From early 2017, No to Violence has increased its engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and mainstream organisations delivering programs for Aboriginal men. Closer relationships have been forged with several organisations which has not only provided greater insight into the challenges faced by Aboriginal organisations in delivering programs to men, but has also enabled No to Violence to increase its cultural awareness across the organisation and improve its advocacy for members working with Aboriginal men and their families. In the twelve months leading up to June 2017, No to Violence visited with the following Aboriginal organisations:
- Dardi Munwurro
- Aboriginal Centre for Males, Referral Service (Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd)
- Men’s Unit, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (Preston)
- Rumbalara (Shepparton)
- Mallee and Districts Aboriginal Corporation (Mildura)
- Greater East Gippsland Aboriginal Corporation (Bairnsdale)
- Yoowinna Wurnalung Healing Service (Lakes Entrance)
No to Violence staff participated in a series of cultural competency workshops. This laid a foundation to work more effectively with their Aboriginal clients, colleagues and members, as well as gain an improved understanding of Aboriginal people and the issues they face today.
No to Violence also commissioned a literature review on Aboriginal men’s behaviour change programs and other programs aimed at addressing violent and other harmful behaviours practiced by Aboriginal men. These programs range from those delivered in prisons and post-release; working with young men and boys; improving their fathering skills; and, programs for Aboriginal men who simply want to become better men. The common thread in all men’s programs run by Aboriginal organisations is a focus on strengthening culture and identity. The philosophy of most Aboriginal programs No to Violence has engaged with is that by strongly embedding programs with Aboriginal cultural knowledge men can gain insight into their harmful behaviours.
In addition to this, some programs are trauma-informed which acknowledges the man’s violent behaviour as a manifestation of historical and social impacts that need addressing as well as the presenting behaviour. There is a lot of positive work being done in Aboriginal communities using these approaches.
Working with Aboriginal Men and Family Violence Conference – Adelaide 7&8 December 2017
No to Violence commissioned research in 2016 to find out what was happening in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in relation to working with male perpetrators of family violence. The research revealed that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities had established a range of men’s groups with a focus on addressing family violence and other harmful behaviours.
No to Violence partnered with KWY, an Adelaide based Aboriginal family violence service, to co-host the Working with Aboriginal Men and Family Violence conference as a means to showcasing the work being done with men in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The program for the conference was developed to demonstrate the diversity of work being done in communities, as well as present relevant research being undertaken by Aboriginal researchers. The program also presented a diversity of men’s and women’s voices, as well as a geographical diversity with speakers from Cape York, Broome, Alice Springs, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney representing their communities.
No to Violence looks forward to continuing to build robust and productive relationships with Aboriginal communities to strengthen positive outcomes for Aboriginal men, their partners, and their families.