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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

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To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.


Study finds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture is key to preventing family violence
Posted in Media releases

Study finds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture is key to preventing family violence

Tuesday, 30th June 2020


A new report published by ANROWS highlights the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture in responding to and preventing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family violence.

The research project was led by Professor Harry Blagg from the University of Western Australia in collaboration with a team of Aboriginal researchers.

The final report explores the strengths of Law and Culture and recommends a greater focus on prevention, healing and diversions from the criminal legal system.

Understanding the role of Law and Culture in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence highlights that policy and service responses are most effective when they acknowledge the link between violence and issues that stem from colonisation such as alcohol misuse and intergenerational trauma.

The report finds that while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture are features of everyday life in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the mainstream legal system and forms of governance undermine their practice.

“Aboriginal Law and Culture remain strong and resilient in many Aboriginal communities,” said Professor Blagg.

“Our research demonstrates that male and female Aboriginal Elders have a positive role to play in preventing family violence and resolving conflict. They are seeking a fresh partnership with the mainstream justice system in which their knowledge, leadership and pathways to healing are granted greater respect and prominence”.

The report recommends the involvement of both men and women in the design and implementation of local family violence strategies. It also stresses the importance of interventions that work at the family, rather than individual, level.

“What this research underlines is that policy and service responses are most effective when mainstream systems and services have a deeper understanding of the nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family obligations and interconnections,” said ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow.

Finalising ANROWS’s current research into perpetrator interventions

The publication of this and three other reports brings to a close ANROWS’s three-year Perpetrator Interventions Research Stream, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

This program of research has published the findings of 13 projects, in partnership with researchers from many of Australia’s prominent research institutions. The research has produced and shared important knowledge on effectively engaging men in behavior change programs, tailoring interventions for specific groups of men (such as young people, LGBTQ groups, men from refugee or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds), and improving collaborative practices.

“These projects show the diversity of work ANROWS has undertaken to hold men who use violence accountable and stop their violence,” said Dr Nancarrow.

“The insights provided by this research are crucial for those designing and funding services and for policy-makers who are ensuring our national strategies are focused and effective.”

For further information, contact Michele Robinson at ANROWS
on +61 0417 780 556 or email michele.robinson@anrows.org.au.


About ANROWS

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited (ANROWS) is a not-for-profit independent national research organisation.

ANROWS is an initiative of Australia’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022. ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

ANROWS is the only such research organisation in Australia.



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