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'Changing the picture' of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

July 18 2018 By Eddie Staltari, Senior Media and Communications Advisor

Australia’s leading organisation for the prevention of violence against women, Our Watch, has today launched a resource aimed at tackling the horrific prevalence of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Changing the picture Image

Australia’s leading organisation for the prevention of violence against women, Our Watch, has today launched a resource aimed at tackling the horrific prevalence of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. 

Changing the picture contains a set of clear actions that are needed to address the many drivers of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and is aimed at encouraging, guiding and supporting a national effort to prevent this violence. 

Vicky Welgraven, Adnyamathanha woman and Our Watch Board Director, said the resource was aimed at both Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations across diverse settings and geographic contexts, and demonstrated the importance of healing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

“Violence against women is such a huge and devastating problem for some of our communities,” Ms Welgraven said.   

“Our Watch is saying we need a shared nationwide effort and that’s absolutely right – we all need to work together to prevent this violence happening into the future”. 

 “What our communities need is effective healing – for our men, our women and our children. We need to be empowered to lead that work ourselves, in culturally safe ways”. 

Our Watch worked extensively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to develop Changing the picture, and the resource was informed by the many decades of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's activism on this issue. 

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer, Patty Kinnersly, said it was up to all Australians to prevent violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.   

 “Violence against women, including Aboriginal women, is not an ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander problem,' nor should they bear sole responsibility for fixing it,” Ms Kinnersly said.  

 “This is a national problem, with complex historical and contemporary drivers located right across Australian society. These include both racism and sexism, and the ongoing impacts of colonisation. That means we all have a part to play in preventing this violence”.   

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience disproportionate rates of violence, and the violence is often more severe. 

The statistics are shocking:  

  • In Australia, Indigenous women are more than three times likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women.  
  • Three in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a male intimate partner.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are eleven times more likely to die as a result of assault. 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are at far greater risk of exposure to family violence. More than two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who experience violence share their household with children. 

Our Watch pays tribute to the important contribution of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations that worked on this resource, in particular the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Advisory Group. 

Changing the picture is available to download from the Our Watch website here.