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Statements by Aboriginal young woman point to huge potential in communities

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Colin Pettit has said powerful evidence delivered by an Aboriginal young woman late last week to the Kimberley suicide inquest reinforces the vital need for young people’s views to be used in the design and delivery of support services.

Mr Pettit reiterated his previous statements that positive change must be led by local leaders, and this includes young people who want to stand up in their communities and create a better future for children and young people.

“The statements by this young woman were compelling and show the hidden potential in these communities to drive positive change – it just takes the right sort of support and mentoring that is sustained,” Mr Pettit said.

”This young woman spoke about key issues such as stigma associated with seeking mental health support, and some young people’s lack of connection with land and culture.

“Identifying these issues and then working with young people and other leaders to create locally-based initiatives is a clear strategy towards breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

“I have met many such young people during my visits to communities across the State who are motivated and strong but are not sure where or how to start.

“Developing local leaders is essential to create sustainable change.”

The Commissioner said he is working on a ‘toolkit’ resource for agencies that will outline a culturally-appropriate process for working with Aboriginal young people and communities, and develop young leaders.

For more about this young woman’s evidence, see The Australian article Inquest hears teen insight into indigenous deaths (please note access to this story may require subscription).