Youth violence flies under the radar

Tanya Langford.
Youth violence flies under the radar
Youth violence flies under the radar
Tanya Langford.

DISENGAGED teenagers are addicted to gaming, refusing to go to school and bashing their parents, according to a report released last week.

The report on young people from the Peel region who are violent in the home and severely disengaged was released by Peel Youth Services.

Report author Tanya Langford said while domestic violence was in the news, youth violence was being ignored.

“The parents already feel ashamed and often their kids are abusive,” she said.

“We have young kids who are running the show and the parents don’t have the skills to discipline them.”

She said some of the young people she had met had smashed windows, punched doors and even assaulted their parents.

Some of the young people on Ms Langford’s client list had not gone to school in more than two years.

One client, Jason*, has not gone to school for more than two years.

He has high anxiety, will not leave his house and broke his mother’s ribs.

Jason’s mother has depression and can no longer work.

Other case studies in the report are similar to Jason’s; they are a litany of violence, anxiety, depression, truancy and anger.

Ms Langford said these complex issues required a collaborative approach between agencies and services.

She said WA was lagging behind the other Australian states when it came to offering programs to help these young people. She advocates for the creation of a WA youth violence program.

“Schools need to implement more alternative education programs because school is not working for them,” she said.

“In Mandurah they have to be 15 before they can access vocational subjects.”

An Auditor General’s report revealed that 20.4 per cent of Coodanup College students were at severe risk of truancy, while 26.4 per cent were at moderate risk.

At John Tonkin College, 10.2 per cent of students were at severe risk of truancy and 18.6 per cent at moderate risk.

Ms Langford said 10 per cent of students at severe risk of truancy were disengaged and 3 per cent were severely disengaged.

Peel Youth Services and Pat Thomas House are hosting a forum to discuss the findings in the report on November 26.

Guest speakers at the forum include Dianne, the mother of a 12-year-old boy who is severely disengaged and violent at home, and Dean Dyer, a men’s health and wellbeing consultant.

n Names have been changed to protect the victims and because the clients are under 18.