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Funding for 7 period justice projects to mark International Menstrual Health Day 

To coincide with International Menstrual Health Day (Tuesday 28 May), South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, is pleased to announce recipients of her 2024 Period Justice grants. 

Sports clubs, arts organisations, community groups and local councils across South Australia are amongst the grant recipients being supported to deliver essential menstrual education and/or to supply free period products to benefit SA children and young people across the state. 

In Mount Barker a proportion of grant funds will be used to support an artist to create a portable mural on themes of period poverty and menstruation. The artwork will be strategically positioned in high-traffic areas across the Mount Barker District to raise awareness and ‘spark meaningful dialogues’ across the community.  

The African Women’s Federation of SA will be funded to build on their work of raising awareness amongst African communities via their ‘Resonating Voices: Empowering Young African Women and Families’ initiative, which seeks to remove period stigma by making activities and education workshops fun and geared toward discussion and taboo breaking.  

SHINE SA will use their grant funding to provide sustainable period products and menstruation information at ‘Tarpari Wellbeing Day’ in Port Pirie. They will also adapt their Menstrual Health Kit to make it more accessible to Aboriginal children and young people, and available through schools and community health care centres. 

Port Adelaide Netball association will use their grant funds to provide education kits and hold a menstruation awareness game night. Swimming SA will provide high quality education for the swimming community working in conjunction with Pelvic Pain Australia to deliver tailored workshops to coaches as well as swimmers. 

The Town of Gawler will partner with TABOO to deliver a Period Products Provision Trial that includes an online period poverty awareness workshop. They will also produce information on where young people in Gawler can access free menstrual hygiene products including Gawler’s youth space, the local library, the tertiary hub, heritage centre, council café and business innovation hub.  

Volleyball SA will roll out their education program ‘Game Changing. Period’. Working in conjunction with the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia to educate coaches and players around period justice issues, they will be purchasing sanitary pads and tampons to be added to equipment boxes located on site at all SA volleyball venues.  

This is the third year the Commissioner has provided grant funding for period justice education, hygiene products and disposal infrastructure.  

The Commissioner devised the funding program after many conversations with children and young people revealed the scale of the issue, and the seriousness of the stigma and taboo young people are experiencing.  


In her report, Menstruation Matters (2021), the Commissioner identified menstruation as having a wide-ranging impact on young people’s wellbeing, affecting school attendance, involvement in sport, capacity to work, and ability to socialise.  

In 2021, the Commissioner launched – a website designed to raise awareness and promote action on period poverty. In June, that year she hosted the first National Period Summit with over 100 representatives from organisations around Australia attending in-person and online. In 2023, she held the first Youth Period Summit attracting 70 young people who are passionate about menstrual health and period justice. The second Youth Period Summit is set for September 2024. 

As momentum for period justice has built around the world the Commissioner relaunched her end period poverty website as reflecting the need to address the full range of issues around periods and menstruation. Providing a central point of access for resources, information and activities the site contains links to over 250 resources curated into collections around self-help, menstrual health, research and policy, education and teaching.  

Quotes attributable to Commissioner Helen Connolly: 

I am pleased to be able to continue to fund worthwhile period justice projects and activities across the SA community. Funding focused on reducing stigma and taboo around periods and menstruation, as well as providing essential period hygiene products for those who need them, will have a positive impact on children and young people’s lives. No-one should be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed in relation to periods and menstruation. We all need to continue to do all we can to address this issue for the health and wellbeing of the whole community.  

It is important that periods and menstruation are normalised so that no child or young person is made to feel shame or embarrassment at what is a basic bodily function. The only way South Australia can hope to put an end to period stigma and taboo is to tackle menstrual ignorance and period poverty head on. Adults need to continue to offer support through services and projects that ensure schools, community organisations, sports clubs, and other places where young people gather, provide quality information and support, as well as free access to products whenever they need them, thereby helping to normalise periods and menstruation at every turn.   


Media Contact:  Sharon ClearySenior External Relations & Communications Adviser 

M: 0407 990 983   |   E: 

Policy Position: Commissioner calls on government to provide leadership on children and young people’s health

Currently South Australia lacks an overarching or unifying vision for children and young people’s health, and therefore a way of aligning cross government and community efforts to a common set of goals and actions. Our future depends on investing in healthy children, families, and communities, and that starts with an overarching vision that can ensure policy and decision making prioritises investment in children and young people with a plan that builds on existing evidence, policy and partnerships, to repeat, enhance and expand on what we know is working, and to remedy and reform what isn’t.

Although there are significant strategies and service providers in place throughout SA, including the state’s ten local health networks, the siloed and fragmented nature of these services means we have a system that is inefficient, with competing agendas and priority areas, and with policy design commonly separated from policy implementation. The experience for children and young people and their families attempting to navigate these separated service systems across different agencies and levels of government, is ultimately frustrating and unsatisfying, and one which often does not deliver on the health solutions children and young people are seeking or should be able to expect.

Read the full media release here
Download the Position Policy here

South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, will host the 2024 group of 150 new members of the South Australian Student Representative Council (SA SRC) who will meet at the Adelaide Festival Centre today (Friday 22 March) for the annual SA SRC Summit. This will be the third group of 150 students from years 10, 11 and 12 who have been selected to the SA SRC, with this year’s council members coming from 44 state electorates and representing 80 government, catholic and independent schools from across the state. Along with those from Adelaide metro and the Greater Adelaide and Hills regions, there are young people from Years 10, 11 and 12 who will be travelling from Mount Gambier, Whyalla and Port Lincoln, Cummins, Grant and Millicent, as well as from Port Broughton, Berri, Keith, Gladstone, Kapunda, Penola, Cowell and Balaklava to attend.

Many will have their first opportunity to meet face-to-face with their State Member of Parliament and discuss the ideas they have for change. South Australia’s politicians have been very supportive of the Commissioner’s SA SRC with 20 state parliamentarians confirmed to attend tomorrow’s Summit in person.

Media Welcome:  Friday 22 March 2024 |  9am to 4pm |  Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre.
Media Contact: Sharon Cleary | 0407 990 983

Read the full media release: 2024-03-22 – MR_2024 SA SRC Summit on at Festival Centre tomorrow FINAL

Commissioner reports no real improvement on child rights in SA

Commissioner Helen Connolly has today released her fourth annual series of reports on South Australia’s progress toward meeting recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. The evidence suggests that despite activity across all portfolios there has been no real improvement over the last year.

Released each year to coincide with International Human Rights Day (10 December) the reports examine South Australia’s progress in relation to Child Health, Child Justice, Child Protection, Education, Physical Punishment, Disability, and the Environment, highlighting the areas in which the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concerns about Australian laws and practices.

Download full media release here
Download Suite of 2023 Child Rights Progress Reports Executive Summary
and a compilation of all seven reports via the link below:
2023-Child Rights Progress Reports

Commissioner Connolly calls on government to invest in school excursions to support SA families doing it tough

South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, has today released her Anti-Poverty Week Statement calling on the South Australian government to provide financial support to enable all students in SA to participate in active learning experiences. These include attending a school camp, going on a field trip, or being part of a music or sports tour.

For this year’s National Anti-Poverty Week (15 – 27 October) Commissioner Connolly is focusing in on the impact that missing out on school camps, field trips and excursions has on children and young people. She argues that because of the benefits we know these interactive learning experiences offer students, we should ensure that all students can participate in them.

Read the full media release here:
 2023.10.17 – MR – APW_Commissioner_calls_on_government_to_invest_in_school_ excursions_to_support_SA_students_doing_it_tough

Read the CCYP’s full 2023 Anti-Poverty Week Statement here:
202310 Anti-Poverty Week Statement FINAL

South Australian students call for comprehensive mental health support on World Mental Health Day

This World Mental Health Day, members of the South Australian Student Representative Council (SA SRC) are calling on the South Australian Government to remove barriers for high school students to access pools, gyms, leisure centres and fitness classes to support their mental wellbeing. 

The call comes as part of the SA SRC’s Fitness for Free campaign, which aims for a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to dealing with stress and promoting healthy school-life balance. There is strong research to demonstrate the link between physical activity, social interaction and good mental health. For many young people, the cost of regularly attending facilities such as pools, gyms and fitness classes is prohibitive. 

Read the full release: 2023-10-09 – MR_ Free Fitness for Students on WMHD_FINAL
Sign the Petition: Fitness for Free Petition:

Is SA’s mental health care system ‘fit for purpose’ asks Commissioner?

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Commissioner Helen Connolly, is calling on the government to position mental health care within a rights-based framework that has relevance and usefulness to the lives of children and young people living in the 21st century.

She has today released Missing Voices – mental health as described by primary school children; a booklet containing 48 quotes that show there can be no doubt some primary school aged children across our communities are facing mental health challenges with which they need our help. The Missing Voices booklet is complemented by the Commissioner’s latest Issues Brief: Developing a ‘fit for purpose’ mental health care system for 21st century children and young people

The Commissioner’s aim is to ask the question of government and the community as to whether South Australia’s current mental health care system meets the needs of children and young people. With issues including lack of affordability, long wait lists, and services that children and young people say are not culturally safe, gender and identity-affirming, or trauma-informed, the Commissioner is not convinced it is.

Read Full Media Release:  2023-010-06 – MR_CCYP_Is_SAs_mental_health_services-system_fit_for_purpose_FINAL

Download Missing Voices – mental health as described by primary school children
Download Issues Brief: Developing a ‘fit for purpose’ mental health care system for 21st century children and young people

Safe and Sound – How children and young people view and use public transport

The South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, has released her report Safe and Sound – views and experiences of young people on public transport. In 2022, the Commissioner surveyed over 1,000 young South Australians aged 13-20 years about their thoughts relating to public transport services, and the report is formed from their responses.

Children and young people are reliant on others to get to anywhere they can’t walk or cycle to. This makes access to public transport extremely important to young people across metropolitan, suburban and regional South Australia.

When transport is lacking, unreliable, unsafe, or unaffordable, it has a disproportionate impact on the quality of children and young people’s lives, including their ability to maintain education, employment, family connections and friendships. There are strong links between children and young people’s mobility and their overall social inclusion and wellbeing.

In the report, the Commissioner makes several recommendations based on the things young people said — primarily in relation to issues around affordability, safety and accessibility. A key recommendation is providing free transport to students already identified as being part of low income families and therefore in receipt of a Student Card. In addition to the cost of transport, the report identifies perceptions of safety waiting for and while on public transport as unfairly impacting young women, LGBTQIA+ people, and those with disability, limiting their mobility and independence.

“Transport is central to how young people experience their community and affects almost every aspect of their lives. Young people’s access to a full range of reliable, consistent and integrated transport options is not just a ‘nice to have’ – it is an essential component of their full participation in society as active and engaged citizens.”
Commissioner Helen Connolly

Download the PDF of the report here.

Statewide Civics & Citizenship online resource portal launched

The Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly has launched a new online platform to serve as a one-stop resource for all things Civics and Citizenship in South Australia. One of the things children and young people have repeatedly told her is that they care deeply about many current issues but cant find a way to express their concerns or have their views and opinions taken seriously by adults. They wanted to participate in decision making but couldn’t see how this could be achieved.

The new site has been developed in consultation with like-minded organsiations who over the past few years have collaborated with Commissioner Connolly on a range of initiatives designed to foster Civics and Citizenship engagement amongst young people. These initiatives include Democracy in Action, Policy Advocates, Citizen Researchers, yChange for Schools, SA SRC, Civics and Citizenship Professional Seminars for SA Teachers, and Civics in the City Grants Program.

“Children and young people have repeatedly told me that they want to understand the systems that govern them and how to engage in the decisions that affect them, that is why civics education is so important.”    

                                                                                                                                                                    Commissioner Helen Connolly

The new website provides curated listings of civics opportunities, awards, historical sites and tours, civics education resources and youth voice resources. For those seeking a deeper dive into the civics offerings available in South Australia, the website’s Civics Directory allows site visitors including students, educators and interested others, to browse over 230 entries relating to Civics and Citizenship across a range of locations, themes and target audiences, with links direct to the organisations behind each resource or listing. The directory will continue to be updated as time goes by, with visitors to the site encouraged to make contact with the Commissioner’s office and make staff aware of any entries they believe could or should be included.

The Civics and Citizenship website aims to support, encourage and enable young people’s engagement and participation in society, by providing resources that foster a greater understanding of the systems and processes that impact children and young people in Australia’s democracy.

The website is also home to the Commissioner’s Youth Engagement Toolbox – a series of resources for schools and community groups to follow when engaging with and consulting children and young people.

In her recent issues brief ‘Barriers to Civic Participation’, the Commissioner identifies narrow advertising in calls for young people’s involvement in decision-making as a major issue, which this new platforms hopes to also help address.

Visit today.

Supporters and collaborators include:

Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, Parliamentary Education Office (Cth), Parliament of South Australia, History Trust of South Australia, The Centre of Democracy, Adelaide Holocaust Museum, Legal Services Commission SA, YMCA Youth Parliament SA, Green Adelaide, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Children’s University Australasia, Association of Independent Schools South Australia, Humanities and Socials Sciences SA, and Generation Citizen.

Best Interests – The experiences of children and young people within the child protection system

South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, has launched her report Best Interests – Listening to children and young people’s experiences within the child protection system. The report highlights the importance of children’s interests, their connection with family, and their engagement in education. Most of all, it calls on child protection systems to see children as experts in their own lives who must be central to decisions made about them.

The report is made up of information and quotes gathered directly from 88 children and young people aged between 4 and 25 who had varied experiences across a variety of care settings in South Australia. In addition to this, a further 40 responses from children and young people living in foster, kinship, or residential care were received by the Commissioner via specially-designed postcards asking about participants’ wishes, securities, worries and what they’d change to make their lives better.

The report states that many children spoke of feelings of powerlessness and a lack of understanding about their current and future circumstances.

As a result of the responses from children and young people, the Commissioner has made a series of recommendations including the child protection system recognise the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child ‘best interests’ principle as the primary consideration when making decisions regarding children and young people in care.

“If we are to start decreasing the numbers of children in out of home care in South Australia, we must change the system we have been using. It’s not working for children or their families. The data and the feedback from children and young people is clear on this.”
Commissioner Helen Connolly.

Download the PDF of the report here.

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