Women dressed up for a party

The YAWG Project

A resource for working with Aboriginal girls and young women

What is the YAWG Project?

The YAWG (Young Aboriginal Women and Girls) research, formally known as Fighting, Alcohol and Offending: Interventions Targeting Aboriginal Girls, was funded by Healthway and conducted by the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, in collaboration with Wungening Aboriginal Corporation (2015-2019). The research investigated the experiences of young Aboriginal women and girls (10-18 years). Thirty eight young women participated in one-on-one interviews for the YAWG project, and a further six took part in a one-day intensive workshop. Participants were asked to speak about their experiences around drinking, fighting and offending as well as their experiences of accessing services for support around these and other issues. A resource combining the findings from the data was then developed with the aim of helping service providers better support this group of young women. This website is the result. The content of the website is both uplifting in acknowledging the strengths of many young women but also raises some challenging topics from their lives. If you consider this will contain triggers for you and your own personal circumstance, you may want to read the report or the one page fact sheets before deciding whether to listen to the stories.

YAWG logo
Artwork courtesy of Tehya Jamieson


Ngaire Pigram, Research Officer

As I delved into the personal lives of 38 young Aboriginal girls and women’s experiences and perspectives around drinking, fighting and offending, an interesting picture began to form, a picture for me, at least, that was all too familiar. One that sometimes expressed a good healthy fear of authority and at other times displayed disillusion with the system that has failed our people for generations and continues to use the same formula to do so today. I also saw the formation of 38 beautiful individuals and even though most had similar ideals, each young person gave an honest and unique account of their lives, thoughts and feelings. And for this I was both humbled and grateful. Most young women want to be heard, want to have their say and they don’t want any negative consequences to arise out of doing so. Sadly, as we found out, consequences and the fear of consequences are one of the main reasons that young Aboriginal women aren’t talking to services, they’re not reaching out. They are afraid if they reach out for help, that the person in front of them has no idea about where they might be coming from. They are really afraid of something bad happening to either themselves or their family. That tells me that they’re afraid, that they don’t have trust or a safe place and this is where we need to be coming from. We need to be creating a safe space, we need to provide that for them. It is up to all of us. There needs to be more care taken to work out what it is that they need. Not from high up, from the ground up. I hope you like the website. I wish you all the best and thank you for taking the time to check out the YAWG website and project!


Our Stories

Listen to, watch and read the young women’s stories.

Our Voices

Here you will find a series of short videos that show you the lives of the young women and, in their words, invite you “behind our curtains”.

Our Words: Fighting, Drinking & Offending

The quotes presented here are a sample of those we collected during face-to-face interviews with the young women and girls. They share their thoughts on fighting, drinking and offending as well as paying homage to the people in their lives they most admire.