Service system responses and culturally designed practice frameworks to address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children exposed to domestic and family violence
One of the major underlying causes of contact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people with the child protection and youth justice systems in Queensland is the impact of DFV in their lives. This research project generated new, community-led knowledge about the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who experience DFV and come to the attention of child protection systems and how to provide effective child focused service and system responses.
As a result of this project, two new research reports and one practice framework have been published. The first, ‘New Ways for Our Families’ contains a literature review that reflects the current state of knowledge, confirming that the experience of DFV in childhood is resulting in negative outcomes for First Nations children that are carried into adulthood. It also found that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Islander children who come to the attention of child protection systems due to DFV are generally absent. Further, current system responses fail to keep children emotionally and culturally safe, and instead cause further harm.
The second report, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ further unpacks the harms caused by systems and presentsd the findings from a series of action research cycles conducted with community members, practitioners, other stakeholders including people with lived experience. Key recommendations from this research include the need for significant system wide changes for policy and practice that elevate the voices of First Nations communities including reframing child protection systems to be child and family wellbeing focused and ensure effective resourcing is provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to receive support.
The practice framework presents a child centred, trauma informed, strengths and evidence-based approach to provide guidance to practitioners and policy makers to holistically respond to First Nations children’s experiences of DFV and thereby increase safety for them and their communities. The research was locally based and culturally safe, engaging community-based researchers across eight Queensland FWS locations in regional and remote locations.
The research identifies the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who experience DFV and who intersect with child protection systems, and outlines effective service responses using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and wisdom.
Researchers utilised an action research methodology and recruited and supported local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-based researchers to engage stakeholders, community leaders, children and families to understand the nature, experiences and impacts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander childhood exposure to DFV.
Action research meetings identified critical elements of success, challenges and barriers, and cultural wisdom that has enabled effective strategies to be developed and address DFV for children and families.
A practice framework for prevention and early intervention was developed for use by Aboriginal Controlled Organisations, other service providers and policy makers to support children to be safe, physically, culturally and spiritually.
Using existing networks within the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) and the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), the team will disseminate findings and resources across service systems.
Garth Morgan, CEO, QATSICPP
Candice Butler, Director, Innovation and Practice Development, QATSICPP
Jenny Parsons, Project Officer, QATSICPP
Eliza Miller, Project Officer, QATSICPP
Reno French, Project Officer, QATSICPP
Lisa Hillan, Director, Policy Research Evaluation, QATSICPP
Professor Darryl Higgins, Director, Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS), Australian Catholic University
Alex Cahill, Research Officer, ICPS, Australian Catholic University
Seb Trew, Research Officer, ICPS, Australian Catholic University
New Ways for Our Families: Designing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practice framework and system responses to address the impacts of domestic and family violence on children and young peopleDownload
You can’t pour from an empty cup: Strengthening our service and systems responses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who experience domestic and family violenceView more
Healing our children and young people: A framework to address the impacts of domestic and family violenceView more
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