Understanding the role of law and culture in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence

ANROWS, 2020

Family violence within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities attracts considerable attention in policy, research and practice.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have advocated for community-led approaches to family violence that are culturally safe, involve Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander justice models and recognise Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture.

This project used a strengths-based approach to explore the role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture plays in prevention, intervention and healing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family violence, and how this can be supported. The project was grounded in an understanding of family violence as shaped by the impacts of colonisation.

The research was undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place-based programs in six sites: the Kimberley (two sites) and the Pilbara (Western Australia), the Tiwi Islands and Darwin (Northern Territory), and Mornington Island (Queensland).

The final report emphasises the need for improved understandings within mainstream systems and services of the nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family obligations and interconnections, as well as acknowledgement of the link between violence and issues that stem from colonisation, such as alcohol misuse and intergenerational trauma. It recommends a greater focus on prevention, healing and diversions from the criminal legal system; the involvement of both men and women in the design and implementation of local family violence strategies; and interventions that worked at the family, rather than individual, level.

The Aboriginal Gender Study

Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, 2019

Partnering with the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, the Aboriginal Gender Study aimed to explore, from a strengths-based perspective, the diversity of contemporary perspectives of gender, gender roles and gender equity in South Australian Aboriginal communities.

The project addressed three overall questions comprising:

1. What is the current evidence about gender roles and gender equity in the Australian
literature and Australian policy documents regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people?

2. What is the current understanding of gender roles and relationships in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

3. What might gender equity/fairness look like for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, adults, families and communities?

For findings and recommendations, please see report:

 

‘Changing the picture’ of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Our Watch, July 18th 2018

Our Watch has today launched a resource aimed at tackling the horrific prevalence of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Changing the picture contains a set of clear actions that are needed to address the many drivers of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and is aimed at encouraging, guiding and supporting a national effort to prevent this violence.

Download report:

Report Changing the picture
Six-page executive summary
Background paper

Read more of article:

‘Changing the picture’ of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

 

We won’t close the gap if we put an ‘Indigenous spin’ on western approaches

The Guardian, Thursday 16 March 2017

Good health isn’t simply determined by provision of or access to medical and allied health services. It is influenced by a range of factors impacting on human lives on a day-to-day basis including income, education, conditions of employment, power and social support – the social determinants of health.

While the social determinants of health take on a critical role in trying to close the gap, in Australia we continue to try and respond to the Indigenous health crisis by putting an “Indigenous spin” on western approaches. We must change this around. It has to be solutions that are developed, designed and supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves, for their own communities. If not we will not close the gap.

Read more here