Our Watch

Skip to content

Our Watch’s statement on 26 January

January 24, 2023 / Our Watch media team

Our Watch recognises the original and ongoing custodianship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country across Australia, and we pay our respect to Elders, past and present, of this Country.

On 26 January, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, along with their allies, seek to draw national attention to issues of racism and unequal treatment. We recognise that for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this day is a source of great pain, and ongoing and often intergenerational trauma.

Historically, 26 January marks the original colonisation of this continent in 1788. The impact of this is still felt today, in the present: the loss of culture and language, the significant family and community dislocation, the negative impacts on health and wellbeing and the ongoing racism and discrimination.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities also take the opportunity on 26 January to demonstrate the ongoing strength of their communities and cultures.
As a signatory of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, Australia is committed to uphold the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to live safely and equally.

Preventing violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women must be an urgent national priority.

At the heart of this is equality.

Racism, the ongoing impact of colonisation and gender inequality contribute to the disproportionately high, and more severe violence that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children experience.

As a national leader in the primary prevention of violence against women, Our Watch has recently made a submission to the Senate inquiry into missing and murdered First Nations women and children. This inquiry exists because of the work Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, communities and organisations have undertaken in demanding to be treated equally by the law and state institutions.

While some prevention work must be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, there are also important roles for governments, and for non-Indigenous people and organisations to play, as part of a shared national effort. Subsequent actions following the inquiry should reflect a national commitment to making the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children violence-free.

Our Watch is committed to learn from and work in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations. We deeply value their significant wisdom and experience, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, board members, partners and stakeholders.

Guided by Changing the picture, Australia’s national approach to preventing violence against women must be intersectional, culturally safe, trauma informed, and healing focused.

We value and seek to centre the voices and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations in all the work we do.

We stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on this day, and every day.

Media contact

Please contact media@ourwatch.org.au or 0423 444 907

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”
To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.

About Our Watch

Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children.