This paper is a comprehensive review of published literature to present the current state of knowledge, practice and responses to violence against women in Australian Indigenous communities. It was guided by the following questions:
- What is known about violence against Indigenous women?
- How do Indigenous women and communities see and experience violence against women (including how do they define family violence)?
- What are the current responses (programs or approaches) to violence against women in Indigenous communities?
- What are the Indigenous viewpoints on what works and what is needed?
The review found that the cumulative nature of socio-economic disadvantage (such as personal, family and economic related stressors) and the lasting effects of colonisation are thought to be linked to violence against women in Indigenous communities. Any attempts to reduce violence in Indigenous communities requires a multi-faceted and holistic approach including efforts to improve the wider social, economic and health of Indigenous communities.
Much of the grey literature contained information about Indigenous viewpoints on “what works” to prevent violence against women. Approaches to dealing effectively with violence, and which are valued by Indigenous communities, include cultural based leadership and governance, and programs focused on preventing the transfer of intergenerational trauma.
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