University of Newcastle: Program receives funding to continue work to address youth violence

The program, which sits within the College of Human and Social Futures, addresses the issue of youth violence. It was developed with and for the local community to respond to the gap in available and accessible services for young people who are at risk of, or already using violence in their relationships with parents, carers, siblings, partners and peers.

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics note the Hunter recorded the third highest number of youth perpetrated domestic violence incidents in 2020. In Maitland, 12% of domestic violence related assaults and 39% of non-dv related assaults were allegedly perpetrated by young people (compared with 7%, and 24% in NSW). Of note, 52% of young people proceeded against by Police for DFV charges in Maitland in 2020 were female, compared 39% in NSW.

Led by Dr Tamara Blakemore, a Social Work researcher in the School of Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Sciences, the NNN team: Dr Shaun McCarthy, Louise Rak, Dr Graeme Stuart, Dr Chris Krogh, Dr Joel McGregor, Aunty Elsie Randall and Felicity Cocuzzoli, provide trauma informed and culturally safe group work programs for young people, professional development and training for practitioners, an ongoing program of research as well as products and resources to support work with youth violence.

To date the NNN team have worked with over 100 young people and 500 practitioners supporting outcomes of increased self-awareness, self-regulation and skills for connection. This has assisted young people to return to school, gain employment and navigate relationships in healthier and happier ways. Young people who graduate from NNN are offered employment as consultants and peer mentors, helping other young people name and narrate their own experiences of violence.

Dr Blakemore said the Program acknowledges that young people who use violence are often victims of violence themselves. NNN helps young people to build awareness and skills to reduce violence.

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