"We don't shoot our wounded?" : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victims of Family Violence Access to Justice and Access to Services in the ACT


In Canberra, members of the Indigenous population are five times more likely to be affected by family violence than the non-Indigenous population. The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of family violence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims, and their access to justice and to services in the Australian Capital Territory. The project was undertaken in two parts. The aims of the first stage were to: provide a statistical snapshot of Indigenous victims of crime within the ACT criminal justice system over a specific period of time; investigate the circumstances to and support of Indigenous victims of crime seeking help from the criminal justice system; and provide an overview of research and other relevant information undertaken in the ACT and elsewhere in Australia on Indigenous victims of crime. For the second part of the project, 15 Aboriginal women who had been victims of violence were interviewed about their experiences of family violence and the criminal and justice systems in the ACT, and although statistical information from all 15 interviews is contained in the report, only 11 of the actual interviews are presented. The findings from the interviews have been written in the report to reflect the individual person’s experience of violence across their lifetime (where appropriate) and to focus specifically on their most recent experiences of violence in their homes. Particular emphasis is on individual help-seeking strategies of the Aboriginal victims of family violence in the ACT, and the motivations, objectives, dilemmas and experiences of victims with their help-seeking.

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