Anglicare Tasmania report shows urgent need for care and protection
New research from Anglicare Tasmania shows highly vulnerable young Tasmanians are missing out on life-changing care – and sets out a plan to prioritise their needs.
“Our research focused on children and young people aged 10-17 who have experienced significant harm – including multiple forms of violence – during childhood and adolescence,” said Dr Catherine Robinson, a researcher at Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre (SARC).
The research specifically focused on young people who do not enter the out of home care system and who instead face an ongoing struggle to independently access support and safe accommodation during adolescence.
The research found systemic failure in addressing the needs for care of these highly vulnerable young Tasmanians.
“During the crucial years of their development, these children have had persistent exposure to physical and emotional harm, and face extreme adversity during adolescence, including homelessness and difficulty accessing mental health support and education,” said Dr Robinson.
“Distressingly, we found that many young people end up labelled ‘too hard’ and miss out on even the most basic forms of care”.
Anglicare said that intensive, long-term, relationship-based care would make a significant difference for highly vulnerable young Tasmanians – but there was currently a dire shortage of this kind of therapeutic support.
“What we found was a fragmented system of referral between short-term interventions and a lack of specialist adolescent services,” said Dr Robinson.
“Supportive, ongoing, relationship-based care is vital to ensure the safety of young Tasmanians, help them recover from trauma, and develop positive mental health and well-being,” she said.
The new research highlights that the Child Safety Service in Tasmania is not equipped to respond to these highly vulnerable young people. In particular, few appropriate out-of-home care options and a lack of capacity for ongoing support outside of out-of-home care are seen as key issues. The result is that responsibility for complex teens is being transferred to at-capacity NGOs.
An urgent need was also identified for more investment in specialised medium and long-term supported housing options for young people in Tasmania.
Click here to download the report, 'Too Hard? Highly vulnerable teens in Tasmania'. ABC Tasmania’s coverage of this story is available here. Dr Catherine Robinson will also present this research at the upcoming Anglicare Australia National Conference in Sydney.
Samaritans Launches OI App
Samaritans has this month launched the ‘Oi’ mobile App, a practical digital resource developed for young people to be a voice against abuse, identify abuse when it happens and know where to go to seek help.
The Oi App has been developed for iOS and Android platforms and includes an interactive quiz, an option to pledge to never commit or remain silent about abuse and share across social media, frequently asked questions about abuse and domestic violence, as well as a library of support services available for those who may be at risk, or who need someone to talk to.
The App is the product of a successful collaboration between Samaritans, Optus and Newcastle-based creative agency, Headjam, which has seen the development of a product that provides self-help information for young people about domestic violence.
“Samaritans were proud to receive one of the Optus Future Makers Grants in 2016, which has now seen the development of a great resource for young people experiencing or witnessing relationship abuse or family violence,” Penny Harnett of Samaritans said.
“We worked closely with our youth services teams to gain insights into the kinds of questions young people ask, the support services available and their interactions with digital media, such as Apps.
“We are very excited to finally launch Oi, which sees the project become a reality and empowers young people to recognise, stand up and speak out against domestic and family violence,” Ms Harnett said.
Samaritans work in the community extends from disability services and support for the homeless to services for children, youth and people experiencing domestic violence, offering a number of confidential services that support women and children escaping domestic violence.
The Oi App is available for download now from the App store and on GooglePlay. Visit www.oiapp.org.au for more information.
EPIC collaborates with IT experts to boost career prospects for people with autism
Two IT experts are helping boost career prospects for people with autism through an innovative new software testing program. EPIC Testability Academy (ETA) is the brainchild of Dr Lee Hawkins and Paul Seaman, both of whom are passionate about increasing workplace diversity while filling a gap in their sector. Once the men joined forces with EPIC Assist, it was full steam ahead.
“Both Paul and I have been involved in community-based events around software testing in the past, and were looking for a new opportunity to give back,” said Lee.
As the inaugural 12-week course draws to a close, both men reflect on what has been an insightful teaching experience.
“Society tends not to look at the differences people who are not ‘mainstream’ can bring to the workplace. We were very interested in creating opportunities for those that may have struggled in the past,” said Paul.
“For some reason, there is a focus on what people with disability can’t do, whereas for everyone else there is a focus on ability and what they can do. That’s a strange bias and one that robs many workplaces of the chance to tap into new ways of thinking.”
“Sure, there are some things that people on the spectrum are challenged with, but that’s true of everyone.”
The team say these types of programs are also beneficial for strengthening the IT sector.
“As more and more aspects of our lives are impacted by software, building up the skills of the next generation of software professionals is a critical and ever-expanding challenge,” said Lee.
“There is still very little treatment of software testing as a challenging, intellectual endeavour in formal higher education IT courses, and we see this as a big gap to fill. The role that humans have to play in excellent software testing shouldn’t be underestimated.”
Both Paul and Lee have dedicated their time and expertise free of charge, with countless hours also committed to planning and creating the curriculum. EPIC Assist also provided hands-on support during classes, and contributed to other costs associated with ETA.
“Our aim has always been to give students a broad basic knowledge of software testing, with an emphasis on practical skills and hands-on testing over theory,” explains Paul.
“We’re really looking forward to our next group of students and applying some of the lessons learned from our first ETA course.”
People on the autism spectrum who are interested in participating in the next ETA course can visit www.epicassist.org/au/epic-testability-academy, email [email protected] or call EPIC Assist on (07) 3857 5085.
Small change makes a big difference for Brotherhood of St Laurence’s David Sier Fellowship recipients
Congratulations to Vivian, Linda and Sobeydo who have been awarded the David Sier Fellowship. The newly launched annual fellowship aims to create small change for recipients from a migrant, refugee and asylum seeker background.
Vivian, one of the recipients of the David Sier Fellowship, holding her certificate.
Vivian, one of the recipients of the David Sier Fellowship, is looking to get her driver’s license enabling her to travel to school, become more independent and support her family.
The fellowship celebrates the legacy of the late David Sier and his impact during his time as a volunteer mentor in our Brain Bank program. Alongside Rob Hudson, Brotherhood Group General Manager of Programs and Policy, David’s widow, Fiona Sharkie presented the awards.
“He just wanted to help people in any useful way he could. David was a huge supporter of migrants and refugees; he truly believed they make Australia a better place,” Ms Sharkie says.
The $1,000 fund awarded to and shared between Vivian, Linda and Sobeydo will help them to become more independent and pursue further education and training.
Sobeydo and Vivian will invest in driving lessons to assist in day-to-day life, widening the location of jobs they can apply for and supporting their families.
Vivian hopes that through lessons she will be able to get her driver’s license and also help her mother and four siblings with transport.
“This will help achieve my goal which is learning to drive because the driving lessons costs a lot and I wasn’t able to pay for them,” she says.
Linda’s goal is to improve her English and begin working in Australia. After 5 years of experience in branch banking in Iraq, Linda’s hope is that further education will help her secure employment in her field.
“I am studying an English course already, and I think that a bookkeeping course will open many doors for me in the job market,” she says.
MCT Senior Manager Hutch Hussein says the inaugural David Sier Fellowship is a new, annual ritual.
“It allows us to recognise the role of volunteers as well as honour David’s legacy through the awarding of funds from his bequest to people pursuing their education and employment goals. It’s a lovely way to keep his memory alive amongst a new group of people who haven’t benefited from his presence, but do from his present.”
Click here to find out more about the Brotherhood of St Laurence's program on refugees, immigration and multiculturalism.
Anglicare Northern Inland speaks out on problem gambling
Anglicare Northern Inland have expressed concern about figures showing that $879,000 is gambled away each day in Tamworth.
Anglicare Northern Inland financial gambling counsellor Bobbie Warrington spoke out about the issue. “The thing I think about when I hear those figures is how much the disadvantaged communities contribute to that number,” she said.
Ms Warrington said that Anglicare sees the damage caused by problem gambling. “A lot present with debt collectors hounding them and they’re about to lose their houses or cars. It is also contributes to mental health issues.”
Ms Warrington said some early signs to look out included not having fun gambling anymore and noticing bills go unpaid.
As of June 30, 2016, there were 513 authorised machines in Tamworth clubs and 222 in the region’s pubs. Twelve months earlier, the clubs had 516 machines, while the pubs had 224.
Anglicare Northern Inland said pubs and clubs needed to do more to promote available help.
Click here to find out more about Anglicare Northern Inland financial counselling services. The Northern Daily Leader’s coverage of this story is available here.