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Executive Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women

As per AIHW (2018), around 2,800 Australian women were admitted to the hospitals due to domestic violence. Family and domestic violence are two of the major social issue faced by the women of Australia. However, Indigenous women are more vulnerable to domestic violence as compared to the women of non-Indigenous Australia. It has been recorded that the women of Indigenous Australia are 2.5 times more susceptible to death due to domestic violence than non-Indigenous women (Klingspohn, 2017). All these facts represent that Australia is unable to control domestic violence against Indigenous women. Some of the factors that contribute to domestic violence in Indigenous Australia include social isolation, low socio-economic status, racism, poor educational, and employment opportunities. Although, Federal Government has various policies and laws to protect women against such social issues, but these policies and laws are not completely ineffective. This paper aims to recommend some of the measures that can help in protecting Indigenous women against domestic and family violence. This paper works as advocacy and discusses the importance of funding for policies and programs against domestic violence. It also discusses some new programs that can help the Federal Government in reducing the number of Indigenous women facing domestic violence.

Introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women

As per Lee (2017), the women of Indigenous Australia have a poor life expectancy and health conditions as compared to the women of non-Indigenous Australia. This is because of several factors, such as low opportunities, poor resources, low socioeconomic status, domestic violence, and many more. The number of Indigenous women that are hospitalized due to domestic violence is very high than the non-Indigenous women (Better Health, 2017). Moreover, Indigenous women find it more challenging to take legal justice for domestic violence because of racism, cultural differences, and social isolation (Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity, 2018). Australian Government has launched many policies and programs to reduce the domestic violence that is faced by many Indigenous women. However, these policies are not very effective in reducing the domestic violence faced by women of Aboriginal and torress strait islander. There is an urgent need to implement better policies and programs to improve the social status of Indigenous women. This study discusses some of the recommendations that can improve the policies against domestic violence and can reduce the population of Indigenous women suffering from domestic violence.

Recommendations on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women

Recommendation 1: Provide adequate funding to the already established programs, policies, and small organizations that protect Indigenous women against domestic violence.

Recommendation 2: Implementing a program to improve the socio-economic status of the women belonging to Indigenous Australia.

Terms of reference:

The following terms of references are used in this study:

Greater levels of research: To understand the major reasons for domestic violence faced by many Indigenous women, such as low socioeconomic status, racism, and health disorders.

Building on current strategies: Improving the programs that are already established and implementing new programs to protect a high population of Indigenous women from family and domestic violence.

Recommendation 1:

The Federal Government of Australia has launched several programs and policies to prevent domestic violence faced by Indigenous women of Australia. For example, "The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022" and "Aboriginal Women Against Violence Project" are some of the programs and projects that the Australian Government has implemented to prevent domestic violence (Australian Institute of Health And Welfare, 2018). All these programs require sufficient funding and support; for example, the National Community Crime Prevention Program provides funds to the Aboriginal Women Against Violence Project. However, most of the programs are not completely successful in reducing domestic violence against Indigenous women. One of the reasons is insufficient funding; the programs cannot be implemented appropriately due to lack of funding. The governmental funding does not contain the funds for evaluation and continuous monitoring of the implemented programs. This is the reason that the implementation of multiple programs and policies to prevent domestic violence against women is easy, but their evaluation is difficult. Lack of evaluation provides an unclear picture of the impact of the program on the targeted audience. The programs that are not effective during their evaluation can be modified to the achieved maximum success rate.

Moreover, there are various small organizations in Indigenous Australia that work to improve the social condition of women. They work to save women from domestic and family violence. For example, the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) works with other small organizations to improve the quality of life of Indigenous women(National Women Alliances, 2019). All these non-profit, small scale organizations require regular funding to work and achieve their goals. Some of them, such as AWAVA, get funds from the Australian Government, but not all of them get enough or regular funds. Thus, it is important that the Federal Government must make big regular and sufficient funds to the organizations that work for preventing domestic violence against women. Moreover, these organizations and programs must reach more and more number of Indigenous women to protect them from domestic violence.

The Australian Government can establish a new organization that works on providing enough funds to all the small organizations, programs, and policies working to protect Indigenous women against domestic violence. This recommendation will ensure that all the policies and programs aiming to reduce domestic violence against Indigenous women are more effective. Another benefit of this recommendation will be that more new organizations will take participation in protecting women against violence. Moreover, a small non-profit organization can be established by the Government in which the employees can be Indigenous men and women. This will help in spreading the idea of stopping domestic violence in the Indigenous areas, and the programs against domestic violence would be more successful in their approach.

Recommendation 2:

Another recommendation that can protect Indigenous women from domestic violence is implementing a program that can improve their socio-economic status in the World. As per (Hamdullahpur, 2017), low socioeconomic status is one of the reasons for poor health and inactivity of Indigenous people. It is also associated with domestic and family violence, substance abuse, and other common problems faced by Indigenous women. The females that have a low socio-economic status are at higher risks of domestic and adult violence than the women having high socioeconomic status (Hamdullahpur, Jacob & Gill 2017). Low socioeconomic status is due to low educational resources, low job opportunities, and racism. The women of Indigenous Australia do not get enough opportunities to become self-dependent; most of them are dependent on their families due to which they do not take any legal support against domestic violence. The Federal Government of Australia should implement a new program in which young women should be provided with more educational opportunities.

They must be taught more skills that can be used by them to become self-dependent. Moreover, education can help them in understanding the legal laws, already established programs, and organizations working against domestic violence. The people with low literacy and less educational opportunities are at greater risk of domestic violence (DVN, 2017). Thus, education can improve awareness about domestic violence among Indigenous women. Educated women with skills have better employment opportunities, and this reduces their chances of facing domestic violence. This will improve the socio-economic status of women of Indigenous Australia and will also reduce the risk of domestic violence. Indigenous women with high socioeconomic status are more capable of taking a right legal advice for protecting themselves from all kinds of family and domestic violence. Moreover, the Government should continuous and good funding for the monitoring and evaluation of these programs that will help them in saving more Indigenous women from domestic violence. In this way, a new program that improves the socio-economic status of Indigenous women can help in reducing domestic violence against Indigenous Australia.

Conclusion on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women

This paper concludes that Indigenous women are more vulnerable and prone to domestic violence than females of non-Indigenous Australia. The major causes of the prevalence of domestic violence in Indigenous areas are poor resources, low socio-economic status, racism, poor implementation of the programs and policies against domestic violence, and others. As a result, there is an urgent need for government interventions that can reduce domestic violence against Indigenous women. Although the Federal and other Government has launched various policies, programs, and organizations to prevent domestic violence but still a high population of Indigenous women suffers from domestic violence. A major reason for this is poor funding by the Government of Australia. The funding provided for the programs and policies against domestic violence is sufficient for their implementation but not for their monitoring and continuous evaluation.

Poor controlling and evaluation hamper the successful application of these programs and policies. As a result, the Government should invest more in organizations, programs, and policies that work against domestic violence. Moreover, the socio-economic status of women belonging to Indigenous Australia should be increased because women with low socioeconomic status are more vulnerable to domestic violence. This can be done by launching new programs and establishing a new organization that focuses on improving the socio-economic status of women belonging to Indigenous Australia by providing them education and employment opportunities.

References for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Family Violence and Indigenous communities. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/c0e5bdde-e9c4-4a1f-808e-256191835cde/ctgc-rs37.pdf.aspx?inline=true.

Australian Institute of Health And Welfare. (2018). Family violence prevention programs in

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/d1a8d479-a39a-48c1-bbe2-4b27c7a321e0/aihw-fdv-02.pdf.aspx?inline=true

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-in-australia-2018/contents/summary

Better Health. (2017). Family violence and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Family-violence-and-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-women

DVN. (2017). Education and Domestic Violence. Retrieved from https://dvnconnect.org/impact/community-wide-plan/education-domestic-violence/

Hamdullahpur, K., Jacob, J. K. & Gill, K. K.(2017). A comparison of socioeconomic status and mental health among inner-city Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 76(1), n.d. doi: 10.1080/22423982.2017.1340693

Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity. (2018). Barriers to Access to Justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women. Retrieved from https://jccd.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Aboriginal-Torres-Strait-Islander-Women-FACTSHEET.pdf

Klingsphon, M. D. (2018). The Importance of Culture in Addressing Domestic Violence for First Nation's Women. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(n.d.). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00872

Lee, S. V. (2017). Political determinants and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: don’t leave your integrity at the political gate. Journal of Public Health Policy, 38(n.d.)387-393. doi: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41271-017-0075-y

National Women Alliances. (2019). Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA). Retrieved from https://nationalwomensalliances.org.au/australian-women-against-violence-alliance-awava/?doing_wp_cron=1590764970.1549611091613769531250

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