Participant Profile

The Urbis reviews confirmed the young people involved in Youth Insearch met the criteria of being at risk in accordance with the State and Federal Government definitions. 
The Urbis (2003) review found "multiple and diverse risks factors, and a high incidence of multiple at risk indicators, among the young people in the program” (p.66). In fact, “all participants (bar one) reported at least 3 of the identified at risk indicators, the average was seven indicators” (p.67). The graph below shows the frequency of at-risk indicators among young people in Youth Insearch in the Urbis (2003) review

n=73 First camp Second camp or more Total sample
No at-risk indicators 2% 0% 1%
1-5 at-risk indicators 48% 19% 36%
6-10 at-risk indicators 38% 65% 49%
11+ at-risk factors 12% 16% 14%
TOTAL 100% 100% 100%

In summary, the percentages below indicate the incidence of each risk factor amongst the young people in the Urbis (2003) sample:

  • Family relationships: 70% lived with extended family, in a blended family, with adoptive/foster/step parent(s), with one natural parent only, or in a refuge, shelter or hostel; 25% have a bad relationship with their family. 
  • Drug and alcohol abuse: 85% had drunk alcohol, 45% were frequent drinkers, 30% drank alcohol a few times a week or everyday; 75% had been drunk, 34% got drunk weekly at least; over 60% had taken drugs, 29% used drugs at least weekly; 38% drank/took drugs in order not to feel so bad about their problems, to escape reality, to forget, or because they feel empty or lonely.

Chart

  • Trouble with police and crime: 64% had been in trouble with the police (for a range of offences); 16% had been in contact with a Juvenile Justice worker.
  • Self-harm and suicide: 60% had suicidal thoughts; 58% had physically hurt themselves; 44% had tried to end their life.
  • Struggles with education: 26% were not undertaking any education; 31% felt bad about going to school; 48% did not want to finish year 12; 25% had left school before completing year 10; 11% did not expect to undertake any further education. Of those that had left school, 45% had left before completing year 10, and 16% were not interested in further education.
  • Low self-esteem: 41% had a low self-esteem (Rosenberg score of 15 or below). The graph below shows the Rosenburg self-esteem scale scores in the pre-program survey.

The Urbis (2008) review confirmed the at-risk profile of the participants finding (pp.6-8):

“The majority have experienced, or are experiencing, problems stemming from broken and dysfunctional homes, sexual and physical abuse, drugs & alcohol, grief and other traumatic events”.

“The [program is] attended by young people … dealing with a wide range of issues, from anger and depression to drug and alcohol abuse, violence and homelessness … [and] … participants are experiencing multiple issues”. 

“A large number of young people who attend their first camp report experiencing physical and sexual abuse”.

“There is a relatively high prevalence of drug and alcohol use and of a perpetration of violent behaviour and crime among young people attending the [program]’.