ISBN 1 875236 57 0
This paper has been prepared by the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme and is intended to provide background research and other information as a basis for discussion.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the National Youth Affairs Steering Committee; Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs; or individual Commonwealth or State/Territory Youth Ministers or Departments responsible for Youth Affairs.
Chart 4.1 Overall responses from the general community
Table 4.2 Positive and negative discourse responses by sex 27
Table 4.3 Sources of opinions nominated by respondents 29
Table 4.4 The geographic locations of young people
Table 4.5 Demographic profile of respondents 32
Table 4.6 Profile of focus groups 49
Table 4.7 Number of media reports by subject –
July week 1999 67
Table 4.8 Number of media reports by subject –
February 2000 72
Graph 4.1 Media topics in the Northern Territory
and Australia 76
I would like to express my gratitude to the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS) for providing me with the opportunity to undertake this important and fascinating research. I would particularly like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the young people who not only worked on this research but also often drove it with their enthusiasm, commitment and wisdom. The young researchers and the entire steering committee provided an invaluable and informative guide to this project and their multiple contributions must be acknowledged. I would like to express my sincerest thanks to Jennifer Power, Andrew Marsden, Sheree Turner, Erin Mathews, Tammy Cornell, Ardie Docherty, Tram Nguyen and Liz Kennedy.
The participants in this research were generous in the time they gave to the research and thoughtful in their contribution. I would like to thank the many young people, teachers, police officers, parents, seniors, shopkeepers, businesspeople, youth workers, non-government workers and policy officers whose responses are presented in this report. They gave freely of their experience and wisdom and I hope that I have done some justice to their contribution.
I would also like to thank my colleagues Michelle Wheeler, Janet Ramsay, Hillary Bone, Mick Hillman and Jane Mears who read drafts of this report, whose comments were greatly appreciated and whose enthusiasm for this project never waned.
The image of young people, as portrayed in the media and reflected in indicators of community attitudes, has increasingly been characterised as negative and detrimental to young people’s active participation in civic life. This national project to explore determinants of community attitudes to young people was commissioned by the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS) and was undertaken by researchers at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) in the Child and Youth Policy Research Unit (CYPRU).
The purpose of the research was:
to investigate how the broader community develops its perceptions of young people, and
to identify ways that governments can improve community perceptions of young people.