When I was working as a police constable in London I remember coming across three young boys who kept being arrested for minor offenses - you name it they did it. At times they could be quite violent, but once the bravado was over, they just wanted to talk with someone and be heard. When it came to working out who was going to pick them up from the police station, they’d say ‘no one’. I remember calling a mother and explaining what had happened, with her replying, ‘He’s done it again. I’m not coming this time.’

This was saddening and I realised that they were not ‘bad’ kids but simply bored, lonely and disaffected. They had no purpose and no one to talk to about their problems. It was only when they spoke to their solicitor that someone listened to them. It made me think, something is not right.

I think back to this scenario and wonder, did anyone ever ask those kids what was going on in their lives and what support they needed? I know in the above scenario these young people would benefit from intensive case work support, however listening to our young people in a variety of ways and helping to give them a voice when they might not be able to speak up is vital.

That is why we are proud of our annual Youth Survey - the largest survey of its kind in Australia which gives young people a platform where they can share their aspirations, concerns and thoughts.

Today, we launched the 2018 Youth Survey and we hope to get more than 30,000 young people taking part.

The survey provides an important snapshot into the lives of young Australians, equipping organisations like ours with current evidence on how young people are faring so we can advocate on their behalf for the services and broader policy changes that they need. The findings are also shared with government departments, sector colleagues and youth organisations who find them invaluable in supporting their work. Information from the Youth Survey is also used to inform how Mission Australia’s youth services are designed.

It’s important that we understand what supports young people need as they make their journey into adulthood and independence. If we know this, we are quite literally supporting our future generation.

This year we want to hear from as many young people as possible. The more young people that participate in the survey, the more comprehensive the results will be. There are many ways you can help us achieve our target. Please share the survey with your friends, family and colleagues by using this link: https://bit.ly/1Jurll2 This valuable piece of research will have a long lasting impact on generations to come. You can find more information here.

Photo of James Toomey, CEO of Mission Australia

James Toomey
CEO Mission Australia
@jbc_toomey

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Purpose - 'Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God'