Over the past month, I’ve been passing round a Justice and Peace Youth Survey to take a snapshot of J&P interest and action, as well as helping shape our activity going forward.
(The curious and mathematical can download the data spreadsheet here).
Though the survey was not scientifically sampled, I shared the survey as widely as possible and I feel as if I have achieved a meaningful variety of groups and interests, and a sample just large enough to highlight some interesting distinctions. I also edited the questions and answers slightly after an initial “pilot”. Most of the answers were similarly based on direct feedback we had received prior to the survey.
We collected 60 responses, about half of which identified themselves as “living in London”. 48% of the responses were from young people, another 21% were from lay chaplains and teachers, and another 14% from clergy and religious. The remaining few came from other interested parties in the Westminster Diocese and beyond.
The survey asked which of five groups of issues were “the most important for Justice and Peace, right now”. There was no broad consensus for one group over another, however, a meaningful plurality chose “Poverty, Homelessness, Employment, and Income Inequality” (32%). “Migrants, Refugees, and Movement of Peoples” was in second place with 23%, “Life issues such as Abortion, Euthanasia, and the Death Penalty” third with 20%, while the remaining groups, “Climate Change and the Environment” and “Armed Conflict, Political War, and the Arms Trade” gained 13% and 12% support, respectively.
There were at least 7 votes for each group of issues, which suggests that all of these remain important areas for Justice and Peace activity.
But there were some significant regional and demographic differences. University Students and Young Professionals were more inclined to choose “Life issues” than other groups, including other subgroups of young people. Moreover, all but two of the London respondents (93%) chose issues other than “Life issues”. By contrast, respondents from outside London chose “Life issues” over the other groups of issues with a plurality of one third, making it the most selected issue outside London and the least selected issue within London.
Respondents were then asked how they would rate their interest Justice and Peace on a scale of one to five. Interest was very high in all demographic and regional groups, with an overall mean of 4.2 / 5.0.
Next, they were asked where they had experience of J&P action (if any) and what kind.
Respondents generally had a wide variety of experience with J&P action. An overwhelming majority – 79% – said they “talk about it with friends and family”. Exactly half the respondents reported Volunteering, and this rose to 62% among young people.
Experience of social action work was slightly to moderately higher among London respondents. In particular, when asked if they had experience “through their local community”, 50% of London respondents reported this, compared to only 26% of non-London UK respondents. London respondents were also substantially more likely than other UK respondents to be involved in J&P through their school or university (57% vs 41%).
The next two questions gauged where respondents preferred to reflect on justice and peace, and how they felt justice and peace action was achieved. On the latter question, exactly half of the respondents, and 57% of London respondents, felt “Communication and Teamwork” was more vital than the other options. Respondents were also invited to supply their own answers to this question, which are included in the data linked above.
On the question regarding the best forum for J&P reflection (see chart below), respondents were more divided. Though a mild plurality (and a large majority of the Clergy and Religious respondents) preferred social media, this dropped somewhat among Young People (41% vs 45% overall) and in London (37% vs 52% elsewhere in the UK).
Perhaps because of the ease of transport, London respondents were much more likely to favour discussion groups, which was also the second most popular option overall.
Discussion groups also gained a thin plurality among Young People (48%, vs 41% who chose social media). There may be a variety of reasons for this preference, but it is worth noting that forums other than social media for young people to express their opinions on justice and peace appear to be in demand.
Aside from Discussion Groups and Social Media, the other options (Traditional Media, E-mail phone or text, and Work/Professional) attracted only 14% of respondents combined.
The final two questions asked what the respondents might expect from a Justice and Peace resource. The first of these asked whether the resource should primarily help them effect social change, raise awareness, or help them see issues in a Catholic context. Responses were fairly evenly divided overall, however both Young People and the Chaplains, Teachers, and Youth Workers group had a distinct preference for being guided to direct social action (38% and 58%, respectively).
The last question challenged the reader to imagine themselves as a “student leader” and ask themselves what kind of resource for schools would be most exciting for them. Again, the responses were evenly divided overall, though as in the question on J&P reflection, there was a plurality among young people for face-to-face interactions, with 38% of young respondents preferring “a pre-organised face-to-face meeting with others in my area”. There were no significant regional differences on these last two questions.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! If you’re interested in J&P Youth Work in the Westminster Diocese, please e-mail me to add yourself to my new mailing list.