Gold Coast Schoolies - 2004 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 19th till November 28th 2004.
Worker and Director of Rebeccas Community Mr. Dominic
Mapstone has worked at Gold Coast
Schoolies Week for the past decade. Rebeccas Community is based in Sydney; the organisation
works with people who are homeless and
funds the National Schoolies Week Website.
In 2004 our proposed
sexual assault prevention service was deemed 'too dangerous' to implement by the Department
of Communities, and was not included as part of the official schoolies
Our proposal in essence was to have youth
workers patrol areas which we identified from past years as most dangerous during
the Gold Coast Schoolies festival from the perspective of sexual assault.
state government's assessment of the work as too dangerous didn't change the need
for such a service, so it was decided for the sake of the Schoolies
to proceed regardless.
The team was lead by Social Worker
Mr. Dominic Mapstone and included a nurse, senior youth workers and a teacher.
All had Blue Cards (Working with Young People Check - issued by the Children's
Commission) and all had at least two years experience working at Schoolies.
also had up to five years working on the streets with homeless people. The team
were also experienced in visiting squats and shooting galleries as part of their
work with Dominic on the streets so were well versed in how to keep themselves
safe in dangerous environments.
The foot patrols included
making contact with people we considered 'at risk' and making them aware of the
dangers or assisting them to safety. We also maintained regular watch of areas
were most at risk of assault, based on our team's unique insight.
The support of the Queensland
Ambulance Service was required on a number of occasions as we discovered people
overcome by alcohol and or drugs, passed out in back streets and parks. It was
very helpful having a nurse on our team.
The support of
police was required on a number of occasions as we were able to identify 'persons
of interest' or passed on information about 'places of interest.'
identification of people and places of interest yeilded drug and weapon related
arrests, as well as giving police the opportunity to record the name and address
of older persons present in areas of concern for our sexual assault prevention
At any one time there were up to two dozen couples
having consentual sex in public space, especially on the beach or in the sand
dunes. As the sand dunes are historically a location where rapes occur during
we established the 'consentual nature' of the act from a respectful distance and
During patrols, our youth workers were offered
drugs on a number of occasions each night. Outreach at Gold Coast Schoolies was
more like working in Kings Cross (our home turf) than working in Fortitude Valley.
We were suprised at how many more dealers were active during Gold Coast Schoolies
compared to previous years.
Jazmin is our beautiful labrador
dog who worked alongside us. She came on foot patrols, and was always on hand
for a cuddle when someone was feeling down. Jazz works with us in Sydney with
people who are homeless.
During outreach we were often asked
if she was a sniffer dog or alternatively we were asked if our dog was blind.
As far as Jazz was concerned I think she was just happy to be going for such long
walks every night and getting so many hugs and pats.
2003 Schoolies Jazmin was just a puppy and got a lot of attention from police
who went out of their way to pat her. This year for the first couple of days she
barked at the police every time she saw them, even when they drove past in a patrol
car. After a few days though she warmed to them again and charmed her way into
many police hearts.
We learnt of a number of incidents of
sexual assault during 2004 Schoolies, however, as police had not charged someone
with the offence/s confirmation of the assaults were unavailable.
Community was also able to arrange for the transport of a handful of people from
the Southport Watch House onto the train for Brisbane, well away from the Gold
Coast Schoolies precinct.
The National Schoolies Website www.schoolies.org.au
continued in it's popularity, gaining up to 18,000 page vews per day. The peer
education project is funded by Rebeccas Community and all content is from former