A group of young people from the NPY lands met with the National Children’s Commissioner last week to talk about “Why some young people are getting into trouble” and reasons “why some young people don’t get into trouble”.
Why are some young people getting into trouble?
Some young people talked about a home life where there is not a lot of money for food, some parents are drinking and sometimes there are bad situations at home. Getting away and hanging out in the street is a solution for these young people.
Angangu young people really want jobs, they want the same things as most young people around Australia. For many, that means leaving their home communities to come to town (Alice) for work, entertainment (movies, shops etc), and education options, which are limited out bush. In town there might not be family and young people are being forced to choose between these opportunities in town, and language and culture, in community.
Young people feel there is very little respect shown to them from police in Alice Springs. They think they are looked at like criminals even if they haven’t done anything wrong. Relationships with police are better at home, in remote communities but young people hope that communities can have a say in how police are recruited and on criteria specific to their area.
” I spoke up because I want to stop the violence that kids in jail are going through.”
RACISM & SOCIAL MEDIA
Young people talked about how they know they are seen / treated differently. Social media pages like Action for Alice have only encouraged young people to act up because they want to get “famous”. Social media has helped reinforce negative stereotypes that young people live up to.
Some of the things that prevent young people getting into trouble
MEANINGFUL & PURPOSEFUL ENGAGEMENT
Young people want to be engaged and challenged, like most people they want to grow, have a rich education from both school and culture.
“Getting to keep language and culture and learn at school – having both – makes people happy”
” football and sports out bush keep kids from trouble.”
FAMILY & CULTURE
We love to be around family, we are happy when we have lots of family around us. “Family can help show us the right way… Nana’s, older cousins, elders…family is comforting.”
“I explore different things…but being on country makes me the happiest”
” Talking and listening to our elders keeps us out of trouble and learning kinship and culture.”
” Employment & education programs (like Iwara) keeps us out of trouble.”
We know our young people are clever, they have a lot they want to learn across two cultures. With the right support we know they will have a good future. The Children’s Commissioner will be travelling around Australia listening to young people and creating a final report to government.