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Call for expressions of interest Preventing violent and antisocial

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					      Call for expressions of interest
Preventing violent and antisocial behaviour
           among young people


              Discussion paper




                  Closing Date:
     5.00 pm (EST) Friday 18 September 2009
Overview of Requirements
ARACY is seeking to commission the preparation of a discussion paper that will be used to
inform national consultations on how violent and antisocial behaviour among young
Australians can be more effectively addressed.

The paper will summarise the evidence from across disciplines and sectors on:
   1. the nature and magnitude of youth violence and antisocial behaviour in Australia
      (incidence, demographic indicators, trends)
   2. factors that are known to contribute to youth violence and antisocial behaviour
      together with the strength of the associations with these factors
   3. policies, programs and strategies that have been proven to work in preventing violent
      and antisocial behaviour among young people, including the principles upon which
      they are based and key factors associated with their success.

Given the paper’s earlier identified aim, the priority focus of the paper will be on addressing
item 3 above.

The successful tender will also be required to recommend questions arising from the
evidence that can be used to direct the discussion towards developing and implementing
evidence-based action at the level of policy and practice.

The paper will supplement an audit of relevant programs in the different Australian
jurisdictions that ARACY will be undertaking as a separate project.

The preparation of the discussion paper should take account of and reflect ARACY’s role,
principles of operation and approach to collaboration projects as listed below.

About ARACY
ARACY’s mission is to improve the wellbeing and life chances of children and young people,
by advancing collaboration and evidence-based action. Our goals are to:

   •   promote collaborative research and agenda setting for children and young people
   •   promote the application of research to policy and practice for children and young
       people.

The primary focus is on preventing problems before they emerge or on intervening early in
the causal pathway before problems become entrenched. ARACY adopts a life-pathways
approach to preventing problems taking account of complex and inter-related individual,
social, environmental, economic, political and cultural factors impacting on the development
and wellbeing of children and young people.

Strategies undertaken by ARACY to advance our mission and goals include:

   •   translation and dissemination of research into forms and media that are relevant and
       accessible to policy makers and practitioners


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   •   knowledge exchange through the conduct of face-to-face meetings, seminars and
       online forums

   •   capacity building through training forums, seed funding to support the establishment
       of new multidisciplinary research collaborations, and the provision of professional
       development opportunities for young researchers.


Collaborative Projects
A key dimension of ARACY’s approach is to support the development of collaborative projects
in which diverse organisations work together across disciplines and sectors to address
complex problems. ARACY believes collaboration leads to more innovative thinking, more
relevant research, and better targeted programs and interventions, to build a stronger future
for Australia's children and young people.

ARACY collaboration projects are undertaken over several stages.

   1. Project Planning: broadly defines the problems to be addressed through the project,
      identifies risks, articulates strategies and sets out key tasks under a timeline and
      budget as well as incorporating a communications plan

   2. Project Advisory Group: input is provided from experts in the area to support the
      early development of the project

   3. Discussion paper and consultation: the discussion paper seeks to clearly define the
      problem and summarise the associated evidence. Based on the evidence presented in
      the discussion paper, consultations with policy makers and practitioners seek to
      identify the possibilities for collaborative action (including the barriers to action and
      how they might be overcome)

   4. Roundtable: brings together CEOs and other senior organisational decision makers to
      identify ways they may collaborate by each applying their resources to take action to
      solve key problems

   5. Evaluation: as ARACY collaboration projects work towards the formation of
      collaborations, project evaluation occurs at the stage at which the collaboration is
      formed. This is also the point at which ARACY withdraws from the project allowing
      the collaboration to manage itself.

The Preventing Youth Violence Project is now at stage 3 of this process.

Further information on ARACY’s collaborative projects, visit www.aracy.org.au.




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Preventing Youth Violence Collaborative Project
Project aim
To identify evidenced-based strategies that prevent violent and antisocial behaviours among
young people, and to mobilise support for effective collaborative action.

Background
This project was initially focused more broadly on the issue of youth disengagement for
which a review of the evidence was prepared and published in August 20081. The review
included five case studies on various dimensions of youth engagement and disengagement,
including separate case studies on youth community violence, and youth hazardous drinking.
While the coverage was comprehensive, it was considered that it was too broad to inform a
targeted consultation on the issues raised.
The decision to further refine the project to focus on Preventing Youth Violence followed a
review of relevant policy and program initiatives to determine where an ARACY collaborative
project would be likely to yield most benefit. It was decided to focus on only one of the cited
case studies (ie, youth violence recognising the association between violence and alcohol
consumption).

To identify points in the developmental pathway that may provide opportunities for early
intervention and prevention, in early 2009 ARACY commissioned the Centre for Adolescent
Health to produce a pathways analysis of risk and protective factors associated with violent
and antisocial behaviours among young people. The study drew on survey data from more
than 8000 students, from grades six to eight, in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia,
collected as part of the Healthy Neighbourhoods Project2.

The findings confirm that young adolescents are already engaging in unhealthy and risk-
taking behaviours at high levels and that an opportunity exists to focus intervention
strategies on the early adolescent years (ie, before these behaviours become an entrenched
pattern in the young person’s life).

Project focus
The Preventing Youth Violence project has a secondary prevention focus targeting young
people identified as being at heightened risk of engaging in violent and antisocial behaviour.

Unlike many other strategies targeted at violent behaviour that occurs later in the adolescent
years, this project is directed at young people aged 10-14 when major changes in brain
development provide a potent opportunity for more effective early intervention.

Given that the 10-14 age group spans primary and secondary school participation, it is
recognised that this period of transition may also heighten the challenges facing young
people at this time, as well as requiring integration across systems to enable the seamless
delivery of interventions.


1
  Burns et al (2008) Preventing youth disengagement and promoting engagement, Australian Research
Alliance for Children and Youth is available upon request.
2
  The Williams et al (2009) paper Violent and antisocial behaviours among young adolescents in
Australian communities is available upon request
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It is expected that the relatively short period between early to late adolescence will enable
the effectiveness of collaborative strategies that are developed as a result of this project to
be evaluated across a similarly short timeframe.

A rationale for the Preventing Youth Violence project and references to key documentation
are provided at Attachment A.

Specifications for the Discussion paper
Purpose
The primary aim of this paper is to guide and inform national consultations on evidence
based action that has the potential to make a major impact in reducing the level of violent
and antisocial behaviour among young people. It is expected that the primary audience for
the consultation will be policy makers, service managers and people who work in a direct
service delivery capacity.

To ensure the paper achieves its purpose, it is important that the length, style, language and
presentation of the discussion paper make it accessible and easy to follow for a broad
audience. The text should be logically structured under easy to follow headings with a
summary of key points concluding each section.

The consultant will also be expected to make recommendations on the questions that arise
from the evidence to be presented as a prompt for input from policy makers and practitioners
during consultations.


Content and report structure
The discussion paper will synthesise the evidence from across disciplines and sectors in three
main sections. A two page Executive Summary of key findings will also be required.
Excluding this summary and references, the paper will be a maximum of 7500 words. The
expected proportion of the paper dedicated to each section is listed in the third column
below. The precise structuring of the paper will be open to negotiation with the successful
contractor.


Section Content                                                                   % of paper
1         The problem of youth violence                                           10%
          The nature and magnitude of the problem of youth violence and
          antisocial behaviour in Australia (incidence, severity, demographic
          indicators, trends)
2         Contributing factors                                                    35%
          A summary of factors that contribute to youth violence and
          antisocial behaviour and evidence on the strength of the
          association including:
          •   Individual factors (particularly taking account of the
              behavioural implications of adolescent brain development, also
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              considering the impact of alcohol and dietary influences, the
              evidence on the relationship between innate characteristics and
              behaviour)
          •   Social factors (impact of the quality and nature of relationships
              with family, peers, other adults, school, community)3
          •   Cultural factors (specific to young people and/or in Australian
              society)
          •   Environmental factors (including factors in the built
              environment and natural environment)
3         What works and why?                                                          55%
          A review of policies and programs that have been proven to work
          (or not work) including principles of operation and key success
          factors of effective programs


ARACY has conducted a preliminary literature review in which a number of key national and
jurisdictional reports have been identified that should be considered as part of the discussion
paper (see Attachment A). These references, together with reports previously commissioned
by ARACY that are relevant to the Preventing Youth Violence project will be provided to the
successful contractor.

To enable the paper to be presented in a consistent structure and format ARACY Guidelines
for Contributors and a document template will be provided to the successful contractor.


Publication and Distribution
Upon completion of the discussion paper, ARACY will decide on publication and distribution.
Requests for amendments to the paper may be sought from the commissioned contributor
(s). The paper may be published on the ARACY website. The contract for this work clarifies
that copyright is vested in ARACY. However, if any editing is proposed this will occur only
after an opportunity for consultation with the commissioned contributor(s) has been
provided.


Budget and Timeline
The Expression of Interest form requires potential contractors to advise ARACY of their total
costs in completing the specifications for this project to the agreed standard. The cost is
inclusive of GST and all other costs associated with the submission to ARACY of the
discussion paper.

A detailed budget and project timeline, inclusive of time taken to be consulted about possible
revisions and amendments is required.

3
 Note much of this information is covered in the Williams et al (2009) paper on Violent and Antisocial
Behaviour among Young Adolescents in Australian communities
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The funding available is not more than $25 000.

The Preventing Youth Violence Discussion Paper is to be finalised by 11 December 2009.
Submissions will need to indicate that the paper can be commenced and completed within
this timeframe.

Legal Liabilities:
The contractor is required to provide proof of current workers’ compensation insurance,
professional indemnity insurance of not less than $5 000 000 and public liability insurance of
not less than $10 000 000.


Selection and assessment process
A selection panel will evaluate the Expressions of Interest using the selection criteria outlined
in the completed Expression of Interest form.

Organisations best positioned to undertake this paper will be short-listed. Short-listed
proposals may be invited to submit more details if required.

Upon completion, the paper will be independently reviewed. ARACY is committed to applying
independent review as a standard part of its process and will select a practitioner and an
academic with appropriate qualifications to undertake the review.

The proposed timeline and costing for the project should include an estimate of time for
revisions and amendments that may be required following input from the Project Advisory
Committee and/or based on the feedback of the independent review.


Submission details
Intending applicants are requested to complete the Expression of Interest form. The form
must be submitted to ARACY by the close of business Friday 18 September, 2009 to be
eligible for consideration.

While the information provided in this Expression of Interest should be kept brief, it should
provide sufficient indication that the proposal is likely to meet all selection criteria as listed
above.

Please ensure you have included the information required to process your Expression of
Interest.

This includes:

   a copy of relevant insurances
   a copy of CV of all personnel to be involved in the project.




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Please send your expression of interest by email to the Project Manager, Deirdre Croft at
deirdre.croft@aracy.org.au with the subject line: “Preventing Youth Violence Discussion
Paper”

If you require assistance you can contact Deirdre at:
ARACY
PO Box 1360
West Perth WA 6872
Telephone: 08 9476 7804



                         Closing Date for this Expression of Interest
                       5.00 pm (EST) Friday 18 September, 2009




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Attachment A: Preventing youth violence
A project of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY)
aimed at reducing the level of violent and antisocial behaviour among young
people in Australia

Concerns about youth violence
Young people are at greater risk of being violent and of being a victim of violence.
•      One in ten young people aged 15-19 and one in twelve 20-24 year olds say they have
       recently been the victim of an assault – most assaults are not reported to the police.4

Young males are especially at risk
•      29 percent of young males aged 18-19 years report having recently been physically
       assaulted by another male, compared to 15 percent of males aged 20-24, and only 4
       percent of older males aged 25 and over.5

The level of youth violence is increasing
•      From 1997 to 2007, the number of young people charged with assault rose by 48
       percent.6

There is a high price to pay
•      Just under half of all assaults result in injury.
•      In 2005, more than 20 000 Australians required hospital treatment following an assault,
       two-thirds of them had a head injury.7
•      The Australian Institute of Criminology (2009) estimates that assault costs the Australian
       community $1.4 billion each year (including medical costs, lost output and intangible
       costs such as fear, pain and suffering but not including the costs of insurance,
       compensation, security, policing etc).


What will make a difference?
A number of the causes of youth violence are known:
•      many different factors are involved (such as those relating to the individual, their family,
       friends, school, neighbourhood, community, society, culture)
•      different factors interact differently in different social, physical and built environments to
       produce different outcomes.
There is no single cause and no simple solution. There are, however, particular influences
that are known to either increase or decrease the risks.



4
    ABS (2006) Crime and Safety, Australia, Table 11
5
    ABS (2008) Australian Social Trends, Risk taking by young people. P.5
6
    Australian Institute of Criminology (2008) Australian Crime: Facts and Figures, p. 59
7
    AIHW (2008) Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning 2004-05
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Young people are especially vulnerable due to major changes occurring in many areas
of their life from early adolescence onwards.

Changes in the brain during adolescence affect:
•     how young people think and feel (including how they respond to stress, how they
      regulate their emotions and how they interpret emotions in others)
•     how they behave (including increases in risk-taking behaviours)
•     how they respond to environmental influences (both good and bad).

Good nutrition is important for brain development and for emotional regulation, yet many
young people have a poor diet.

Alcohol has a more extreme effect on the brain and behaviour of adolescents than it does
on adults, yet increasing numbers of young people are drinking high levels of alcohol at
younger ages.
 • One in nine 12-13-year-old boys and one in 11 12-13-year-old girls admit to having
    engaged in binge drinking in the previous two weeks.8

Research shows:
•     It is more effective and much cheaper to intervene early to prevent problem
      behaviours developing or progressing (yet many strategies try to control or punish rather
      than prevent violent behaviour)

•     Early adolescence is a critical stage of development that has consequences for a
      young person’s long term social adjustment and behaviour (yet many youth policies and
      programs don’t start until the age of 12 – a couple of years after changes have already
      started occurring in the adolescent brain)

•     Strategies that integrate evidence from across different disciplines and mobilise
      collaborative action across sectors are most effective (yet many policies, programs
      and services focus on only one dimension of the young person’s life)

•     There is a substantial body of evidence on what works, and what doesn’t work, in
      preventing youth violence (yet many policies and programs are not based on the
      evidence).

ARACY’s Preventing Youth Violence project will seek to incorporate the principles outlined
above. It will focus on early intervention with young adolescents and application of
evidence-based strategies from across relevant disciplines to mobilise effective action across
diverse sectors.

An opportunity for action
Taking action that will have a major impact on reducing the level of violent and antisocial
behaviour among Australians is the ultimate aim of ARACY’s Preventing Youth Violence
project. However, the project is still in the early stages of development and further work is
required to ensure that any action taken is based on the best available evidence.

8
    Williams et al (2009) Violent and antisocial behaviour among young adolescents in Australia
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Relevant ARACY Papers
ARACY has previously commissioned a number of papers that are relevant to this project for
which links are provided below:

Two papers on Gang Violence and Interventions (Rob White, April 2007)
   •    Youth gangs, violence and antisocial behaviour
   •   Anti-gang strategies and interventions


Think tank on hazardous drinking and young people report (ARACY, 2007)


Preventing youth disengagement and promoting engagement (Burns et al, August 2008)


The following paper has yet to be posted on the ARACY website but will be provided to the
successful tender
Violent and Antisocial Behaviour among Young Adolescents in Australian Communities
(Williams et al, August 2009)

All papers contain valuable material that the consultants can and should draw on in the
presentation of the discussion paper.




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Other Relevant Reports and Inquiries
Community concerns about the level of youth violence and antisocial behaviour have
prompted numerous commissioned reviews and public inquiries. A sample of these reviews
and inquiries are presented below. It is intended that the Discussion paper will draw on work
that is already available including the evidence presented in ARACY papers.



New South Wales
NSW Legislative Council Social Issues Committee Inquiry into Youth Violence (1993) –
included a substantial issues paper, followed by an even more substantial report

Victoria
Victoria is developing an across government framework to provide a comprehensive response
to the needs of “Vulnerable Youth”. The Vulnerable Youth Framework Discussion Paper was
published in August 2008

Queensland
Queensland convened a Youth Violence Taskforce in 2007 and produced a report with broad
ranging recommendations. One outcome has been the establishment of a Safe Youth-Safe
Communities Funding Initiative

Griffith University Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance in association with QLD
Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Communities, and Police Services
Understanding and Preventing Youth Violence Symposium (July 2008)

Western Australia
WA Office of Crime Prevention, 2005 – Preventing Violence: The State Community Violence
Prevention Strategy, A Green Paper Policy Framework for Development

WA Office of Crime Prevention, 2007 – Youth Think Tank: Addressing Juvenile Offending

Injury Control Council of WA, 2007 – Community Violence Among Young People (Quantitative
and Qualitative Analysis)

Commonwealth
In June 2008, the Commonwealth Minister for Youth announced an inquiry on the Impact of
Violence on Young People to be conducted by the Standing Committee on Family,
Communities, Housing and Youth. Submissions have yet to be called for.

Australian Institute of Criminology, 2008 – Young People, Crime and Safety, Engagement and
Intervention Conference, in association with the Victorian Safe Communities Network

Australian Institute of Criminology, 2002 – What works in reducing young people’s
involvement in crime, Review of current literature on youth crime prevention




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