Gold Coast Schoolies - 2003 Report
Gold Coast Schoolies Week
During Gold Coast Schoolies
Week, Rebeccas Community was one of several service providers supporting young
people. The official Gold
Coast Schoolies Week ran from November 22nd till November 30th 2003. Prevention
of sexual assault during Gold Coast Schoolies Week was the focus of three targeted
support services provided by Rebeccas Community.
Worker and Director of Rebeccas Community Mr. Dominic
Mapstone has worked at Gold
Coast Schoolies Week since 1994 [dominic dot mapstone
at gmail dot com]. Rebeccas Community is based in Sydney; the organisation
works with people who are homeless and funds the National Schoolies Week Website.
Each night of Gold
Coast Schoolies Week Rebeccas Community started work as other services knocked
off for the night; the 'graveyard shift' began at 2am and finished at 7am. The
following covers the work of Rebeccas Community at Gold Coast Schoolies
Gold Coast Schoolies Patrols
the only service provider active during the graveyard shift at Gold
Coast Schoolies Festival, Rebeccas Community volunteers worked in pairs covering
danger zones such as public toilets, alley ways, sand dunes and the Gold Coast
Schoolies Festival precinct. Each night the areas we patrolled expanded based
on information gathered from the previous night's work.
foot patrols included making contact with people sleeping on the beach or passed
out somewhere on the drunken walk back to where they were staying. We were able
to offer them safe transport home or a place to crash till morning at our headquarters.
were several sexual assaults this year during Gold
Coast Schoolies, as there is every year. As Schoolies Week progressed and
we learnt of another sexual assault, we focused more frequent patrols in the area
where the assault took place or dedicated an outreach team to monitor that specific
The foot patrols became more difficult for our
teams as Schoolies Week progressed; going to places where we knew such suffering
had occurred was confronting and depressing.
we saw girls walking home by themselves, either along the beach or the street,
being followed or watched by one or more older guys. So we followed the girls
also and the creepy guys left them alone.
Coast Schoolies these guys worked in groups of three or four usually, some
times communicating via mobile phone. There were two gang rapes during Gold Coast
Schoolies that we learnt of, one on the beach a couple of hundred meters south
of the Ambulance Treatment Centre and one in the alley next to Shooter's nightclub.
As we started our shift on one particular night of Gold
Coast Schoolies we also learnt that a 14-year-old girl had been raped. Part
of the focus for Gold Coast Schoolies organisers was that 'Schoolies is for Schoolies,'
to the exclusion of older 'toolies' and younger people vulnerable in such an environment.
As the biggest party in the national social calendar, Gold Coast Schoolies attracted
children younger than 10 year's old.
Four complaints of
sexual assault were registered with Police during Gold Coast Schoolies Week, three
of which were dropped within a week or two.
At no point
were Gold Coast Schoolies
alerted by authorities to the fact that these assaults had occurred. As the week
progressed, more and more girls were walking home alone, as they became more use
to being at Gold Coast Schoolies and dropped their guard.
Coast Schoolies Safe Transport
The youngest person we transported
home during Gold Coast Schoolies Week was a girl younger than ten years old.
in Policing ran transport within the Gold Coast city-limits until about 3am, calling
upon Rebeccas Community to help out with people who lived more than a half hour
Thanks to the Gold Coast St. Vincent de Paul
Society for donating the use of a vehicle to Rebeccas Community.
Coast Schoolies Crash-out Beds
Each night, up to fifty
young people were either transported home by Rebeccas Community or given a safe
place to sleep at our headquarters in the Gold Coast Schoolies
precinct. Here our nurses and volunteers monitored the sick ones who were not
well enough to be sent home and not sick enough to need an Ambulance.
stretchers borrowed from the State Emergency Service SES, we set up our safe space
initially in the Ambulance Treatment Centre after they had finished for the night
and later in an event marque used by Drug-Arm.
The Gold Coast Management of Public Intoxication Program
(GCMPIP) worked in direct partnership with Rebeccas Community providing a staff
member from the Chill-out Zone in Orchard Ave to assist Rebeccas Community volunteers
and where needed act as an advisor.
The Coordinator of Chill-out
Angela Driscol, member of the Premier's Schoolies Committee was instrumental both
in the planning and execution phases of the project. Mary Alcorn from the Gold
Coast Drug Council was also a very important contributor in the planning phase.
The following departments were involved in the Crisis Accommodation
/ Transport Working Committee with Rebeccas Community (a sub-committee reporting
to the Premier's Schoolies
Committee): Department of Premier and Cabinet; Children's Commission; Department
of Health and the Department of Families
along with Chill-out (GCMPIP) and
Gold Coast Drug Council (Miraki).
The following services
also supported the programs offered by Rebeccas Community by referring young people
into our care: Rosies
Youth Mission; Hotel
Queensland Police Service (QPS); Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS); State Emergency
Services SES and Follow Me - Events Management.
The National Schoolies Website www.schoolies.org.au
was also launched in 2003. The peer education project is funded by Rebeccas Community
and all content is from former Schoolies (unless specifically stated). The Schoolies
Week Survival Guide was the first project by former Schoolies and in 2004 the
Schoolies Accommodation Guide will be launched.
has been a great success with upwards of 3,000 page views per day.
Coast Schoolies - Puppy
Jazmin is our beautiful labrador
puppy who worked alongside us. She came on foot patrols, she woke people up in
the morning from the crash-out beds and was always on hand for a cuddle when someone
was feeling down. Jazz is in training to work with us on the streets of Sydney
with people who are homeless.