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New survey data sheds light on the impact of family violence on women in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Violence against women impacts every Australian community and is an issue for us all. Yesterday’s release of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) data, by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra, has revealed more about how family violence impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and communities.

Libby Davies, CEO of White Ribbon, said: ‘The data released yesterday is confronting, but having this information helps us further develop approaches to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on ending men’s violence against women. It will also help us evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches.’

The findings of the survey indicate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are four times more likely than men to experience partner violence; 28% of women who had experienced physical violence in the last 12 months said that their current or former partner was the perpetrator. The data also indicates the impact of family violence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women; 63% of women reporting a recent experience of physical violence identified a family member (including a current or previous partner) as the perpetrator, compared with 35% of males. This is evidence of the ongoing need for violence prevention campaigns and programs that target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities in culturally appropriate ways.

White Ribbon began this work through the White Ribbon Diversity Program, launched in 2014 and funded for four years by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. The Diversity Program focuses on making the White Ribbon Campaign and Programs more inclusive through meaningful and respectful collaboration with communities across Australia.

Sunila Kotwal, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at White Ribbon said: ‘We are working with a reference group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to guide and better connect us with communities through local events, workshops, training and forums. We are also developing White Ribbon resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to raise awareness about men’s violence against women and to encourage and support them to join this Campaign to end violence against women’.

To date, White Ribbon’s Diversity Program has led to a 17% increase in Ambassadors identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and over 160 men attending culturally appropriate training in the prevention of men’s violence against women. ‘The NATSISS data released today reminds us why we need to do this work’, Ms. Kotwal said.

For more information on White Ribbon’s Diversity Program, visit: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/about/diversity-and-inclusion/

About the NATSISS

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) survey data brings together a broad range of information that explores cultural identity, social networks, housing, health, employment and education, crime and justice experiences and general life satisfaction.

The NATSISS is conducted every six years. It was first run in 1994, responding to various recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Deaths in Custody for a better information base to understand the socio-economic circumstances and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

This was the first time such a wide ranging and comprehensive survey of Australia’s First Peoples was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), or any other government agency

About White Ribbon Australia

White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender equality, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.

The Vision of White Ribbon Australia (White Ribbon), as part of this global movement, if for a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. The purpose is engaging men to make women’s safety a man’s issue too.

White Ribbon works through a primary prevention approach understanding that men are central to achieving the social change necessary to prevent men’s violence against women. We engage men to stand up, speak out and act to influence the actions of some men and demand change.

White Ribbon is dedicated to ensuring men are active advocates for changing the social norms, attitudes and behaviours that are at the root of men’s abuse of women. Through education, awareness-raising and marketing campaigns, partnerships and preventative programs that are independently evaluated, based on best practice and shown to be effective, we are highlighting the positive role men play in preventing men’s violence against women and enabling them to be part of this social change.

For media interviews contact Sally Burleigh: Sally@sbpr.com.au and 0419 516 889

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