Intern gains valuable insight into young girls detained in Kurlana Tapa

Our latest law intern has just completed a literature review examining the factors which may contribute to the overrepresentation of girls from residential care being detained at Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre.

In this week’s blog, Esther talks about her intern experience and the privilege she felt when meeting the young people behind the statistics, from their needs, desires and hopes for their future, to their communal hate for tuna related meals!

Hi! My name is Esther and I have completed my internship with the Training Centre Visitor Unit. I am currently studying a Double Degree of a Bachelor of International Development and a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Adelaide. I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship as I am very interested in areas of community development, youth justice and disability. I have a background in youth work and am passionate about advocating for, and alongside, young people, particularly those with a disability.

As part of my internship, I completed a literature review examining the factors which may contribute to the overrepresentation of girls from residential care being detained at Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre. This research involved exploring a range of relevant factors including childhood maltreatment and/or trauma, the residential care environment, disability, gender, age and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. I have found this research to be incredibly interesting but also concerning. I discovered that dual involved young people face significant additional barriers, such as experiences of trauma, disability and lack of support systems, when interacting with both the child protection and youth justice systems.

I also had the opportunity to visit some of the young people in Kurlana Tapa. I felt I was well prepared and briefed appropriately for the experience by the TCV team and was accompanied by advocates, Simone and Travis. I learnt a lot from the way Simone and Travis interacted with the young people and I was encouraged to see the level of effort that had gone into building rapport.

I really enjoyed meeting the young people in the centre and felt it was such a privilege to be able to listen to their experiences. I especially enjoyed hearing about their love for pinball machines, appreciation of quality sneakers and communal hate for tuna-related meals. I was impressed by their resilience and willingness to engage with us. After completing a significant amount of research into the lives of these young people and the barriers they face, I felt it was valuable to have an opportunity to engage with them directly. This visit afforded me the chance to learn about the young people who are behind the statistics, and their needs, desires and hopes for the future.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to complete my internship with TCV. This is because I have been exposed to a broad range of ideas and people, which has developed my interpersonal skills and understanding of vulnerable people in our community. I have also had the privilege of developing a body of work which will hopefully promote better outcomes for dual clients in the future, through the dedicated advocacy efforts of TCV, and more broadly the Office of the Guardian for Child and Young People.

Findings from Esther’s literature review will further inform the South Australian Dual Involved (SADI) project – a project primarily looking at children and young people living in care who are currently detained in Kurlana Tapa.

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