The National Forum for Family Violence Prevention Legal Services

The National Forum for Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) was established in May 2012 and is the national peak body for community-controlled member organisations around Australia that provide legal and other holistic and culturally safe services to First Nations people who are experiencing or at risk of family violence – predominantly First Nations women and their children.

Rates of violence against First Nations women are 34 times higher than other women in Australia,
and up to 80 times in the worst areas of the country.

Three (3) in five (5) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have experienced physical or sexual violence.  First Nations women are also 34 times more likely to be hospitalized due to family violence than non-indigenous women and 11 times more likely to die due to assault (AIHW 2019 p.113).  Family violence is also the primary driver of First Nations children into out-of-home care, and 88% of Aboriginal children in care have experienced family violence.  Family violence has been associated various negative health impacts, including higher rates of miscarriage, pre-term birth and low birthweight, depression, anxiety, suicide and other long-term health consequences for women and children (AIHW 2019 p.115). 


The scale of the problem is much greater than this, however, because it is known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are less likely than other women to report family violence or to seek support because of judgment, discrimination, shame or fear. The safety and support of Indigenous women is the basis for the health and wellbeing of Indigenous children, so addressing family violence is a central priority in eliminating inter-generational disadvantage and discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.  

The National Forum works with its FVPLS members, communities, governments and other partners to raise awareness about family violence effecting First Nations people, and to advocate for culturally safe legal and other holistic responses to this issue.  The National Forum provides a unified voice for its FVPLS members in areas of national policy, planning and law reform, and being a member of the national Coalition of Peaks, the National Forum is committed to the national Closing the Gap targets, including:

Target 13: By 2031, the rate of all forms of family violence and abuse
against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children
is reduced at least by 50%, as progress towards zero.” 

The Australian Government recently agreed to support a National Safety Plan for First Nations women which will be the primary mechanism to implement Closing the Gap Target 13.  To be effective, it is essential that the Government commit further funding to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and First Nations frontline services and their peak representatives to genuinely participate in creating a National Plan that is evidence-based and self-determined.   Read more about this here.

The National Forum acknowledges and respects the traditional custodians whose lands we are fortunate to live and work on
and we pay our respects to all Elders past and present.


Follow the link to access the Members Only content.



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