Tackling Indigenous family violence

June 22, 2016

idigenous family violence

In March 2015, then-prime minister Tony Abbott acknowledged that domestic violence was a “tragic and deadly epidemic” affecting the entire nation. This sentiment might be new to some in the broader population, but it resonates more with the Indigenous communities that have been enduring family violence crises for at least two decades.

Many communities have significant histories of intergenerational trauma. It is a result of the policies and practices of colonisation, and the substantial disparities in Indigenous health outcomes. All of these factors contribute to family violence as discussed by

Successive state and federal governments have failed to adequately address or reduce the violence in Indigenous communities. This is despite numerous government reports, both Indigenous-specific and mainstream-focused, that have provided evidence-based insight and recommendations as discussed by The Conversation.

In September 2015, the Coalition government provided A$100 million in new funding to tackle domestic violence over three years. A further $100 million over three years was also allocated in the 2016-17 federal budget.

Information has come to light in recent weeks that these funds include $30 million to frontline legal assistance providers for victims of family and domestic violence and $25 million for improved provision of domestic violence support services. The latter includes developing an Indigenous workforce in the sector.

Of the funding committed to domestic violence to date, $46 million is directed toward specific measures to help Indigenous women and communities. A significant proportion of these measures are focused entirely on remote communities, and aim to reduce re-offending by Indigenous perpetrators by increasing police responses.

The limited scope of this investment fails to acknowledge that family violence equally occurs in urban and regional environments. The majority of Australia’s Indigenous population reside in the latter.

There is also a false assumption in the current approaches that Indigenous community members experiencing violence in urban and regional areas can access mainstream services. In a limited sense they can, but they are often discouraged by the lack of cultural safety in such services. To read more click here.

Family violence will be a topic of discussion at The 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference; Providing the Skills for Change to be held on 5 – 7 December at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane.

With an improved focus and awareness on the effect of Domestic and Family Violence within Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association is providing a national unified platform to discuss the strain of Domestic Violence on Australian resources and facilities. Registrations are now open. To register for the Conference CLICK HERE.

With a focus on building skills within the sector, the conference will include discussion and presentations around policy, research and practice with a particular emphasis on innovative and emerging responses.

Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE.

Research has demonstrated that domestic violence is a global issue of epidemic proportions (WHO, 2013) and affects all cultures, ages, genders and socio-economic groups. Domestic violence does not discriminate.

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