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Funds for research on violence against Indigenous women

Rudi Maxwell -

Indigenous-led research into domestic and family violence is being funded as part of a national strategy aimed at ending violence against First Nations women and children.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth announced $15 million funding over five years as the next stage of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan under the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32.

But an independent Aboriginal community-controlled legal service is calling for direct investment in organisations that specialise in preventing violence in Indigenous communities.

Indigenous women and children are disproportionately impacted by family and domestic violence.

First Nations women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised due to violence than non-Indigenous women and six times more likely to die as a result of family violence.

The funding announced on Tuesday aims to develop a data set that can show a national picture for First Nations women and children, which includes culturally-sensitive data collection and reporting practices.

An improved evidence framework will also allow the government to better track progress, Ms Rishworth said on Tuesday.

"This not only means that we can gain a much stronger picture of the nature and extent of family violence, but that First Nations people have sovereignty over the research and resulting data that will help shape solutions and strategies to end violence against First Nations women and children," she said.

"With community-led data, we can take effective, targeted action to end family, domestic, and sexual violence for First Nations women and children, better measure our progress against Closing the Gap targets and take significant strides towards a safer Australia."

Aboriginal Family Legal Service Western Australia chief executive Corina Martin welcomed the funding but said more research into family violence in Aboriginal communities was unlikely to reveal anything new.

The money would be better spent directly with Family Violence Prevention Legal Service (FVPLS) units across Australia, which provide Indigenous-controlled specialist legal and social assistance to Aboriginal victims of family and domestic violence, she said.

"Those units, which are well connected to their local communities, know all too well the challenges that Aboriginal families are facing, and best practices for how to prevent, intervene and respond when violence occurs," she said.

"We will continue to call on the government to meet the funding increases required by the FVPLS units across the country to ensure the ongoing sustainability of culturally-safe, trauma-informed, best-practice service delivery.

"We can't keep waiting for research while more of our women die."

A key priority of the Indigenous action plan was to improve safety outcomes and self-determination of First Nations communities by supporting Indigenous people and organisations to govern the creation, collection, ownership and use of data on family violence.

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14

Men's Referral Service 1300 766 491

Rudi Maxwell - AAP


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