Programs to improve interpersonal safety in Indigenous communities: evidence and issues


There is now a substantial amount of published literature describing the range of programs and interventions that have been implemented in an attempt to improve aspects of community safety. Only a small body of this work, however, has examined the outcomes of those programs delivered to Indigenous Australians or, indeed, the communities in which they live. This Issues paper provides an overview of those programs that were identified in a systematic search of relevant research databases. Although a wide range of programs have been described, the diversity of these programs – combined with the limited published data available that documents their outcomes – makes it difficult to articulate what constitutes effective practice in this area. It is concluded that an evidence-based approach to practice in this area is essential if the long-term aim of the Closing the Gap initiative is to be achieved. To generate this evidence, however, more attention is needed to develop evaluation methods that assess the impact of program activities on medium and longer term outcomes. In addition, information about program outcomes needs to be integrated with what is known about the mechanisms by which effective programs are delivered, as well as with knowledge about how they might be most effectively implemented in different communities (Author summary).

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