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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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RESEARCH REPORT

Improving family violence legal and support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

This research identifies priorities for reducing and preventing violence against, and improving services for, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the Victorian and New South Wales towns of Mildura and Albury–Wodonga.

The study contributes to the evidence base on best quality practices to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and services in meeting the needs of women and their children experiencing family violence. This report also describes aspects of the frontline family violence workforce and services, both Aboriginal and non-Indigenous, in order to obtain an understanding of their capability to improve the safety of women and children experiencing violence. Reducing the levels of family violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in Mildura and Albury–Wodonga is a priority for the Victorian and New South Wales governments as well as the Aboriginal leaders and the service providers in these areas.

The study, undertaken at two fieldwork sites (Mildura and Albury–Wodonga) visited a number of times from October 2018 to November 2019, included 97 participants, including Aboriginal victims and service providers, across 27 individual interviews and 22 focus groups. The interviews built a deeper understanding of the magnitude of violence experienced by women, and the service supports that exist for women who want to leave violent situations, but face barriers in doing so.

The research found that systemic barriers that disempower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing violence from reporting violence include a fear of child removal, the threat of homelessness, and the fear of isolation from family and community. The report indicates to overcome barriers to help-seeking, services must be available, acceptable and accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing violence. It also found that the cross-border contexts of Mildura and Albury–Wodonga can provide opportunity for perpetrators of violence to weaponise the system via unique forms of systems abuse.

The report includes recommendations for policy and practice.

 

 

Publication details

This work is part of the ANROWS Research reports series. ANROWS Research reports are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.


Authors

PROFESSOR MARCIA LANGTON
Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

DR KRISTEN SMITH
Senior Research Fellow, Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

TAHLIA EASTMAN
Research Fellow, Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

DR LILY O’NEILL
Research Fellow, Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

EMILY CHEESMAN
Research Fellow, Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

DR MERIBAH ROSE
Research Fellow, Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

 


 

ISBN: 978-1-925925-57-9 (print) | 978-1-925925-58-6 (online)

140 pp.

 

Suggested citation

Langton, M., Smith, K., Eastman, T., O’Neill, L., Cheesman, E., & Rose, M. (2020). Improving family violence legal and support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (Research report, 25/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.

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