Backing our community

Backing a safer community

In November 2019, YFS’ R4Respect program received a gold award in the community-led category of the 2019 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

The Awards recognise best practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia and play a vital role in highlighting effective community-based initiatives to
prevent crime and violence, before it actually occurs.

It recognised R4Respect’s unique youth-led approach to violence prevention program in which young people challenge violence-supportive attitudes and promote respectful relationships among their peers.

Despite difficult times, YFS continued to help people in Logan and Beaudesert improve safety for themselves and their families in 2019-20. We also led local efforts to prevent violence, including introducing a unique program targeting young men.

The restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased concerns about the safety and wellbeing of families cooped up together at home for extended periods. Our domestic and family violence services experienced surges in referrals in early to mid 2020.

Due to social distancing requirements, our Responsible Men group program for perpetrators of violence had to pivot from face to face group services to individual phone-based approaches for three months. This coincided with an increase in referrals to the program, greatly heightening the demands on the team. 445 men participated in the program, including a small group who took part via Zoom – evidence shows that online programs can be safe and effective in some circumstances.

Similarly, our Beaudesert Domestic and Family Violence Service, Women’s Advocates and Project Hera worker experienced upticks in demand in this period. We supported almost 700 women who had experienced violence through these services in 2019-20. We were able to maintain our services throughout this period to ensure people had access to support when they needed it. This included court support, crisis responses, case management and counselling for women and children. A one-off grant from the Queensland Government provided increased brokerage that we used to help victims of violence secure safe housing.

Our focus on prevention of domestic and family violence continued, with ongoing development of the award-winning R4Respect youth-led respectful relationships initiative. A grant from the Queensland Government provided core funding to continue this important work, supplemented by donations and proceeds from the Queensland Government’s 2019 Not Now, Not Ever Together Breakfast. The new, targeted Men4Respect program began delivery in three community settings. YFS continued to back the Not Now Not Ever in Logan community campaign, including attracting a Logan City Council grant and business sponsorship for a street banner campaign in early 2020.

  • In 2020-21 YFS will trial Side by Side, a new program for mothers and their sons to rebuild positive relationships after experiencing domestic and family violence.
  • YFS will increase domestic violence counselling for women and children in the Beaudesert area to respond to increased demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019-20 YFS coordinated Logan’s community-based anti-violence movement, Not Now, Not Ever in Logan. A reference group of business, community and government leaders drives activities. In 2019-20 a highlight was a street banner campaign, supported by local businesses and organisations. Thanks to a Logan City Council Community Project grant and sponsorship from 28 businesses and organisations we were able to develop and display banners in Beenleigh, Woodridge and Jimboomba, along with associated media promotion.

Alex and Heather of Extraction Artisan Coffee are enthusiastic supporters of the Not Now, Not Ever in Logan campaign.

“When you bring violence in a domestic situation where it’s hidden away from the public gaze, the only way you can change that is to talk about it more openly.”

Alex – Extraction Artisan Coffee

In 2019-20 YFS introduced a new measure of safety for our domestic and family violence teams, called MOVERS (Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety). MOVERS was used by our Beaudesert Domestic and Family Violence Team, Project Hera and the Women’s Advocates that work alongside our Responsible Men Perpetrator Program. Overall all three services generated significant change for clients.

YFS also added a safety indicator to our organisational outcomes framework, asking clients across the organisation about their sense of safety when they first engaged with YFS and when they finished with us. Safety was a concern for 35% of all clients surveyed on entry to YFS.

Safety perception on entry - all programs

Very safe
Somewhat safe
A little unsafe
Not at all safe

Safety perception on exit all programs

Very safe
Somewhat safe
A little unsafe
Not at all safe

Source: YFS Organisational Outcomes

Men4Respect pilot shapes young men’s attitudes

We piloted Men4Respect with young men in three settings: Marsden and Beenleigh State High Schools and Logan Youth Justice Centre. Our team of mentors delivered education sessions and group activities with 39 young people aged 12 to 17, aiming to challenge attitudes and actions that support violence.

An evaluation showed that the program successfully challenged commonly-held myths, and promoted positive attitudinal change.

“After participation, the majority of young men and boys reported they were willing and able to challenge disrespectful behaviours.”

The pilot was supported by the Queensland Government and the Presentation Sisters. A grant from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation will enable further development in 2020-21.