Got Your Back is a group for young people (aged 12-25) impacted by domestic and family violence (DFV). There are weekly sessions across multiple Canberra locations, and is a safe space for the young people to find support and connection, to have their voices heard, and to hear from other young people in similar situations. Led by the young people, they choose what they do and what they talk about, creating a free, voluntary and inclusive service.
Got Your Back has demonstrated outstanding commitment to developing meaningful partnerships with young people and has greatly benefited the participants. The groups are entirely focused on supporting the young people in the ways they want and need to be supported. The groups are held at youth centres across Canberra, after school hours, to make them as accessible as possible. Young people can be referred to the group through any channel (including self-referral) and there is no expectation, commitment or requirement needed. It is a safe space for young people to attend, engage with and withdraw from on their own terms.
The participants have the opportunity for regular input into what they do and don’t like about the group, topics they would like to discuss, activities they would like to have included and so forth, through weekly discussions, as well as quarterly evaluations. They are consulted on decisions that will impact the group (such as the introduction of a guest speaker) and are empowered to direct the group facilitators on how the group will function. The flow of sessions is the same each week in order to offer the young people stability and consistency – something that may be lacking in their lives outside of the group.
Got Your Back has provided young people impacted by DFV with a safe space to connect with peers, and trusted adults, who truly understand their experience. It belongs to the young people who take part, giving them a sense of power and autonomy, validating their experiences, and allowing their voices to be heard. For many, it is the only space that they can freely talk about their experience without fear of judgement, denial, minimisation, shame or exclusion; and where responses won’t exacerbate risk or cause further trauma