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Family and domestic violence is a deeply ingrained issue that affects our families, our communities, and the fabric of our society.

One-third of Australian teenagers aged 18-19 have experienced intimate partner violence in the past year, while 27 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men in Australia have experienced intimate partner and family member violence since the age of 15.

These figures are distressing.

Rightful focus has been placed on intimate partner violence, but there is growing attention on the less understood problem of adolescent-to-parent abuse.

This complex issue involves adolescents exhibiting violence towards their parents and/or siblings.

Unsurprisingly, young people who are violent in the home have most often been exposed to adult family violence in the past.

It is a learned behaviour and it heralds a worrying trend for the future if we don’t act fast to break the cycle.

Our Step Up program is heavily evidence based and tells us that healthy friendships and relationships with parents play a crucial role in decreasing the risk of violence in young people.

The innovative program helps young people aged 11 to 17 who exhibit violent behaviour towards family members or intimate partners.

Based on an outreach model, it provides one-on-one case management for the young person and their family or partner.

It focuses on relationship building, communication and conflict resolution and the outcomes we’ve seen over the past four years are remarkable.

One hundred per cent of participants reported a reduction in violent and abusive behaviours at home, while 87 per cent reported an overall improvement in being safe at home, and the same number reported improvement in relationships at home.

Program participants learn and practice non-violent, respectful ways of communicating and resolving conflicts with those they’ve harmed.

Parents receive guidance on respectful parenting that emphasises leadership and positive support, promoting non-violence within the family.

Participants report reduced violent and abusive behaviours, stabilised living conditions, improved safety, and strengthened relationships.

The positive impacts are profound.

Helping young people early reduces the likelihood of homelessness, disengagement from school, and involvement in future domestic violence or criminal activities.

The result is a healthier, happier individual, and family.

The consistent positive outcomes for young people and their families accessing the program have resulted in a steady flow of referrals, with an increasing wait list across Tasmania.

In order to be able to continue delivering this critical program, we rely on partnerships with like-minded organisations who share our dedication to the health and wellbeing of our young people.

St.Lukes has a bold vision to make Tasmania the healthiest island on the planet, with a dedicated focus on positive generational behaviour change.

We know prevention is better than cure and by working together, with critical support from St.Lukes, we can break the generational cycle of family violence and build a better future for Tasmania’s young people.

Find out more about the impact of Step Up

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