Family violence prevention programs in Indigenous communities


Research in Australia as in other colonised societies has linked a collapse of traditional Indigenous institutions and roles to contemporary patterns of destructive behaviour, such as heavy alcohol consumption by a minority of Indigenous men and women. This in turn, is frequently associated with incidents of extreme interpersonal and intrapersonal violence and self-harm (Chandler & Lalonde 1998; Radford et al. 1991).

Family violence therefore can be seen as both a cause and effect of social disadvantage and intergenerational trauma. Family violence prevention encompasses a wide range of strategies intended to: shift attitudes and social norms that support violence; challenge unjust power relationships that sustain violence; address the social conditions associated with violence; and promote non-violent norms. Effective programs can help to reduce and prevent family violence in Indigenous communities.

This resource sheet examines the extent of the problem, and explores some programs that have been trialled in Indigenous communities to reduce family violence. It also examines non-Indigenous-specific Australian and international programs. It identifies practice principles that contribute to the successful implementation of policies, and the methodological rigour of program evaluations.

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