Indigenous expert group will guide a healing response to First Nations child abuse

Indigenous expert group will guide a healing response to First Nations child abuse

by Freya Lucas

November 01, 2021

An independent First Nations expert group has been formed to co-design a new program to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child sexual abuse survivors and their families, as part of the Australian Government’s National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse (2021-2030) which was released last week.

 

Supporting Healing for Families is one of two distinct initiatives in the National Strategy focused on Indigenous Australians, and will support place-based, Indigenous-led healing approaches to strengthen families and improve wellbeing.

 

The Healing Foundation’s  CEO Fiona Cornforth and Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, will co-chair the Indigenous Expert Group guiding the implementation of Supporting Healing for Families.

 

A second initiative will deliver a suite of trauma-aware, healing-informed and culturally appropriate resources to frontline health workers so the needs of Indigenous Australians seeking help are better tailored for, both in person and via telehealth conversations. 

 

Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP said both initiatives will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive the healing-informed care they need.

 

“Child sexual abuse is a heinous crime and has far-reaching impacts on individuals, families and communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

 

“We know from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that experiences of racism and discrimination, and a lack of cultural safety, are key barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims and survivors disclosing abuse and seeking support.”

 

‘‘This is why the specific needs of Indigenous Australians, including connections to culture, country and language, have been a key part of the development of this National Strategy.”

 

Five communities and corresponding service providers have been selected to trial new approaches. Experts from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia will complete the expert group.

 

“The Healing Foundation is pleased to experience Government working in a new way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities that includes us from the very beginning of program design and implementation,” Ms Crawford said. 

 

In drafting the National Strategy, the National Office for Child Safety met with and listened to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors, stakeholders and child protection experts.

 

“Their experiences have been embedded throughout all measures,” the Minister continued.

 

“Our hope is these initiatives will reduce racism and discrimination and improve cultural safety, so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors are supported to disclose abuse and seek support.”

 

For more information, visit: the National Office for Child Safety website.

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