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More than their fair share - young men and violence

Media Release

29 August 2000

Media release from Senator, the Hon Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Justice and Customs

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said today that violence hangs over the lives of too many Australians.

"It is easy to forget that violence is a pervasive part of the lives of many people, particularly young men," Senator Vanstone said.

Senator Vanstone made the comments in releasing the latest Australian Institute of Criminology research paper, Young Men and Violence Prevention.

"Young men get more than their fair share of violence," Senator Vanstone said.

"In one Australian Bureau of Statistic survey highlighted in the AIC paper, young men aged 15-19 made up 13 per cent of all victims, but were only 4.5 per cent of the population.

"The Federal Government has recognised this disproportionate representation of young men as victims of violence. Last year I initiated consultations with 22 young men who had experienced violence as either victims, perpetrators or both.

"Violence had touched the lives of these young men in their families, in their schools, and in the public places that they meet their friends.

"Both the victims and perpetrators in the group recognised that violence diminished their lives. Many expressed a desire to change to avoid violence.

"The young men recognised that they had an antagonistic relationship with the police, and many of them wanted this to change. They also wanted to make drugs harder to get, recognising the costs to their health of drugs and alcohol.

"The young men recognised that their anger was a problem for them and for those who are close to them, and they wanted help to manage their anger.

"The young men also highlighted the difficulty in finding recreational activities to expend their energy, either because of cost or availability of such activities.

"The young men's interest in access to recreational facilities is particularly interesting. We often think that social problems can only be dealt with by treatments that require individuals to change. It is important to recognise that some issues can be dealt with in a healthy, fun way.

"The views of these young men are very valuable. The Federal Government will consider them carefully when developing projects under its crime prevention program."