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Healing program aims to help Indigenous survivors of DV

Rudi Maxwell -

With three in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing physical or sexual violence, Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney believes support for culturally-based healing is desperately needed.

The federal government has announced a $23.2 million boost to expand the Healing for Families initiative for Indigenous people to 12 locations across the country.

"We know that healing is a holistic process and works best when programs are community-led and community driven, that's why we're boosting funding ... where it's needed most," Ms Burney said on Tuesday.

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney

Linda Burney says more Indigenous women suffering domestic violence will have access to support. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

"First Nations women are vital to the strength and wellbeing of First Nations families and communities, with this funding boost we're ensuring more women have access to the crucial services that deliver opportunities for healing," she said.

The funding would ensure "communities are in the driver's seat ... to deliver the programs that offer pathways to real change".

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children suffer disproportionate levels of violence, harm and trauma across the country.

Indigenous women are 33 times more likely to be hospitalised and six times more likely to die from domestic violence than non-Indigenous women in Australia.

The national agreement on Closing the Gap aims to reduce all forms of family violence and abuse against First Nations women and children by at least 50 per cent by 2031 and progress towards none.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the funds follow a $96 million investment announced in December for new grant opportunities for Indigenous organisations to help end family and sexual violence and a separate package to establish healing sites for survivors of child sexual abuse.

"Our government recognises the importance of culturally-informed action, shaped by true partnerships with First Nations peoples," she said.

"Through a combined effort between the government, First Nations communities, and the family, domestic, and sexual violence sector, we can ensure we can turn the tide on violence in our communities and provide safer, brighter futures for all Australians."

Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community La Grange, on the Kimberley coast about 160km south of Broome, will receive funding from Healing for Families, which chief executive Tania Baxter said would mean more targeted support.

"Our community understands better than anyone what they need to encourage healing, that's why our ground-up and hands-on approach is crucial in meeting the needs of community,. she said.

The funding boost will see the program expand to a further seven communities, focusing on women and children who have experienced family violence and children at risk of removal into out of home care in: Aurukun, Queensland, Bidyadanga and Perth, WA, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Ngukurr and Numbulwar, NT, Port Augusta, SA, and Tasmania.

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14

Rudi Maxwell - AAP

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