Youth sexual violence responses
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment
- 14 Deliver client-centred, trauma-informed, specialised and consistent support to victims and survivors of sexual violence.
What are we doing?
In July 2018, the Queensland Government released the Final Report of the Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee. The Final Report highlighted that youth sexual violence and abuse is an issue that is prevalent across all Queensland communities, but particularly in those communities with higher levels of social, economic and intergenerational disadvantage.
The Queensland Government broadly supported the findings of the Final Report and committed $12 million over four years (from 2018-19) for priority responses to address youth sexual violence. This investment included three components: service enhancements in areas of high need, three place-based prevention trials, and research and evaluation.
What have we achieved so far?
Youth sexual violence and abuse (YSVA) services
In 2018-19, a new service enhancement model commenced in five identified high-need locations – Rockhampton, Gladstone, South Burnett, Moreton Bay and Toowoomba. The youth sexual violence and abuse services provide:
- trauma-informed counselling for young people who have experienced sexual violence or child sexual abuse; and
- early intervention responses for young people exhibiting reactive and/or problematic sexual behaviours.
Additionally, a specialist Training and Mentoring Service was established to strengthen capacity and knowledge of these services and professionals to recognise and respond appropriately to Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse
An external evaluation of these services commenced in July 2020 with the final report due December 2021.
Three place-based youth sexual violence and abuse prevention trials commenced in December 2019 in Toowoomba, Bundaberg and Yarrabah.
The trials involve working with young people and local communities to co-design and implement locally tailored action plans for preventing youth sexual violence and abuse.
These projects aim to (i) promote safe and healthy relationships; (ii) promote online and personal safety; (iii) reduce the risk of violence, sexual harassment and assault; and (iv) enhance sector capacity to identify and respond to youth sexual violence and abuse. There is a strong focus on prevention strategies, community awareness raising and enhancing the capacity of the local sector to respond to youth sexual violence.
While COVID-19 impacted on aspects of this work in 2020, community consultation recommenced in October 2020. Community co-design workshops were conducted with young people, parents/caregivers and sector between March to July 2021.
What is next?
- For the Toowoomba and Bundaberg projects, Action Plans are being prepared for community endorsement (due end December 2021);
- The Department of Justice and Attorney-General will determine which strategies to fund from the endorsed Action Plans within the project budget and timeframe;
- Implementation and evaluation of the community action plans will commence in 2021-22; and
- Co-design work will continue for the Yarrabah project.
What difference will we make?
Anticipated outcomes include:
- delivering trauma informed counselling and support to children and young people who have experienced sexual violence or child sexual abuse;
- raising awareness among individuals, communities and organisations to promote and increase understanding of youth sexual violence and child sexual abuse;
- building capacity and knowledge of services and professionals to effectively target and respond to young people who have experienced sexual violence or child sexual abuse, including culturally appropriate responses for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people;
- responding to young people exhibiting sexually reactive behaviours; and
- contributing towards a reduction in the prevalence and incidence of youth sexual violence in the target communities.