I am an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander woman

I need to find support services that can help me leave family violence and move to a safer environment.
I’ve gone through so much I don’t know who to trust.
I’m afraid to break from my community, I need support to gain the confidence to do it because without support I’m alone.
I want to keep my children safe.

You are not alone
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often use the term ‘family violence’ rather than ‘domestic violence’ as it can relate to their experiences of violence and abuse within their communities.

Family violence involves abuse and violence within families and communities. It is about the devastating impact of the story of ‘settlement’ on culture, as well as the issues of gender, power, fear and control that are always a part of domestic violence.
Family violence is when someone within your family or community uses abusive behaviour to control you and possibly other members of your family.

Does this sound familiar?
My partner or someone in my family or community:

  • uses cultural or spiritual practices or laws unfairly against me.
  • isolates me from others or makes me feel ashamed to ask for help.
  • tells me that if I don’t keep quiet I will bring shame to the community or have my kids taken away.
  • threatens to turn other people in my family against me.
  • says that no one will believe me or help me because I am an Aboriginal woman.

This is domestic or family violence. Family violence is always wrong and is never your fault. It is not a part of the rich traditions of Aboriginal culture.

To find out more about domestic violence click here.

Keel, 2004, Family violence and sexual assault in Indigenous communities “Walking the talk”, http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/pubs/briefing/acssa_briefing4.pdf

 

What can I do?
If you are in immediate danger call the police on 000.

If you are experiencing domestic violence you can talk to someone for support or information. Domestic violence support workers are trained to understand what might be happening for you and services that can help.
If you need to talk to someone about domestic or family violence:

  • After hours counselling support 
    1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
    24 hour service
  • Southern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service
    (08) 8382 0066
    Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
  • Ninko Kurtangga Patpangga
    Southern Regional Aboriginal Family Violence Service
    (08) 8297 9644
    Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm

You can also ask for help from your GP, Centrelink social worker or any other place you trust such as a Community Centre or Children’s Centre. Click here for information on people who can help.
If you want to leave a situation of domestic or family violence and have nowhere to go you can contact DV Gateway (1800 800 098). The Gateway will offer support, assess your situation and work with you to find alternative accommodation in a safe area. If you are ringing after 5pm or on the weekend you will reach the Homelessness Gateway and you need to say that you are experiencing domestic violence and you are not safe in your home. They will help you get the help you need. Contact the police for help and protection for yourself and your children to remove the perpetrator or leave a situation.

 

Services for me
Aboriginal women and children face their own challenges when leaving a situation of family violence.

If you want to find some help, you can talk to our Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer or a Family Violence Worker at Ninko Kurtangga Patpangga on (08) 8297 9644. They are there to listen to you and support you and your family in a non-judgemental and supportive way that respects and acknowledges the importance of family and culture.
If you need a safe place to stay you can call the Domestic and Aboriginal Family Violence Gateway on 1800 800 098. It’s open 24 hours a day.
If you want some advice or support around legal information, particularly in relation to your rights and your children’s rights then you can contact:

  • Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement – An independent Aboriginal community controlled organisation governed by an all Aboriginal Board. They provide legal advice and representation. To contact call 8113 3777 or 1800 643 222.
  • Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service (Port Augusta)
  • Warndu Wathilli-Carri Ngura, the Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service, provide free legal advice and support to Aboriginal families experiencing family and domestic violence and give legal assistance for Restraining Orders and Family Court applications. To contact, call 8642 3923.
  • Women’s Legal Service provide a specialised legal service to Aboriginal women. To contact the Aboriginal Community Worker call 8231 8929 or 1800 685 037 during normal business hours and ask for an appointment.

 

What about my children?
 If you have children in your care they need to be safe too. Domestic violence has a significant impact on children of all ages, whether they witness the actual violence or not. For information on children and violence click here, and on the legal rights for you and your children click here.

For advice on how to manage the legal and financial impacts of leaving a violent relationship and to find out more about your rights and where you can get help here.

 

What about my community?
Other women in your community will not be put at risk by you seeking support from professionals. The first step is to make a call. 1800 RESPECT offers interpreters and telephone counselling. It’s important to tell someone what is happening. Your safety and the safety of your children is very important. When you talk to a professional, it is their duty to support you and offer non-judgmental practice. Don’t hesitate, talk to somebody! 

Remember that you have a right to live free of violence and fear.
Saying no to violence is not saying no to culture!