Hailie is 15 years old and has been part of a program for girls at Canberra PCYC for the last four years. She is passionate about support for young people with mental health issues, particularly those who have experienced severe trauma in their lives. Hailie is concerned and sad that so many young people are being lost to suicide. She is calling for a better, properly resourced mental health service system that provides ongoing support so that more young people from her generation and the generation coming after her can get the help they need. Young people are the future. Hailie wants to see a system that will give young people the support they need when they reach out for help.
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.