On Saturday 16th March around 400 guests joined Jesuit Social Services for our Annual Dinner, held in the Members Dining Room at the MCG.

Liana Buchanan delivering the annual Frank Costigan QC address at the Jesuit Social Services Annual Dinner

Victoria’s Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan delivered the annual Frank Costigan QC Address, calling on community organisations to advocate more forcefully for the rights of young people.

“I see strong advocacy on a range of issues from a range of groups – all entirely needed, justified and warranted. However I am surprised by the relative dearth of advocacy for children and young people,” she said.

“I think there’s a lot of reasons for this. For non-Government organisations, funding models can mitigate against organisations feeling they have the capacity or a mandate to undertake an advocacy function.

“I have the strong view about the role of non-Government organisations and systemic advocacy. I think non-Government organisations providing services to people who experience disadvantage, and not using that information to try to change what causes their situations, are only doing half the job.

“I applaud Jesuit Social Services for stepping up, speaking out and trying to influence the systems. This preparedness to advocate is rarer than it should be and vitally important.”

Our CEO Julie Edwards spoke about the impact of our policy and advocacy work including our Dropping off the Edge research into locational disadvantage, conducted over 20 years, and a recent report into the use of isolation on young adults in the prison system.

Julie also highlighted how our advocacy allows us to share the stories and experiences of people we work with to lobby for evidence-based policies.

We were grateful to receive donations and pledges totalling just under $100,000 during the evening, which will be used to support our ongoing advocacy campaigns.

Thanks to all who attended our 2019 Annual Dinner and pledged their support for the work of Jesuit Social Services.