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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and family violence


Morgan Liotta


22/02/2019 2:30:20 PM

A new report of previously unpublished data reveals the extent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s experience of family violence.

Around one in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experienced family violence from 2014–15.
Around one in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experienced family violence from 2014–15.

The report forms part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) publication National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 and compares sociodemographic factors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who experienced family violence with those who did not in the year prior to the 2014–15 survey.

Key findings show that, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, around two in three women (72%) compared with one in three men (35%) were likely to identify an intimate partner or family member as at least one of the perpetrators in their most recent experience of physical violence.
 
Approximately one in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experienced family violence based on their most recent experience of physical violence.
 
Almost seven in 10 (68%) women who had experienced family violence reported that alcohol and/or other substances contributed to the incident:

  • More than half of women (53%) who had experienced family violence reported alcohol (by itself or with other substances) was a contributing factor
  • More than one in 10 (13%) reported that other substances alone were a contributing factor

When compared with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who had not experienced any physical violence, those who had were:

  • more likely to report high or very high levels of psychological distress (69% compared with 34%)
  • more likely to have a mental health condition (53% compared with 31%)
  • more likely to report they had experienced homelessness at some time in their life (55% compared with 26%)
  • less likely to trust police in their local area (44% compared with 62%)
  • just as likely to trust their own doctor (77% compared with 83%)
The report underlines the role of GPs’ support for such people.
 
‘About four in 10 women who were physically injured [as a result of family violence] visited a health professional for their injuries,’ ABS Director of the Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Debbie Goodwin said.
 
‘This information [from the report] offers important insights for those involved in family and domestic violence policy, as well as organisations which provide services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, aimed at preventing violence and supporting those affected by violence.’
 
GP resources
  • The RACGP and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)’s National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (National Guide), Chapter 16: ‘Family abuse and violence’, provides key recommendations on prevention interventions – screening, behavioural and environmental. These recommendations aim to support healthcare professionals to develop a high level of awareness of the risks of family abuse and violence, and how to identify and provide early intervention for victims and perpetrators.
 
  • The RACGP’s Abuse and violence: Working with our partners in general practice (White book), Chapter 11: ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence’, outlines statistics and recommendations for healthcare professionals to show leadership at a community level through local organisations by advocating for provision of services that meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing family violence.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ABS abuse and violence domestic violence family violence women’s health



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