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Engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Introduction to Human Rights and Social Workers

Human rights and social workers can be related to each otherby two methods: social workers taking part in wider human rights movements as also the attaining of human rights by means of carrying out social work. By extending the idea of human rights to concentrate on the 'human', and by recognising the limitations of individualist liberal constructions of human rights, an argument is made in favour of human rights-based social work grounded in the humanities, in addition to recognition of certain significant probable contests which might arise for social work.

As regards the nation of Australia, social workers continue to remain active during movements surrounding pivotal human rights issues, some of the more indispensable ones being the continuing discrimination against the Aboriginals which causes them to suffer from disadvantages in employment, financial security and education. Pertaining to this issue, the role which was played by of welfare services to carry out the unwilling ejection of Aboriginal children out of their families, which went on until 1970, turned out to be a major instance of human rights harassment, causing intense repercussions for generations to come, within the Aboriginal population. This remains an undebatable accusation against the former generations of people who acted as social workers and partook in the said coerced ejections. However, the “Australian Association of Social Workers” went ahead and issued a public request for forgiveness for the monstrous role social workers had played in the past.

The treatment meted out to refugees and asylum seekers in the past 2 decades remains the focus of major disapproval both domestically as well as on a global scale. A majority of social workers here remain active with respect to the crusade vouching for refugee rights, in the role of either activists, or endorsers, while also remaining a part of many community movements which encounter oppressive legislative frameworks to enable the welcoming ofrefuge seekers into their community and ensure that they are equipped with necessary support services.These social workers were also a participantin the struggle for securing human rights in other areas of life such as safeguarding of children, rights of differently-abled persons, rights of persons suffering from mental health issues, etc. (Go, 2017).

Decolonisation & a Human Rights Framework

With the establishment of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the Human Rights Commission imbibed aconcern in the field ofcivil liberties as a pivot point to the international significance of social work, and in addition to descriptions of social work also included, on a general basis, reference to human rights. The field of human rights activism has seen numerous pioneers in the field of social work. This idea reverberated with a multitude of social workers, and human rights have remained a source for providing authoritative normative structure for carrying out social work action and human rights endorsement, as well as with regard to every day social work practice. It has, for innumerable individuals, taken side of the more modern fundamentals of the vocation, and continues to act as a carrier for people who desired for social work to be politically active to a greater extent and equally modernisedwhen dealing with the complications faced by the world. However, it would not be correct to presume human rights to be too deep-seated in this respect.

The notion of human rights is treasured across a wide array of ideological stands, to the extent that even fanatic neo-liberals prefer the invocation of human rights during the expression of their contentions in favour of their preferred variety of the freedom of expression, and freedom to earn unfathomable amounts of money while simultaneously exploiting others, despite it qualifying as a refutation of the rights of their fellow human beings and citizens. Human rights thus has the potential to become a means through which social workers can be cautiously progressive, calling on the pomposity of false-radicalism which is conservative to a fault in certain of its manifestations. Human rights has forever been the subject of criticism from both left and right wing politicians, from the feminists’ corner, as well asby both the post-colonialists, as well as the post modernists. These critiques must be considered in a most serious manner if the aim is to come up with a version of human rights which remains applicable to the more progressive social work (Ife, 2016).

Contemporary Challenges: The Criminalization of Indigenous People

Notions of race, sex and beliefs buttress the acts of pronouncing judgmentsand the subsequent subjecting to reprimand in modern-day Australia. These notions cause the being of an indigenous Aboriginal to be seen under an adverse image, where merely being a member of the Indigenous community exposes one to specific hindrances. An illustration of an instance where the ethnicity of the wrong doer during the passing of judgement was driven principally by the presence of presumed adverse features in the case of“R v Fernando (1992) 76 A Crim R 58 at 62–63”. Here, it was observed by the honourable court that “the problems of alcohol abuse and violence . . . to a very significant degree go hand in hand within Aboriginal communities”. The pervasive issues existing within Indigenous communities include lowly self-image, an absence of literacy and formal education along with employment opportunities which must be identified by a court during the trial. The observation, along with its elucidation in subsequent cases, founded a hierarchy of Aboriginality which only seemed more suitable when applied to the case of the native population dwelling inthe more remote regions. Fernando also cemented the presumption that for an Aboriginal with a meagre familiarity of the customs of his fellow Australians’ European customs, to serve prolonged periods of detention could feel unjustifiably cruel especially where the surroundings are foreign to the offender (Baldry, 2014).

Contemporary Challenges: Working with Families and Children

In the backdrop of the comparatively significant numbers of the younger Aboriginal population who remain in state care, along with the discovery of nearly 30 per cent of the said persons not being relocated per the “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle”, it becomes imperative to ensure contact between the young ones and their respective families and community for the fulfilment of their basic human rights, while simultaneously contributing to identity formation and generation of a lifetime of support. At present, nearly 300Aboriginal sunder 18 years were studied to reflection any links they may have to their traditional culture, while simultaneously detecting and suggesting mechanisms which expedite the cultural association. Results showed that over thirty a third of the sample population felt is connected from their culture, and merely 15per cent were aware of a cultural support plan, despite it being a requirement under the State Care Regulations.Based on the saidoutcomes, it was contended that the persons in charge of the younger Aboriginal populations stuck in State care need to up their efforts to cement their comprehension of the continuing significance of par taking in their culture and, subject to the consent of the said younger populace, make efforts to continue subsistence of that connection.

A major share of the spotlight has been pointed at early intercession programs which were framed with the intention of avoiding negligence and ill-treatment while also shrinking the occurrence of ejection of children from out of their families and being put under State-sponsored care homes. Apprehensive spectators have made the observation thatin case where the concentration of Aboriginal offspring and other share of their younger population in the aforementioned care goes on to surge at the ongoing frequency while the present guidelines on the same issue are maintained within the fields of child protection and juvenile justice, problems a kin to the issue of ‘Stolen Generations’ and similar issues will probably becontinued. Although no stone is being leftunturned for the declining of over-representation, support for those who are already members of the social machinery must not suffer in any set of circumstances(McDowall, 2016).

Trauma & Healing

Increasing instances of suicide among the Aboriginal population remains a sizeable challenge for the Australian government when it comes to ensuring its citizens’ well-being. Suicide, since the past 50 years,has continued to remain one of the foremost contributors to untimely and pre-mature mortality rates, as well as wedging itself between thegeneral well-being and life expectancy disparity among Aboriginal populations as compared to the European counterparts. 5 years ago, suicide claimed the fifth position as the chiefreasonfor death among the Aboriginal population, and whentaken based on age standardisation,the suicide rate was two times higherthan the non-native rate.

Two different justifications addressing the dominance of suicidal tendencies among the younger Aboriginal male population are provided through academic research. The first theory suggests that Aboriginal men are overexposed to, and simultaneously represented as beingsusceptible to the effects of aspects which provoke the activation of suicidal tendencies, such as alcoholism and exposure to events and incidences which might cause trauma.The second thesis suggests that the side demographic are a wider representation of the many disadvantageous discriminations they have to endure against while also bearing the weight of deeper, more alarming mental health concerns, such as the loss of their ethnic characteristics as well as the continuance of their traditional and cultural beliefs, which under normal circumstances would have instead acted as a preventive measure against suicide. However, although the pre-existence of suicidal tendencies has been established to be present in young males, the growing frequency of suicides and self-harming tendencies among young Aboriginal females has of late be an ongoing concern (Prince, et al. 2018).

Valuing Indigenous Knowledge

The Aboriginal tradition takes the route which involves both, thought as well as speech to be done and conveyed respectively through stories for teaching moral lessons. In keeping with this tradition, the present section will employ a story, beginning with the centuries-old question – was it the chicken or the egg which came first?

The chicken represents the Aboriginals, possessing unfathomable depths of traditional understanding since times immemorial. This knowledge gained both consciously and unconsciously through hearing, viewing and performance have its unique glimpse of the world. The interpreting skill needed to decode this knowledge has been passed down from holders of this knowledge through the generations via an unwritten history and rules of living. Aboriginal knowledge is primarily an oral tradition and, therefore, the 'chicken' might lack the expertise to convert this idea into something more influential.

The egg in this analogy is the idea, for example, an article, presentation or book. In the academic world once an idea has been formally presented it becomes public property and once it has been published it becomes something to be discussed, debated, argued about and developed by others. What occurs in this process is that the Aboriginal voice, governance and ownership often gets lost or diluted. Sometimes other academics start to cite the work and then it may become incorrectly attributed to the individual who cites the work. Often non-Aboriginal populations continue to be seen as leaders in the space and there are numerous examples of Aboriginal-themed books by non-Aboriginal 'experts' that are not authored or even edited by Aboriginal people. Inevitably, some of these publications misrepresent Aboriginal people and their knowledge (Vetrniest, n.d.).

Engagement, Consultation, Cooperation and Collaboration

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander”methodologies of learning, living and performancelately have been amalgamated into the core curriculum as regards social work in Australia,and have started to beconsidered pivotal to carrying out the work of “decolonising Australian social work education”, whilst also churning out socially reactive social work professionals. Efficiently teaching these understandings, principles and expertise necessitates manifold stratagems such as the creation of a completely overhauled &novel syllabus which canexhibit the assimilation of the “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander”methods of learning, living and performance. Involvement in a process driven by the community offers social work coachesachance to forgeassociations with the “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” communities, there by remodelling cultural openness in practice.

The Australian requirement that social work students are exposed to and informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander understanding, moralities and abilities, mirrors the findings of the “Behrendt review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education”, carried out 7 years ago by the Government of Australia. This formative review lay the foundation for the authorisation of the “curriculum reforms” and the creation of “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” content within the higher tiers of education in Australia. It made clear links between the inclusion of content on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge in the academy, the participation and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in higher education (Bennett, Redfern& Zubrzycki, 2018).

Workplace and Cultural Safety

The latest organizational conducts are aimed at normalizing as well as bringing into habit, certain practices via systematic valuation procedures for ascertaining the maximum mitigation of risk as well as the observance of cost-effectiveness at the highest degree. These stresses have since been embedded into the ongoing regular practice of social work in Australia and its fellow developed States. In the case of the aforesaid nations, ethnic proficiency is referred to as a sort of expertise about another stratum, which requires to beattained and applied through multifarious techniques to ensure complete effectiveness. However, operating through ethnic and traditional variances warrants serious consideration as to an individual's situation as well as the intricate exchanges among the various fields of identity. Whereas, certain renditions of ethnic proficiency integrate the need to evaluate the prevailing morals and conduct it is contended that instead of focusing on the knowledge of variances, social workers require instead ponder upon a sympathetic hearing of the people’s autobiographies to bring to lightwith the passing of time, as to which spheres of their community and traditional lives matter to them. Australia is home to a diversity of 24 million people. Nearly 30 per cent of Australia's inhabitants took birth overseas and 41 per cent of its inhabitants are the children of a minimum of one parent not born in Australia. In the 1970s, the Labour government approved a policy which promoted the inclusion of multiple cultures together (Hollingsworth, 2013).

Reflexive Practice & Anti-Racism

The purpose of “Reflexive Anti-racism”is to nurture a supportable and efficient methodology towards anti-racism whichsteers clear of both, the “threats of essentialism” and “backlash “impacts, as regards emotionally-challenged reactions. It can be seen that encouraged anti-racists, which includes individuals possessing an in-built inspiration to retort in an impartial manner, have a tendency to feel uncomfortable, anguish, remorse, dread, nervousness, rage, indecisiveness and departure. The cause of sensing the said emotions can be held, at leastpartially, to be a discontinuation between an anti-racist approach and the unintentional presence and practice of a racist state of mind, opinions and conducts that reflect prevailing social norms.

A particular level of the said negative sentiments may be connected with achievement ofimpartial behaviour as a temporary goal. Nonetheless, as regards permanency, such emotions have a chance of causing “burnout”, defensiveness/resistance, dwindled backing to positive action and added bias. It remains equally probable for the said emotions to result in overprotectiveness or impassiveness during interactions with members belonging to ethnically minor communities (Franklin, Paradies & Kowal, 2014).

References for Interaction with The Torres Island and Aboriginal People

Baldry, E. & Cunneen, C. (2014). Imprisoned Indigenous Women and the Shadow of Colonial Patriarchy, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 47: 2, pgs. 276-298.

Bennett, B., Redfern, H.& Zubrzycki, J. (2018). ‘Cultural Responsiveness in Action: Co- Constructing Social Work Curriculum’, British Journal of Social Work, 48, 808–825

Franklin, H., Paradies, Y., & Kowal, E. (2014). ‘Critical Evaluation of a Program to Foster Reflexive Antiracism’, International Journal of Social Science Research, 2: 2, pgs. 20-46.

 Go, J. (2017). Decolonizing Sociology: EpistemicInequality and Sociological Thought. Social Problems, 64, 194-199.

Hollingsworth, D. (2013). ‘Forget Cultural Competence: Ask for an Autobiography’, Social Work Education, 32:8, pgs. 1048-1060.

Ife, J. (2016). ‘Radically Transforming Human Rights for Social Work Practice’. International Social Work Conference, Seoul.

McDowall, J. (2016). ‘Connection to Culture by Indigenous children and Young people in Out-of-home Care in Australia’, Communities, Children and Families Australia, 10: 1, pgs. 5- 26.

Prince, J., Jeffrey, N., Baird, L., Kingsburra S., & Tipiloura, B. (2018). Stories from Community: How Suicide Rates Fell in two Indigenous Communities, Healing Foundation.

Vetrniest, L. (n.d.). ‘Allying with the Medicine Wheel: Social Work Practice with Aboriginal People’, Critical Social Work, University of Windsor.

Weatherburn, D. & Ramsey, S. (2016). ‘What’s causing the Growth in Indigenous Imprisonment in NSW?’ Crime and Justice Statistics, Bureau Brief. Issue paper no. 118.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Social Work Assignment Help

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