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Risk taking in young males—the NSW Young Males Project
  1. Ian Scott
  1. Kidsafe Australia, Suite 4, Level 1, 230 Church Street, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia Tel: +61 3 9427 1008, fax: +61 3 9421 3831 e-mail: iscott{at}

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    The New South Wales Injury Prevention Forum, a “whole of government” group, is developing a Young Males Project (YMP). Driven by concern at the extent and serious nature of injuries experienced by young men, the project aims to inform policy makers and practitioners on aspects of risk taking behaviours that may be amenable to intervention. These may be at a policy level via changes to the environment, as may happen with access to transport or safety in public places, or at the community level with provision of youth service, or improvement to environmental safety.

    The project aims to increase advocacy for collaborative approaches to address injury prevention with young males and young people, improve the description of the injury problem, gain a better understanding of the factors that may be involved with risk taking, and develop (collaboratively) appropriately designed and targeted polices and interventions.

    The YMP has three major areas of activity currently in place:

    1. A literature review to gather information on risk taking behaviours and risk management across a broad range of youth related areas (for example drugs, alcohol, sexuality, mental health, and injury).

    2. An audit of services and organisations that are addressing youth risk taking as a component of their client service. The objective here is to gain insight into “what's working” and compile a profile of best practice initiatives.

    3. A series of focus groups with young men (aged 12–25 years) in urban, regional, and rural settings to gather information on risk and risk perceptions that may influence young males' behaviour. Of particular interest are the factors that may “protect” against risk or injury, the factors that may operate to influence youth towards risk taking behaviours (for example peer preference, access to transport, parental expectations), and information on how “risk” and “risk taking” are perceived by youth (for example a necessary part of life, just part of growing up, or something that can be avoided).

    4. The findings from these key elements of the project will inform a consensus workshop at which researchers will present their findings. The workshop participants will frame consensus “action statements” to guide future directions with injury prevention with young males. A discussion paper will be generated from the workshop, and circulated widely for comment.

    Further details: Greg Allen, NSW Injury Prevention Forum (tel: +61 2 9256 5464, fax: +61 2 9252 3310, e-mail: hp{at} Unintentional Injury in Young Males, a 1997 national paper, can be downloaded in PDF format from publications of