In Australian towns and cities, as in numerous modern societies today, many families grow up estranged and many boys grow up un- or under-fathered. One parent families (almost always mothers) make up a quarter of all families in Byron Shire. This is nearly 10% higher than the NSW state average of 15% (source ABS 2001 Census and Byron Shire Social Plan 2004).
Boys in these families are at great risk. We know that boys who have inadequate fathering are:
- 63% more at risk of suicide
- 85% more likely to have behavioural problems
- 71% more likely to drop out of school
- 70% more likely to end up in a juvenile state institution
They are more likely to join gangs, engage in illicit drug use and antisocial behaviour, irrespective of their socio-economic, religious, cultural or geographic area.
The Uncle Project strives to address some of these social problems before they impact on society. Uncle provides male mentors for boys without active fathers. By running regular activities for the boys, fundraising and adventure activities, the project reduces the isolation of mothers and boys. It also raises the profile of single parent issues in the community and promotes a model of responsible manhood amongst our local men and boys.