Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Social Science


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Rob White

Second Supervisor

Rod Underwood


Youth workers across Australia are coming into contact with young women who have been abused. However, the nature of that contact, and the ways in which youth workers are responding to these young women is not known. The aim of this study is to determine how youth workers in the metropolitan area of Perth perceive and act upon issues of abuse faced by the young women using their services. The study draws upon literature dealing with issues of abuse facing children and young people. Within the study issues such as problems arising from trying to define abuse are examined, as are the theories used by practitioners to describe and explain why abuse occurs within our society. Feminist theories of abuse and work with young women are offered as the basic framework of the study. The technique of gathering data is also set within a feminist framework, involving 15 youth workers in a process of discussion and debate on issues surrounding young women and abuse and youth work practice with young women. The study found that youth workers are prepared to support young women who have been abused, but that this support - varies according to the consciousness, skills, confidence anti experience of individual workers. The focus of service provision in the majority of casas lies with young man, so the needs of abused young woman using youth services are often not seen as a priority. Constraints of a work nature also impact strongly on the amount of time and energy that youth workers are able to give the young women with whom they have contact.

Included in

Social Work Commons