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New funding for DV services as government targets fall

Neve Brissenden -

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services are set to take greater control of domestic violence as the federal government attempts to meet falling Closing the Gap targets.

The services will be able to tap into more than $96 million from Monday, designed to empower communities to tackle domestic and family violence by investing in accommodation services and men's centres.

"The government recognises the importance of culturally informed action, shaped by true partnerships with First Nations peoples," Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said.

"The grants are designed, led, delivered, and evaluated by First Nations organisations in alignment with Priority Reform One and Two of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap."

This year's annual Closing the Gap progress report revealed only four of the 19 targets are on track, while four others are going backwards.

The July report from the Productivity Commission found while preschool enrolment, youth detention, employment and land rights are on track, outcomes are worsening in Indigenous children's development and out-of-home care rates, mental health and adult incarceration.

Amanda Rishworth said the new grants would be a combined effort to "turn the tide on violence". (Image: Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

While the targets are set nationally, the report found some jurisdictions were falling behind, including the Northern Territory, Victoria and South Australia.

In terms of the domestic violence target, the latest national data from 2018-19 records 8.4 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females over 15 experiencing domestic physical or threatened physical harm.

The target aims to reduce domestic violence by more than half by 2031.

Indigenous women are more likely to be killed due to domestic violence and are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised.

They also report three times as many incidents of sexual violence.

Ms Rishworth said the new grants would be a combined effort to "turn the tide on violence".

On Wednesday, the South Australian government announced it would conduct a royal commission into domestic violence, while in the Northern Territory, the country's biggest coronial inquest into the issue is due to wrap up early next year.

Grant applications are open from Monday and will close on February 16.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

Neve Brissenden - AAP

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