Why We Need a National Forum          

Violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women devastates communities and destroys families. In comparison with other women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised from family violence and 10 times more likely to be killed as a result of violent assault. 

Family violence has significant, far-reaching and multiple impacts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – especially women and children. Through our casework with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victim/survivors, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLSs) see the multi-generational impacts of family violence on a daily basis, especially the intrinsic link between family violence and child protection.

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Gaps in our services

The National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum works in collaboration across Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLSs) to provide legal and non-legal supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victim/survivors of family violence. As it stands, there are significant gaps in the provision of services provided by FVPLSs that limit access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victim/survivors of family violence.

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For more information on the Forum and the work undertaken by FVPLSs, see What We Do.

Key Recommendations

The Forum has developed a set of Key Recommendations to address this national crisis of family violence in our communities. Central to these recommendations is the acknowledgment that reducing and eliminating family violence can only be achieved with genuine commitment to an evidence-based and integrated government approach. This must be undertaken in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations.

The Forum calls on the Commonwealth Government to lead the development of a national strategic response to address violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Clear and unambiguous commitment and leadership from the Commonwealth Government is required.

This strategic response should align with, and be complementary to, the development of the Third Action Plan for the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children.

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A national strategic response

The Forum believes that a national strategic response should incorporate the following key initiatives:

  • Development of an ongoing joint government and stakeholder mechanism to provide advice and expertise to government in addressing violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially women and children;

  • Reinstatement of a reinvigorated, stand-alone National Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Program;

  • Long-term and secure funding of FVPLSs to adequately address the level of need;

  • Specific priority areas for policy development include:

    • Addressing barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women accessing family violence services; and

    • Addressing the nexus between being a victim/survivor of family violence and incarceration rates, child protection and the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children;

    • Development of justice targets in partnership with Aboriginal community controlled organisations, with such targets aimed at reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons’ interaction with the justice system and family violence rates; and

    • Development of a national data body on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family violence and incarceration rates.

For a full overview of the Forum’s Key Recommendations, please see the National Forum's Strategic Response under the National Forum Publications.

 

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