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Central Land Council urges direct action from all levels of government to tackle scourge of domestic violence

Giovanni Torre -

The Central Land Council, one of the Northern Territory’s four land councils, has spoken out as one on domestic and family violence - calling for major reforms to tackle the scourge.

Immediately after a full council meeting on Thursday morning, the Council issued a statement which acknowledged “the pain and hurt that families and communities experience from domestic and family violence right across Australia”, but also noted the disparity between the incidence of violence against women in the Territory and the low level of federal investment in programs to tackle the scourge.

“We know that the rate of domestic and family violence-related homicide in the Northern Territory is seven times the national average. The majority of women killed are Aboriginal. Despite this shocking statistic, the NT receives just one per cent of federal domestic and family violence funding.”

The Central Land Council said perpetrators need intervention “to address their use of violence and break the cycle so that our young men do not grow up behaving this way”.

“We also know this is a systemic issue that must be addressed. At the moment, we are stuck with funding to address domestic and family violence based on population, not based on evidence or need,” the Council said.

Without adequate funding, Aboriginal-led solutions cannot be developed and implemented. The way forward cannot be business as usual. We desperately need significant reform.”

Central Land Council chair Matthew Palmer said the CLC “needs to work with other Aboriginal organisations to take a leadership role to tackle domestic violence”.

We know there is a problem and there is a lot of work to be done. We need to show how much we honour and value our women. We are nothing without our women and children. They are our future,” he said.

The Council said it believes “justice will only be achieved when our women and children are safe from harm and our men can find a way forward that does not include violence”.

Deputy chair Warren Williams said there is an urgent need for preventative education and programs for men at all stages of their lives.

We need to educate our young people. There should be workshops and forums across the region to get men acknowledging the problem of violence and how it is impacting them and their families,” he said.

The Central Land Council welcomed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s announcement this week of $925 million towards addressing domestic and family violence.

The Council acknowledged that domestic and family violence is “a shocking problem” and that “we all have a role to play in finding a solution”.

The CLC urged the federal and NT governments to commit to: provide the NT with needs-based funding that is desperately needed for prevention and support programs; strengthen efforts to support the targets of the Closing the Gap National Agreement that align with reducing incarceration and improving safety; invest in culturally relevant and meaningful men’s healing programs that support breaking the cycle of violence; and support place-based, community-led initiatives that ensure women’s and children’s safety so they can safely remain in their communities.

“Domestic and family violence affects all of us from all walks of life. The Central Land Council will continue talking to our members about what actions we can take and join with the rest of the nation to address this national crisis,” the Council said in its joint statement on Thursday.

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