Dedicated plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family safety ‘essential’ for Northern Territory

By Emma Ruben National Indigenous Times 20/10/22

The proposed plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family safety could be essential for domestic and family violence survivors in the Northern Territory, a peak NT body has said.

Alongside the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-32 released on Monday, the Federal Government has committed to a standalone First Nations National Plan to combat family and domestic violence.

The plan will be lead by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council who will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, Elders, communities, community-led organisations and governments.

Northern Territory Council of Social Service executive officer Deborah Di Natale said a standalone plan for First Nations people was welcome.

“We think that is an essential part of the plan and will really impact in terms of the Northern Territory and what it needs to do,” she said.

“We’re really pleased to see that it has and talks strongly about the co-design model and the lived experience of women.

“That is really the information that we need to be able to provide the right services and it’s going to look different to anywhere else in the country because it needs to be a community response.”

Ms Di Natale said the best way to ensure unities in the NT feel safe was through a culturally appropriate response.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are less likely to seek help or report violence because of past government practices and mistrust of police and mainstream services,” she said.

“And I think that what we need to do is acknowledge that that is a really big impediment.

“The way to ensure those communities feel safe is through a culturally appropriate response.”