This report presents the findings from the first phase of an ongoing research project titled Intergenerational Perspectives on the Criminalization of Young People from the South Sudanese Community in Victoria (2017–19). The study is a collaboration between the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and researchers from both the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC) at Monash University and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.
The report explores young South Sudanese Australians’ perceptions of how they have been impacted by ongoing media coverage of ‘Apex’ and ‘African gangs’ since the 2016 Moomba ‘riot’. The study was prompted by concerns about a noticeable increase in racialised crime reporting that became an enduring fixture of the local media in Victoria following the disorder at Moomba and the subsequent suggestion by some journalists and politicians that there is an ‘African gang’ presence in Melbourne. Community leaders, senior police officers, progressive journalists and academics have repeatedly voiced their concern about these narratives, yet rarely have the voices of the young people from the South Sudanese community themselves featured prominently in this discussion. Accordingly, the aim of phase 1 of this research was to amplify the voices of young South Sudanese Australians who have been the subject of much of this media coverage.