“It is time to transform our pain into action. There can be no more excuses – that it is too hard, we don’t know what to do, it’s too complex.”
Violence against women and children has reached epidemic proportions in Australia.
One in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and one in five has experienced sexual violence.
The Australian Government has released an ambitious vision and has committed itself to a country free from gender-based violence in one generation.
The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (2010–2022 National Plan) was released in October.
It is committed to achieving a country free from gender-based violence where people can live free from violence and are safe at home, at work, at school, in the community and online.
The impact of family violence ripples across families, the community and between generations.
Children being exposed to violence experience long-lasting effects on their development, health, and wellbeing.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience higher rates of family violence, child removal, suicide and incarceration and poorer outcomes in relation to mental health, employment, and housing.
They are less likely to seek help or report violence due to past government practices and mistrust of police and mainstream services arising from previous experiences of reporting violence, misidentification of victims and perpetrators, incarceration, and child removal.
Encompassing their Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service and various culturally tailored support services, Djirra is an organisation working at the forefront to prevent and respond to gender-based violence for Aboriginal women.
Djirra, located in Abbotsford, Victoria and led by CEO Antoinette Braybrook, is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation that aims to provide holistic, culturally safe, legal, and non-legal support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience family violence.
The National Plan highlights how domestic and family violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and can result in children exposed to domestic and family violence experiencing trauma symptoms, including PTSD.
To combat these realities, the National Plan sets out a plan across four domains – prevention, early intervention, response and recovery and healing.
Djirra’s services provide the community with services that support the prevention, intervention, response, and recovery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through their focus on community education and intervention and prevention programs.
Djirras services aim to draw on cultural strength to increase resilience and reduce social isolation and vulnerability to family violence.
Djirras strong focus is on promoting healthy relationships and creating awareness about the power and control dynamics of family violence and its accompanying red flags.
The national plan released by the Government highlights how the structural and social inequalities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are now also manifesting in higher rates of technology-facilitated abuse.
Prevention of this abuse includes educating the community on how technology can be used as a form of abuse.
Djirra has recently released an e-safety plan called ‘This Ain’t Love’, which is trying to combat the rise in technology-facilitated abuse alongside increased social media and electronic devices.
Physical distance does not mean that the violence stops. In response to this emerging issue, Djirra aims to prioritise work around eSafety to create culturally safe and self-determined education on these issues.
Their aim is to create resources to support those experiencing this form of abuse and help women and their children build strong, safe independent and positive lives free from family violence.
“This could be the game-changer that we need,” Ms Antoinette Baybrook, CEO of Djirra, said.
“The previous national plan failed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, with our women 32 times more likely to be hospitalised and 10 times more likely to die from family violence than other women
“We can no longer just be tacked on under mainstream strategies,” Ms Baybrook continued.
Djirra continues to advocate for a dedicated plan to end violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
“To see change, we need long-term investment and Aboriginal-led, self-determined solutions,” Ms Baybrook said.
“We must be visible and heard. We have the solutions.”
To learn more about the Australians Government to the commitment to end violence for all Australians, visit https://www.dss.gov.au/ending-violence
And to support the efforts of Djirra, you can find them at https://djirra.org.au