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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2012  Reissue
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Contents >> Family and Community >> Connections with family and friends


FAMILY AND COMMUNITY: CONNECTIONS WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.

Note: In this section, the term 'children' refers to people aged 0–14 years. The terms 'youth' and 'young people' refer to people aged 15–24 years. Data presented are from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0).

KEY MESSAGES

In 2008:
  • 88% of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were able to get support from someone outside their household in times of crisis
  • nine in ten (89%) young people had participated in sporting, social or community activities in the previous 3 months
  • 69% felt that they could have a frequent say on important issues with their family and friends but only 17% felt they could have a frequent say on community issues.

Strong family connections and the support of friends can be a foundation of good social and emotional wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (Endnote 1).

SUPPORT NETWORKS

In 2008, the majority (88%) of young people were able to get support from someone outside their household in times of crisis. The most common sources of support for young people were family members (79%) and friends (70%). Most young people also reported having family and/or friends outside the household who they could confide in (88%).

Young people living in non-remote areas were more likely than those in remote areas to report having family and/or friends outside the household that they could confide in (91% compared with 76%). However, youth in non-remote areas were less likely to have daily face-to-face contact with family and friends than youth in remote areas (48% compared with 71%) and were more likely to have used other forms of daily contact in the last three months, such as phone (50% compared with 34%) or internet (27% compared with 8%).

Nearly half of all youth (49,400 or 48%) had helped or provided support to someone outside the household in the last four weeks. Help was most commonly provided to relatives (64%) and friends (50%). The most common types of help provided were domestic work or home maintenance (51%), providing transport or running errands (43%), emotional support (41%) and unpaid childcare (24%).

A higher proportion of young females than young males had given help to someone outside their household (51% compared with 44%).


PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

In 2008, 89% of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had participated in sporting, social or community activities in the previous three months. The most common types of activities included:
  • going out to a cafe, restaurant or bar (56%)
  • watching Indigenous TV (45%)
  • attending the movies, theatre or a concert (41%).
The prevalence of certain activities varied, with young people in remote areas reporting higher rates of attendance at a sporting event as a spectator, and for funerals/sorry business, ceremonies or festivals, while youth in non–remote areas were more likely to report going out to a cafe, restaurant or bar, or attending the movies, theatre or a concert.

3.1 PARTICIPATION IN SPORTING, SOCIAL OR COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES BY REMOTENESS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–24 years—2008
Graph: Participation in sporting, social or community activities by remoteness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 years, 2008
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey


HAVING A SAY IN FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ISSUES

Over two-thirds (69%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people felt that they could have a say all or most of the time with their family and friends on important issues. Rates were higher among young people living in non-remote than remote areas (72% compared with 57%).

Young people were less likely than older people to have input into important community issues. Around one in six young people (17%) reported being able to have a say in community issues all or most of the time compared with 29% of people aged 25 years and over.


TRUST IN LOCAL SERVICES

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in 2008:
  • 80% agreed or strongly agreed that they had trust in their local doctor
  • 67% agreed or strongly agreed that they had trust in their local school
  • 67% agreed or strongly agreed that they had trust in their local hospital
  • 51% agreed or strongly agreed that they had trust in the police from their local area.

Overall, young people living in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have trust in the local police (57% compared with 49%), the local hospital (76% compared with 64%) and the local school (80% compared with 64%). Similar proportions of young people in non-remote and remote areas reported trust in their local doctor.

ENDNOTES

1. Williamson, A. B., Raphael, B., Redman, S., Daniels, J., Eades, S. J. & Mayers, N. (2010) ‘Emerging themes in Aboriginal child and adolescent mental health: findings from a qualitative study in Sydney, New South Wales’ Medical Journal of Australia (eMJA). MJA 2010; 192 (10) <www.mja.com.au>


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