In Term 2 2017, the School participated in a formal discussion hosted by the Advocate for Children and Young People. The aim of this forum was to discuss violence against children and possible solutions to this problem that has been a growing social issue within both Australia and a more global context. These discussions had taken place across many sectors in the community and other schools across Australia over the past weeks. In many ways, this was a fact-seeking mission on the part of the Advocate that would form advice to inform Government policy, advertising and promoting the safety of children and young people in the future.

Students from Year 11 and 12 Legal Studies were divided into groups then were asked to answer three broad questions that would form the basis of the research for the Advocate for Children and Young People. The questions were profound and thought provoking; just participating in these conversations made us realise the wide spread nature of this issue. We discussed what we think of when we hear the word 'violence'. We were also asked where violence occurs and where it stems from. Our ideas will be part of the solution - What strategies could be implemented to improve the current situation or prevent it further?  It was a fantastic opportunity, to see everyone getting involved and really wanting to make a change. It gave us first-hand experience to see reform starts. It was a difficult issue to discuss; the Advocate was open and inclusive to all suggestions.

The manner and maturity in which all of the students participated in the discussion was impressive, and I feel honoured to have had the privilege to speak out about my perspective and my thoughts on violence towards young people. We hope that we have contributed towards making a change so that every day, less and less young people experience violence.

This is one of the many ways we are given extraordinary experiences at the Hills. I thank the School for extending to us this opportunity to engage with the wider community and developing our skills in communication, collaboration for a common cause.

Chelsea McVay | Year 11 Legal Studies Student