Girls at Risk

“True generational change starts with the empowerment of young women.”

The SHINE program successfully addresses fundamental issues in the lives of at-risk adolescent girls that have, for many years, limited their educational achievement.

By targeting 13 to 15 year old girls with poor school attendance, negative classroom behaviour and/or poor educational outcomes, the SHINE program offers a safe and supportive environment to develop life skills and emotional tools to strengthen their personal, education and career development.

SHINE targets young women because when we change one girl’s life – she in turn changes the lives of those around her.

An educated girl is more likely to be financially independent. For every year she stays in school her income will increase.  Literacy plays a huge role in not only a woman’s health, but in her children’s. Not only that, but an educated girl is more likely to pass on her education to her children. So her children will not only be healthier, but better educated too.

Every single girl is capable of becoming a leader, a mentor, and a change maker – and education gives her the opportunity to do so.

Gender equity is a driving force for SHINE and by tackling issues encountered by at-risk girls, such as building healthy relationships and challenging negative attitudes – including prejudice, discrimination and harassment that can lead to violence, SHINE aims to equip young women with basic life skills to ensure their future is in their hands.

Facts and Figures

Young people who are not fully engaged in education or work are disproportionately female and from low socioeconomic backgrounds, located more often in regional and remote locations, and Indigenous.

(Lamb, Jackson, Walstab, & Huo, 2015)

Educational achievement is particularly important for females. Females who leave school without completing Year 12 are much more likely than male early school leavers to be employed in low-skill jobs.

(Curtis & McMillan, 2008)

The World Health Organisation argues that women are often instrumental in bringing about social change through their role in the family and the wider community.

(WHO, 2014)

The top 10 issues troubling young girls 13-18 years old are:

  1. Mental health
  2. Family relationships, including domestic violence
  3. Emotional well being
  4. Suicide related concerns
  5. Self-injury / self-harm
  6. Friends and peer relationships
  7. Dating and partner relationships
  8. Child abuse
  9. Self-image and self esteem
  10. Study and education.

(Kids Helpline, 2017)

Violence against women is now recognised to be a serious and widespread problem in Australia, with enormous individual and community impacts and social costs, including disengagement.

(The Smith Family, 2014)

Children and young people are affected by violence against women. Exposure to violence against their mothers or other caregivers causes profound harm to children, with potential impacts on attitudes to relationships and violence, as well as behavioural, cognitive and emotional functioning, social development, and – through a process of ‘negative chain effects’ – education and later employment prospects.

(The Smith Family, 2014)

Research has identified that the particular needs of students 10-15 years of age include:

  • feeling like they belong
  • developing a sense of themselves
  • having opportunities to act independently and cooperatively
  • being recognised and valued
  • feeling supported and challenged
  • feeling secure.

(Cumming, 1997)