Aboriginal women are still being excluded from the national agenda

Update: 7 June 2024

It’s now over a month since the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin called an emergency roundtable into murdered and missing women, bringing together experts from across the country to tackle the violence against women crisis.

While the headlines have faded, and most media has moved on – Australia is still facing a national crisis of violence against women.

First Nations women are STILL more likely to be murdered, brutally disappeared, or hospitalised due to family violence than other women in Australia.

The number of our kids being removed into out of home care is soaring and is often a direct consequence of family violence.

More than 1 in 4 of the Aboriginal women Djirra supports are misidentified as primary aggressors and criminalised by Police for the violence they experience.

The Federal Government has appointed a new Expert Panel to conduct a Rapid Review into prevention strategies to combat violence against women and children.

Why are there no Aboriginal women on this Panel?

“We’ve been advocating for decades to keep Aboriginal women’s voices at the table, yet once again we have been excluded from the national agenda. A month after the crisis meeting of national cabinet on women’s safety, this news tells me we have so much more to do.

It’s not enough to consult Aboriginal women at various times throughout the review. Our lived and on the ground experience working on the frontline of Aboriginal women’s safety must underpin the ENTIRE process.

The government needs to answer the question ‘why did they leave us out’ because it happens too often. The exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from this panel does little to ensure that our people can self-determine.

Now we have raised these concerns, the government won’t make it right by just handpicking a First Nations woman for the Panel. National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services have 25+ years’ experience working at the frontline of Aboriginal women’s safety. This Panel will only benefit from our expertise – we have the solutions and the reach across every corner of the country.”

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7 May 2024

Today Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook AM took part in an emergency national roundtable convened by Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin, joining experts from across the country to tackle the violence against women crisis.

Aboriginal women shared deeply personal stories of sadness, loss, and devastation.

Investing in frontline, specialist Aboriginal-led family violence services is the ONLY solution.

Now more than ever, it is ESSENTIAL Djirra gets vital funding for frontline legal and non-legal services as quickly as possible – services such as counselling, 1:1 supports, and specialist legal assistance urgently needed by Aboriginal women and children experiencing family and domestic violence.

Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook AM says, “The demand for Djirra’s services from Aboriginal women in every corner of the state continues to rise, and especially so outside metropolitan Melbourne where more than half of all Aboriginal people live. Djirra had a 22% increase in demand for our services in just the first three months of 2024.

We have so much more to do. Now we need the political will to ensure Aboriginal women’s experiences are heard and counted.”