YOUNG PEOPLE AGAINST CHILD ABUSE
A Division of the National Child Protection Alliance Inc. (NCPA)
YPACA was created in 2014, its formation being a natural flow on effect of a steadily increasing group of young people who responded well after meeting each other and grew stronger in mind and body.
It is our intention that, just as the older YPACA members do now, the younger members will grow to become capable of attending meetings, explaining to State and Federal Government Ministers how the systems are failing young children. In mid January 2015 members presented solutions and suggestions for improvements to the Federal Commissioner for Children and Young People, Megan Mitchell, in a personal meeting.
In some cases the NCPA had been instrumental in having them removed from the custody of the abusive parent and it was these young members who responded enthusiastically when we suggested they speak out to help other children and began to think of names for their new group. Since then they have been included in top level discussions which could help bring crucial changes, legislatively and systemically, to protect children more fully.
The members of YPACA also meet to share their experiences and to find solace from their peers.
For these damaged young people, YPACA has became a peer group support mechanism that has proved an invaluable aid in their healing.
The importance of this cannot be over emphasised.
At a lengthy meeting between the members of YPACA and the Federal Children’s Commissioner they were asked where they thought the system had let them down the most.
They all said, unequivocally, that the most hurtful part of the whole experience was that nobody believed them. This was more harmful to their psyches than the actual abuse.
This harm is perpetuated in the Family Court where they persist with the myth that all children who complain of abuse have been coached to make the allegations. Research shows that in such circumstances 96% of children tell the truth.
Since then, the YPACA members have met with other children who are currently suffering abuse similar to that which they endured and have been able to help them by discussing their mutual problems at a peer level.
There are myriad benefits to this process. By helping others the YPACA young people find an emotional healing process at work; a valuable form of catharsis. It also helps restore their self-esteem whilst boosting their confidence.
For the children they are mentoring it opens the door to disclosure and discussion rather than being condemned to decades of mind damaging silence. Children in the company of their peers who have suffered similar trauma will open up and disclose far more than they would to an adult stranger in a strange room. Above all, they are believed.
Being young, it is equally important that there is a fun, social element included. The members of YPACA are brought together for picnics, beach parties, BBQ’s and have a lot of fun helping at fundraising events! These occasions reassure them they are not alone and we find it encourages them to want to speak to Ministers, Commissioners, MPs regarding the changes needed to help other children in the future.
With a growing membership we are constantly investigating options to enable the provision of more places to accommodate the ever increasing need for this service.
There is no charge for membership.