I am 23 years old, and am a proud Yuin woman from Nowra on the South Coast of New South Wales. I have recently completed my Bachelor of Social Work (honours) at the University of New South Wales, and have an innate passion in Children and Young People, Healing from Trauma and Intergenerational Trauma in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. I am the second eldest of 9 children, with the youngest being 1 year old and the oldest being 26. I am immensely proud of my Aboriginality, my family and my community. In the future, I hope to utilise my skills and build my capacity allowing myself to engage in community development in my community.
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.