Grace Edward

Grace was born in South Sudan, and after four years in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, she arrived in Australia aged eight. Following in the footsteps of her parents and older siblings, she is a youth leader and advocate on issues that affect refugees and migrants in Australia, particularly young people. She works to address the barriers they face in becoming active citizens within their communities in Australia. She is MYAN Australia’s Youth Ambassador for Queensland and a founding member of the MyQ (Multicultural Youth QLD) Youth Council. She is currently completing a master’s degree in Creative Industries and has used her love of applied theatre to initiate and facilitate the ‘Linking Generations’ Forum Theatre Project, an innovative and powerful exploration of the intergenerational challenges experienced by Australian African Communities. She has just returned from the UK, having been selected to participate in a community theatre exchange program.

By Young People, For Young People – speaking out about safety

Much of the current thinking about and approaches to child safety flow from adult notions of what we would like to protect children from. In this instance, ‘adults’ can mean people working with children and young people or parents and family members. In contrast however, most young people are able to understand the ideas of threat and protective behaviours, even if they are do not always know how to protect themselves. They are also likely to have an individual concept of what ‘safety’ means for them and how this might be achieved. Greater appreciation of the world as it looks and feels to young people and the personal frameworks they use to understand the nature of risk and threat must help us design and implement effective organisational strategies to give young people a ‘safe place’.

This panel session will be facilitated by a young person who will engage other young people in a conversation about their individual perspectives; their concepts of safety, examples of times and situations which have made them feel unsafe and what would have made those situations feel safer and more comfortable for them. Panel members will bring a diversity of personal experiences, study backgrounds, skill sets and cultural heritage. Delegates will gain unique insights into what safety is, and feels like, for these young people and hear in their own words what has and hasn’t helped to keep them safe from abuse in organisations and government systems.

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