Research Report: Australian Youth Safety Survey

The Australian Youth Safety Survey is an online survey of young Australians aged 14 to 25, focusing on their experiences of identity, diversity, and safety.

Participants shared information about their sense of identity and their attitudes to ethnicity, immigration, and police, their feelings about their families, peers, schools, and neighbourhoods, as well as their history of victimisation or offending.

The AYSS 2020 Technical Report summarises the responses from a diverse group of 3,147 young people, living in urban, regional, and remote Australia.

Some highlights of the data include:

  • Only 3 out of 5 participants (59%) had mostly been happy in the last 6 months.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) could not easily get emotional support and care from their parents.
  • Although almost 3 in 4 (74%) said that people in their neighbourhood were willing to help each other, more than 1 in 4 (26%) felt their neighbours would prefer the neighbourhood to be mostly white.
  • Less than 1 in 4 non-white participants (24%) said that others see them as Australian.
  • In the last 12 months, more than 1 in 4 (27%) had been the victim of robbery, assault or theft, and 2 in 5 (41%) had been the victim of hate speech, hate violence, or cyber bullying
  • More than 3 out of 5 victims of hate violence knew the offender, including 11% who were victimised by a family member
  • More than a third of participants (35%) had committed a property offence sometime in their lives, and 5% had committed a violent offence.
  • 7 out of 10 (70%) said they were proud to be an Australian.

Many young people, particularly young women and those from marginalised identities said that they don’t feel safe in the community because of sexual harassment and assault, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and racism. And many young people don’t trust police because of perceptions of incompetence and biases in the service

The next wave of the AYSS will open in early 2021.

Angela Higginson is a Chief Investigator of QUT C4J and is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Justice, QUT.

Matthew Morgan is a Senior Research Assistant and PhD candidate in the School of Justice, QUT.

The AYSS was funded by a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to Dr Angela Higginson from the Australian Research Council (ARC): “Ethnically-motivated youth hate crime in Australia”


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