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.

‘My mob is telling their story and it makes me feel good’: here’s what Aboriginal survivors of child sexual abuse told us they need

The Conversation, October 22, 2019 6.00am AEDT

There are an estimated 60,000 survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia. Based on the private sessions held as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 15% of survivors are Aboriginal. That suggests an estimated 9,000 Aboriginal survivors. This is likely an under estimation.

Not only do Aboriginal survivors experience the trauma of institutional child sexual abuse, if they were part of the Stolen Generations, they also experience the cultural trauma from being forcibly removed from family as children because they were Aboriginal. These children were denied connection to community, country, spirituality, language and culture.

This context and its impacts today, including ongoing disadvantage and systemic racism, needs to be understood in developing healing solutions for Aboriginal survivors.

Anchorage Statement: Indigenous Peoples and Viral Hepatitis

2nd World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Viral Hepatitis, August 2017

The Anchorage Statement is a statement on Indigenous Peoples and Viral Hepatitis, which was prepared by Indigenous peoples globally who attended the 2nd World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Viral Hepatitis held in Anchorage Alaska in August 2017.

The Anchorage Statement sets out the aspirations of Indigenous peoples globally in ensuring that they are not a population left behind in global efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis by the year 2030.  The statement is timely for Australia as the Commonwealth Government are embarking on the development of a new set of national strategies addressing viral hepatitis, HIV and STIs and the 5th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STI and BBV Strategy.  Those who have prepared the statement ask you consider the actions and principles embedded in the Anchorage Statement, and hope you or your organisation can contribute to the global efforts of elimination of viral hepatitis.

Feel free to post the Anchorage Statement to social media, websites and or discuss in staff meetings within your own organisation.

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