Blueprint for the domestic and family violence response in NSW

Domestic and family violence (DFV) has considerable impact on young people[1] across NSW. Young people experience domestic and family violence in their own intimate and domestic relationships, as well as through ‘witnessing’ or exposure to situations of domestic and family violence.

For the purpose of the submission, Youth Action defines domestic and family violence as outlined in It Stops Here: Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW.[2] Youth Action adds emphasis to the relationships in a young persons life, including teen dating (intimate partner) relationships.

As such, Youth Action welcomes the opportunity to submit to the Blueprint for the domestic and family violence response in Australia.

We also take this opportunity to congratulate the NSW Government on its commitment to reducing and responding to domestic violence in NSW. In particular, we commend the recognition of the important role of young people and the corresponding changes to the NSW syllabus.

Youth Action asserts that addressing attitudes and gender stereotypes in schools has the potential to create lasting generational change, and is an important step in preventing domestic violence. Strategies to prevent domestic violence must be informed by the experience of young people including the particular attitudes young people hold, and an understanding of the formation of those attitudes, in order to be successful.

While the inclusion of domestic and family violence in the NSW syllabus is important, as is the development of a ‘toolkit’ to support teacher delivery, Youth Action believes that the policy can be strengthened, and associated risks mitigated, through consideration and application of the evidence-base for population preventative measures. Youth Action’s contribution to the discussion paper canvasses prevention measures for young people in a school environment to support current policy direction.

It is critical to address underlying causes in prevention approaches. Youth Action submits that young peoples experiences of domestic violence are different to adult experiences. Therefore understanding the issues specific to young people, as well as identifying the causes and contributing factors is fundamental to understand ‘what kinds of messages and/or communication channels will be most effective in encouraging positive attitudes and behaviours in relation to DFV?’[3]

In the context of the consultation paper, Youth Action therefore submits the following information under Part 1, Question 1, of the consultation paper:

  • the prevalence of violence for young people;
  • the key drivers and causes of domestic violence for young people; and
  • the effectiveness of, and evidence-base for a prevention approach in schools in NSW.

Youth Action recognises that primary prevention efforts are most effective when there is a coordinated range of mutually reinforcing strategies. 


 

 


[1] Defined as aged 12-25

[2] Women NSW, ‘It Stops Here: Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW: The NSW Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform’ , February 2014, accessed via <https://www.women.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/file/0003/289461/It_stops_Here_final_Feb2014.pdf>

[3] Women NSW, ‘It Stops Here: the Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform, Public Discussion Paper’, p.7