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

Project Summary

This project will identify aspects of traditional law and culture that can be amplified to promote the safety of women and children.

The study will be undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place-based programs in six sites: the Kimberley (two sites) and the Pilbara in Western Australia, the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory, Thursday Island in the Torres Strait and Cape York in Far North Queensland. These sites have been identified as communities where law and culture remain “strong”,  that is, where there are unbroken continuities in law, spoken language and ceremony and initiation, and where cultural ‘bosses’ remain central to defining social norms and acceptable forms of behaviour.

Through yarning methodologies and community-led discussions, the project will explore the ways in which traditional law and culture promote social order and aid in conflict resolution, punishment and rehabilitation.

The study will promote greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community ownership and control of initiatives supporting community safety, and will make a crucial contribution to the theory of how “place” can be harnessed in initiatives to reduce violence. 

Principal Chief Investigator

Professor Harry Blagg, University of Western Australia

Chief Investigator

Dr Tamara Tulich, University of Western Australia

Senior Cultural Advisor

Professor Victoria Hovane, Australian National University

Research Team

Mr Thomas Worrigal

Ms. Suzanne May, University of Western Australia

Research Partners

The study will be undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place-based programs in six sites: the Kimberley (two sites) and the Pilbara in Western Australia, the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory, Thursday Island in the Torres Strait and Cape York in Far North Queensland.

Estimated End Date

15 February 2020

Project Length

One year and five months. 

Budget

$284,836.80