project was conducted by the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University in partnership with Wungening Aboriginal Corporation and aimed to collect in-depth data around the experiences of Aboriginal girls and young women around drinking, fighting and offending, and to identify intervention points and to develop a health promotion resource for service providers who work with young Aboriginal women and girls.
- Adversity did not always dictate high risk behaviour around drinking, fighting & offending or determine the young women’s ability to make positive choices in their lives. Importantly, the young women in this study were all able to express hopes for their future and to identify people who offered them strong support, particularly grandparents – who play a key role in passing down culture and guiding young women’s codes around behaviour – and other family members.
- In relation to alcohol, young women exhibited a low awareness of the effects of alcohol on a person’s physical health, having instead an understanding of the impacts of drinking on emotional and social wellbeing. Increased consumption was associated with negative consequences.
- Data were also collected about young women’s experiences accessing services to seek help with issues they faced in their lives. Participants identified the characteristics of services that are easy to engage with as well as barriers to help-seeking.
Despite their fears, the desire of the young women to be able to better engage with the services such as school and child protection in their daily lives was an important theme in the interviews and workshop. Young women wanted to be understood and heard by those working with them. They felt that increased understanding of their lives by service providers would lead to better opportunities.