Innovative online tool to support those experiencing domestic violence

Studies have shown that those of a Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background experience family violence at higher rates than non-Indigenous populations. Indigenous Australians are less likely however to report incidents to police or other authorities (Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia, 2018)

Thanks to your donations, a $29,800 grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation is enabling the Centre of Research Excellence for Safer Families at the University of Melbourne to develop, publish and launch a co-designed, community-owned Indigenous family violence online resource to increase help seeking, risk assessment and safety planning by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our region.

What is different about this tool? It’s co-designed and community owned. The project is enabling Wadawurrung people to express their needs regarding family violence support; it is giving them a voice and ensuring they are involved in designing a resource that is meant for their use. Interviews and focus groups have been taking place with Indigenous peoples of both genders.

Through the process shame, fear of child removal and culturally unsafe service provision are just some of barriers that were identified that would deter people from seeking assistance from existing resources. As one woman stressed, “A lot of my family and friends would be frightened that their children would be taken away; so they won’t speak up for those reasons.” The purpose of the online resource is to remove some of these barriers to getting help.

Soon to be available on computers and phones in late 2019, The Wadawurrung Project is currently conducting focus groups so that community members can ensure their recommendations have been included in the resource.

Artwork title: A Journey Forward
Artwork description: The above artwork is a representation of family violence in the past, the present, the future. As interpreted by the Wathaurong people, the results of the interview process has informed this design by artist Ammie Howell.