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Chapter 4: Cultural safety and security: Tools to address lateral violence - Social Justice Report 2011

Social Justice Report 2011

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Chapter 4: Cultural
safety and security: Tools to address lateral violence


4.1 Introduction

Lateral violence is a multilayered, complex problem and because of this our
strategies also need to be pitched at different levels. In Chapter 3 I have
looked at the big picture, with the human rights framework as our overarching
response to lateral violence. In this Chapter I will be taking our strategies to
an even more practical level, looking at how we can create environments of
cultural safety and security to address lateral violence.

A culturally safe and secure environment is one where our people feel safe
and draw strength in their identity, culture and community. Lateral violence on
the other hand, undermines and attacks identity, culture and community. In this
Chapter I will be looking at ways to establish an environment that ensures:

  • cultural safety within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and
    organisations
  • cultural security by external parties such as governments, industry and
    non-government organisations (NGOs) who engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander communities and organisations.

The concepts of cultural
safety and security are illustrated through a selection of case studies
highlighting promising practices that are occurring both within our communities
and in partnership with government. These case studies provide us with practical
strategies, but just as importantly, they also remind us that our communities,
with the right support, have the ability to solve their own problems. This gives
me hope that we can begin to address the problems of lateral violence.

4.2 Defining cultural
safety and cultural security

As we saw in defining lateral violence in Chapter 2, there are a variety of
words that are used to describe lateral violence. Similarly, there is some
debate in the literature around the differing concepts of cultural safety and
security. I will explain this briefly below.

While I do not want to get bogged down in semantics, I think that the
concepts of cultural safety and cultural security both add something to the way
we think about addressing lateral violence. Cultural safety encapsulates the
relationships that we need to foster in our communities, as well as the need for
cultural renewal and revitalisation. The creation of cultural safety in our
communities will be the focus of the case studies in the next part of this
Chapter.

Cultural security on the other hand, speaks more to the obligations of those
working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure that
there are policies and practices in place so that all interactions adequately
meet cultural needs.

Whatever words you use, cultural safety and security requires the creation
of:

  • environments of cultural resilience within Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander communities
  • cultural competency by those who engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander communities.

In other words, we need to bullet proof our
communities so they are protected from the weaponry of lateral violence. And
governments and other third parties need to ensure that our group cohesion does
not become collateral damage when they engage with our communities.

(a) Cultural
safety

The concept of cultural safety is drawn from the work of Maori nurses in New
Zealand and can be defined as:

[A]n environment that is safe for people: where there is no assault,
challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is
about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of
learning, living and working together with dignity and truly
listening.[1]

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a culturally safe
environment is one where we feel safe and secure in our identity, culture and
community. According to the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) the
concept of cultural safety:

[I]s used in the context of promoting mainstream environments which are
culturally competent. But there is also a need to ensure that Aboriginal
community environments are also culturally safe and promote the strengthening of
culture.[2]

VACCA is a leader in advancing the concept of cultural safety. Their research
into cultural safety and its relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
is considered in Text Box 4.1.

Text Box 4.1: Exploring cultural safety

The VACCA undertook research through surveys and interviews with Victorians
(predominately Indigenous) to unpack the concept of cultural safety. Some of the
responses to questions exploring the concept included:

‘Feeling safe in the knowledge that you’re listened to, that
your contribution to the community is important, just as much as anyone
else’s’.

(Koorie worker).

‘Feeling safe in who you are... in your identity. Knowing that
you’re a proud Indigenous person... taking strength in your culture
through adversities’.

(Koorie worker).

‘I think it’s being comfortable with yourself and being able to
tell people that you’re proud to be of that culture and not feeling that
you’re being discriminated against’.

(Koorie parent).[3]

Some examples of cultural safety included:

‘To find and then be looked in the eyes by my Elders and be told,
‘You belong here’’.

(Koorie worker).

‘Me giving myself permission to be an Aboriginal person. Not other
people telling me who I should be or who I am’.

(Koorie worker).

‘Having the sense of refuge in the middle of a storm’.

(Koorie worker).

‘Feeling safe to be able to express yourself and being embraced by
the rest of society’.

(Koorie worker).[4]

When asked if non-Indigenous environments created safety some responses
included:

‘I become uneasy and nervous but I won’t shy away. I
won’t get shame’.

(Koorie young person).

‘I don’t feel as comfortable as I think a white person
feels’
(Koorie worker).

‘I felt outcast and alone in all white environments’.

(Koorie woman).[5]

When asked
if a physical location where alcohol, drugs and fighting were banned but culture
was celebrated would be beneficial responses included:

‘I wouldn’t have a job’.

(Koorie health worker).

‘If it’s free from politics it would be safe but it’s
just going to get sucked into the same politics...We should be doing that in our
organisations. Making them culturally safe. Rather than setting up something
autonomous...So we should be saying that ‘this is here for everyone’
and that ‘this is a peaceful place’ and once you come on this land
putting those cultural boundaries in that used to be [there]’.

(Koorie worker).

‘It would stand as a symbol of... community identity. And it would
give community great pride’.

(Koorie worker).

‘It’d be a healing thing for the factions’.

(Koorie worker).

‘[It would be] a place we can be seen as human’. Koorie
worker.[6]

When asked about how a culturally safe place could help the community
responses included:

‘In so many ways. That’s an enriched environment...so many
other environments, including Koorie organisations are environments of
poverty...cultural poverty, social poverty and in environments of enrichment
people can grow and flourish’.

(Clinical Psychologist).

‘It affects the way I walk the land, having seen so much violence.
It’s everything. Emotional, spiritual, everything. A place like that would
be a place of healing for the whole community. It’d bring everyone
together. Give us a future. Common heroes that connect us’.

(Koorie man).

‘By having a centre-point of pride and identity for the community.
Give opportunities for people to get to know each other. Foster connection and
belonging. Togetherness’.

(Koorie worker).

‘Increased understanding, increased empathy, decreased apathy,
decreased racism in the mainstream community’.

(Koorie worker).[7]

The idea of cultural safety envisages a place or a process that enables a
community to debate, to grapple and ultimately resolve the contemporary causes
of lateral violence without fear or
coercion.[8]

VACCA conceives of cultural safety as re-claiming cultural norms and creating
environments where Aboriginal people transition; first from victimhood to
survivors of oppression, through to seeing themselves and their communities as
achievers and contributors.[9] Through
this transition Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can reclaim their
culture. Noel Pearson warns that without this reclamation:

Cultural and linguist decline between generations hollows out a people
– like having one’s viscera removed under local anaesthetic –
leaving the people conscious that great riches are being lost and replaced with
emptiness.[10]

Lateral violence fills the empty void. On the other hand, revitalising and
renewing our culture and cultural norms within our communities brings resilience
and can prevent lateral violence taking its place.

(b) Cultural
security

Cultural security is subtly different from cultural safety and imposes a
stronger obligation on those that work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples to move beyond ‘cultural awareness’ to actively
ensuring that cultural needs are met for individuals. This means cultural needs
are included in policies and practices so that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders have access to this level of service, not just in pockets where there
are particularly culturally competent workers.

The cultural security model developed by Juli Coffin is outlined in Text Box
4.2.

Text Box 4.2: Cultural security
model
[11]

Text Box 4.2 Cultural Security Model

This model distinguishes between cultural awareness, cultural safety and
cultural security which Coffin argues have been inappropriately interchanged.
Under this conception an organisation cannot progress to cultural security
without first addressing cultural safety and cultural awareness.

Coffin uses a practical example of the management of an 8 year old
Aboriginal boy by a speech pathologist to define these three levels:

Awareness: ‘I know that most Aboriginal people have very
extended families
.’

Although the speech pathologist demonstrates a basic understanding of a
relevant Cultural issue, it does not lead into action. There is no common or
accepted practice and what actions are taken depends upon the individual and
their knowledge of Aboriginal culture and cultural security.

Safety: ‘I am going to make sure that I tell Johnny’s
Mum, Aunty and Nana about his appointment because sometimes he is not with his
Mum
.’

Safety involves health providers working with individuals, organisations
and sometimes, the community. More often though cultural safety consists of
small actions and gestures, usually not standardised as policy and
procedure.

Security: ‘I am going to write a note to Johnny’s
family and ask the Aboriginal Health Worker (AHW) to deliver and explain it. I
will check with the AHW if any issues were raised when explaining the procedure
to the family and if transport is sorted out. I will ask to see if the AHW can
be in attendance at the appointment
.’

Cultural security directly links understandings and actions. Policies and
procedures create processes that are automatically applied from the time when
Aboriginal people first seek health
care.[12]

Farrelly and Lumby note how this model extends cultural competency well
beyond simple cultural awareness into behavioural, attitudinal and structural
change:

Cultural Security is built from the acknowledgement that theoretical
‘awareness’ of culturally appropriate service provision is not
enough. It shifts the emphasis from attitudes to behaviour, focusing directly on
practice, skills and efficacy. It is about incorporating cultural values into
the design, delivery and evaluation of services. Cultural Security recognises
that this is not an optional strategy, nor solely the responsibility of
individuals, but rather involves society and system levels of involvement.
Cultural Security is proposed to effect change in all elements of the health
system workforce development, workforce reform, purchasing of health services,
monitoring and accountability, and public
engagement.[13]

A culturally secure environment cannot exist where external forces define and
control cultural identities. The role for government and other third parties in
creating cultural safety is ensuring that our voices are heard and respected in
relation to our community challenges, aspirations and
identities.[14] In this way cultural
security is about government and third parties working with us to create an
environment for a community to ‘exert ownership of
ourselves’.[15] Through this
ownership we are empowered.

4.3 Cultural
safety in our communities

The first part of this Chapter has looked at the concepts of cultural safety
and security. In this part I will be looking to the community level to celebrate
some of the approaches that are already making a difference in addressing
lateral violence on the ground. This approach is deliberate; you have to
understand the ‘why’, that is, have a big picture view of a problem
and solutions, before you can go about the ‘how’ of implementing a
response.

However, I also believe that communities inherently hold the best solutions
to their own problems. This is the strengths-based approach that I am always
advocating. This approach builds up our communities rather than constantly
tearing them down. At its core is empowerment.

The wisdom, resilience and ingenuity of those working with our communities is
always inspiring to me. This sentiment is shared by Lowitja
O’Donoghue:

So many good things are happening in our communities. We are kicking goals,
opening doors and breaking through the glass and brown ceilings. And, yet, the
times when we wholeheartedly and unanimously celebrate these achievements are
relatively few.[16]

These case studies are an opportunity to give some recognition to communities
and organisations that are innovating in the field of lateral violence.

But it is also more than an exercise in celebration and recognition. In the
absence of formal research and evaluation, these sorts of case studies provide
the best available way to look at what is working and why, providing valuable
lessons that can be relevant to other communities and contexts.

Again, like Chapter 2, this is not an exhaustive compilation of case studies
but it does provide a flavour of the richness of responses to lateral violence
that are already operating at the community level. Case studies will illustrate
responses to lateral violence in the contexts of education and awareness,
bullying, alternative dispute resolution and social and emotional wellbeing.
What all of these case studies have in common is their strong focus on creating
culturally safe places to confront and/or prevent lateral violence.

(a) Naming
lateral violence

Naming lateral violence is the first step towards exerting control over it.
It is also a way of exercising agency and responsibility for our communities.
Naming lateral violence becomes an action of prevention.

As I have said in Chapter 2, we know that the conversation around lateral
violence is not an easy one. It means confronting those in our communities who
perpetrate lateral violence and holding them accountable for their actions. But
facing up to tough issues is not new for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities. There are many instances of communities confronting problems like
family violence or alcohol abuse with great courage.

Naming lateral violence is essentially a process of awareness-raising and
education. It is about giving communities:

  • the language to name laterally violent behaviour
  • the space to discuss its impact
  • the tools to start developing solutions.

The following case
studies highlight some of the emerging work in this area. Again, it is not a
definitive list but it highlights how different communities and organisations
have begun working in this area.

(i) Partnership between Native Counselling Services
of Alberta and the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

I was first exposed to the concept of lateral violence in my previous role at
the Co-operative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH). I attended the
Healing Our Spirit Worldwide movement held in Canada in 2006. The gathering was
hosted by the Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA). At this gathering I
saw how much the concept of lateral violence resonated with Indigenous peoples
from around the world. I’ve seen first-hand how powerful these sorts of
workshops on lateral violence can be.

Since 2006 Allen Benson and Patti La Boucane-Benson from the NCSA have
delivered lateral violence workshops at numerous events, conferences and
organisations in Australia including the Garma Festival, the National Indigenous
Health Awards, Menzies School of Health Research, the Victorian Aboriginal
Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Southern Cross
University.

The CRCAH developed a close relationship with NCSA and they have jointly
presented on lateral violence on several occasions in Australia. To the best of
my knowledge these workshops were the first time that the concept was introduced
to Australia in a formal way and have kick started many conversations in our
communities.

The CRCAH made lateral violence a research priority. A lateral violence
roundtable was convened by the CRCAH and co-hosted by the Kullunga Research
Network and NCSA in December 2008. The roundtable brought together 25 Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people with experience in lateral violence training
to develop a consensus for a lateral violence strategy.

A two day lateral violence course was piloted in Adelaide in 2009. I was a
facilitator of the program along with Yvonne Clark and Valerie Cooms. The
training was completed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in the
Department of Families, South Australia. This course has been the basis for many
of the lateral violence workshops that have followed.

(ii) Victorian lateral violence community education
project

The Koori Justice Unit in the Department of Justice, Victoria (Vic DOJ),
hosted a lateral violence workshop in April 2009 which was attended by 80 Koori
community and government representatives. As a result of this workshop the Koori
Justice Unit is now funding the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health
Organisation (VACCHO) to raise the profile of lateral violence through community
education strategies.

In June 2009, the Vic DOJ funded VACCHO to produce a DVD on lateral violence.
A Canadian DVD used in previous workshops was an excellent way to introduce
lateral violence but it was felt that a similar production needed to capture the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context and experience.

VACCHO asked Richard Frankland, one of the Australian experts in lateral
violence, to produce the DVD. The Silent Wars – Understanding Lateral
Violence
DVD was completed in August 2010. The 30 minute DVD uses
culturally-relevant hypothetical examples and features insight from respected
Koori community members. It explores the meaning of lateral violence, its
origins and impacts, and identifies strategies to reduce lateral violence. The
‘not-for-profit’ DVD has been distributed to VACCHO’s member
Aboriginal Health Organisations and other relevant stakeholders and will become
a much used resource in raising awareness about lateral violence.

The Vic DOJ has partnered with the Commonwealth Department of Families
Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) to provide further
funding to VACCHO, to utilise the DVD in a Lateral Violence Community Education
Project. I will discuss this project in greater detail later in the Chapter,
however, I do want to note the importance of this community education role being
placed in community controlled organisations like VACCHO. As I say again and
again, the conversations about and solutions to lateral violence must start in
our communities, not government, although government certainly has a role to
support these initiatives. Using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
from our own organisations will increase the cultural safety that is so
important in naming lateral violence.

(iii) Narrative therapy lateral violence
workshops

Naming lateral violence in our communities means sharing our stories about
lateral violence. The practice of narrative therapy takes this one step further,
using a culturally secure model of counselling and community work that empowers
participants to deal with lateral violence.

Narrative therapy draws on a strengths-based framework. Narrative therapy is
a respectful and empowering way of working with individuals, families and
communities and sees ‘people as the experts in their own lives and views
problems as separate from
people’.[17]

Viewing the problem as external from individuals is a very important shift in
counselling and community work because many other therapeutic models have been
based on western medical models that pathologise individuals, rather than look
at their strengths and resilience. When we consider the amount of negative
stereotypes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders face, this is a very
important step in helping to break the hold of negativity and give people the
confidence and tools to tackle problems like lateral violence.

Another implication of seeing the problem as separate from the person is that
it opens up new ways of talking about issues. Narrative therapy calls this
‘externalisation of the problem’, allowing participants to see the
impacts that problems have on their lives and possible solutions.

Barbara Wingard, a respected Aboriginal Health Worker and expert in narrative
therapy, has led work in South Australia around narrative therapy with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Barbara believes that narrative
therapy offers:

[A] way for Aboriginal counsellors to develop practices that are culturally
sensitive and appropriate. Many Aboriginal people have had put on them negative
stories about who they are. With narrative [therapy], we can go through their
journeys with them while they tell their stories, and acknowledged their
strengths in a re-empowering
way.[18]

Narrative therapy is also very interested in the historical, political,
economic and cultural factors that shape the stories in our lives. Again, this
helps to create context around problems like lateral violence.

Barbara Wingard, alongside colleagues Cheryl White and David Denborough from
Dulwich Centre, have been facilitating workshops where lateral violence has been
discussed. These workshops have taken place in Adelaide, Port Macquarie and
Cairns and have been attended by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and
non-Indigenous health workers working in Indigenous health, mental health, drug
and alcohol and youth services. These workshops have been based on a script for
an externalising exercise created by Barbara
Wingard.[19] The exercise is an
‘interview’ with lateral violence, with a person playing the
personification of lateral violence. While this sounds a little bit different
from the way we normally conduct workshops and training, Barbara Wingard has
seen how using this process of externalisation really assists people to speak
about confronting difficult problems and can also be a source of humour. Text
Box 4.3 provides an excerpt of the interview script.

Text Box 4.3: A conversation with lateral violence

Below is an extract from the interview devised by Barbara Wingard to be run
in workshops and community education activities about lateral violence.

Good afternoon Lateral Violence. It is really good to meet you in
person. You usually seem to be in the shadows, so we appreciate it that today we
can talk to you face to face. Can I ask you some questions?

Yes, go ahead.

What do you like to do?

I do my best work destroying people. I like to divide people and break
their spirits. I break communities and create nastiness between families because
people don’t know how to deal with me. I can create violence and big
punch-ups sometimes, hurting people and stabbing people. But often I use words
and stories more than physical violence to break spirits that way....

How long have you been trying to do this? How long have you been
around?

I’ve been around quite a long time now. The thing is, Aboriginal
people have to deal with racism, not being able to get housing or jobs. Many
Aboriginal people have to deal with poverty, with alcohol. Many families were
separated because of the Stolen Generations. Aboriginal people have faced so
many injustices in this country for over two hundred years and all these things
have made it much easier for me to do my work. I get into communities when they
are facing racism, poverty and injustice.

Because I’ve been around a long time, sometimes now I get carried on
through generations. I love this! I’m pretty sneaky because I make people
think I’m part of Aboriginal culture. I tell these lies and people believe
me. They now say this is Aboriginal way, our way. And this protects me. They
think I’m their way of dealing with things and this makes me very
happy.

What makes you powerful?

I reckon I’m doing my best work when I get families to fight against
one another. Or when I break down families. It’s fantastic when everybody
wants to take sides. This creates a bigger divide or division...I’m very
strong about culture. In some Aboriginal communities I try to get people of
Aboriginal heritage to be suspicious and judge each other by asking ‘who
is Aboriginal and who is not really Aboriginal?’...

What do you think about people knowing your name these days?

I kept my name secret for a very long time. It worked better for me when I
was undercover...this First Nations group in Canada, they noticed that I was
doing a lot of work in their community. So they started talking about me. They
even made a video about me. At first I felt quite proud about this, I quite
liked the idea of being a movie star.

But then they started to show this DVD in other places. They brought it
here to Australia and now Aboriginal people here seem to be noticing me more
often. They’re even holding workshops about me now. People are starting to
talk about how they confront nastiness but in nice ways...I think I was more
powerful when I was invisible and had no
name.[20]

Following the interview, participants are invited to share their own stories
of lateral violence. This workshop format shows that there are many different
ways for us to start talking about lateral violence. The important thing is that
they all take place in a space of cultural safety for participants.

(b) Confronting
bullying

Chapter 2 highlighted the pervasive impact of bullying in many areas of life.
Here I will focus on promising interventions in cyber bullying and the school
context.

Like all approaches to dealing with lateral violence, the first step is
naming the bullying and lateral violence in order to make it stop. However, we
also learn from these case studies that it is necessary to forge strong
partnerships with community and other organisations involved. In the case of the
cyber bullying project in Yuendumu we have seen collaboration between the
community groups, Police and the Department of Justice. In responding to
bullying of young people in schools we have seen a strong alliance between
schools, parents and children as part of the Solid Kids, Solid Schools project.

(i) Tackling cyber bullying in Yuendumu

The remote community of Yuendumu, which lies 293km north-west of Alice
Springs on the edge of the Tanami Desert, has faced tough times in recent
history. One of the largest remote communities in central Australia, the
majority of residents living in Yuendumu are from the Warlpiri clan. Yuendumu is
well known for its thriving artistic community and popular football team, the
Yuendumu Magpies.

However, late last year Yuendumu drew media attention for different reasons
when tensions within the Warlpiri people turned to violence after a 21-year-old
man was killed in a fight in a town camp in Alice Springs. This tragic death
brought the community to crisis, as members of the west camp sought traditional
payback for the death, and the south camp fled to Adelaide to escape the
violence that had erupted.

In the midst of this crisis mobile phones were used by young women to
perpetrate lateral violence through Telstra BigPond’s Diva Chat,
with emotionally charged messages flying between the camps. The anonymous
messages were a way of achieving ‘cyber payback’ by attacking and
provoking family rivals. This cyber payback spilled over into physical violence,
with men acting on the fights that happened online. At its worst, messages with
altered images of the deceased were sent through Diva Chat, an action
which violated Warlpiri cultural customs and appalled the community.

Determined to take action, community members turned to the local police for
help. But with no identifying information, the police struggled to hold
perpetrators accountable. Sergeant Tanya Mace from Yuendumu police station
describes that ‘my hands were tied. In the eyes of the people, the police
didn’t care’.[21] Desperate to stop the harassment, both camps even suggested shutting down the
mobile network entirely, and were willing to sacrifice the use of their mobile
phones.

Fortunately, with the help of Intelligence Officers in Katherine, Sergeant
Mace was able to get in contact with Air-G, the Canadian company who operate Diva Chat and convince them to take action. This contact was able to
identify the phone number associated with a user profile and once notified,
could shut that profile down within 24 hours.

Equipped with this new power, the police and community were able to develop a
reporting system that would help stop the lateral violence which continued to
fracture the community. Meetings were held with the two camps which allowed them
to establish their own laws for how the reporting system would work, and
nominate ‘Aunties and Elders’ so that young people could have
someone to go to and report offensive texts. The chosen representatives then
began to meet regularly with the police to report the usernames, so that
Sergeant Mace could contact Air-G in Canada and shut down the offending user
profiles.

Although the culture of shared phone usage still made it difficult to
identify specific individuals, the new system was successful in noticeably
reducing the bullying messages. The community felt safer and more confident that
the situation could be controlled. As Sergeant Mace explained, ‘The women
were happy because finally something was being
done’.[22]

When the exiled south clan returned to Yuendumu again in April, lateral
violence reared its ugly head again, and threats of riots were being made
through Diva Chat. Determined not to let the situation get out of hand,
Eileen Deemal-Hall from the Northern Territory Department of Justice, Sergeant
Mace and other community leaders held a meeting at the local police station with
young women from both camps. This meeting allowed young women to share their
experiences of lateral violence and explain how it affected them, and it allowed
Elders to deliver clear messages about culturally appropriate behaviour. This
behaviour was modelled through role plays, and young women were shown how to
stop perpetuating the cycle of lateral violence by ignoring provocative
messages.

Information about local programs and ways to get involved in the community
were also provided so that the young women could focus their energies elsewhere.
Nicki Davies, Co-ordinator of Mediation Services in Yuendumu, believes that this
kind of diversion is the key to stop bored and isolated residents from causing
trouble.

Whilst divisions still persist for some of the Warlpiri clan, most of the
community are keen to get on with things. Getting men re-engaged in the sport
which unites the community is one priority, ‘12 months ago all these
families were playing football together’ Nicki Davies
says.[23] Nicki Davies also has
plans to start a music group for Yuendumu’s residents to be able to
express their emotions about violence through songs.

Now the community turns to long term solutions to avoid the temptation of
lateral violence. Central Land Council’s ‘women’s
business’ meetings, and the recent government consultations on the
Northern Territory Emergency Response have given women the opportunity to come
together again and plan for Yuendumu’s future. Collaboration between the
Northern Territory Department of Justice, police and community groups through
the reporting system, meetings and workshops have built trust and confidence
between the groups. They continue to work together co-operatively to ensure that
young people experiencing and partaking in lateral violence can receive
education and assistance in a culturally safe and secure environment.

Although it has faced big challenges in the past year, the talented and
proactive families of Yuendumu are making progress, and the community continues
to build on its strengths and promote the proud Warlpiri culture it is best
known for. This is an excellent example, according to Eileen Deemal-Hall of
‘what a community in crisis can
achieve’.[24]

(ii) Solid Kids, Solid
Schools

Yamatji communities, families and
schools have been developing innovative ways to prevent bullying amongst young
people. Led by Associate Professor Juli Coffin from the Combined Universities
Centre for Rural Health (CUCRH), the Solid Kids, Solid Schools project
has built up strong evidence about the experience of bullying amongst Aboriginal
children, as well as developing new tools to prevent bullying.

Yamatji country is in the mid-west region of Western Australia and takes in
the area from Carnarvon in the north, to Meekatharra in the east and Jurien in
the South. This region covers almost one fifth of Western Australia. Of the
nearly 10 000 students in the mid-west education District, nearly 20% of the
students are Yamatji children and young
people.[25]

The Solid Kids, Solid Schools project began in 2006. The
project came out of the fact that while there is information on bullying of
non-Aboriginal children, virtually nothing was known about the experience of
bullying for Aboriginal children.

Solid Kids, Solid Schools is a joint project between the CUCRH, and
Child Health Promotion Research Centre at Edith Cowan University. The project
was funded by Healthway, an independent statutory body to the Western Australian
Government that provides funding grants for health promotion activities. A
further two years funding was also sourced from the Australian Research Council
to help develop resources after the more formative work and research had been
completed.

The Solid Kids, Solid Schools project became much more than just
research. In consultation with the Yamatji communities, the Solid Kids, Solid
Schools
project had a strong brief to develop tools for addressing bullying,
including a website, comic books and a DVD/teaching package based on the
research undertaken.

Critical in developing this approach was the Aboriginal Steering Group made
up of community leaders. The Aboriginal Steering Group was involved in each
phase of the project and provided a link between the researchers and community
which increased community ownership over the project. The Solid Kids, Solid
Schools
project is an example of best practice in conducting research with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities.[26] This also included
the employment of several male and female Aboriginal research assistants to help
make the interviews as culturally secure as possible.

During 2006 and 2007 around 260 people were involved in the Solid Kids,
Solid Schools
project through semi-structured interviews. Of these, 119 were
primary school students, 21 were high school students, 40 were parents and
caregivers, 18 were Elders and 60 were either Aboriginal teachers or Aboriginal
and Islander Education Officers
(AIEOs).[27] The participants came
from a variety of schools in the regional towns, rural and remote areas in the
mid-west. In the most part, the remote schools had up to 99% Aboriginal
enrolment while the regional towns and rural areas had lower levels of
Aboriginal enrolment.[28] The
research also included Karalundi Aboriginal Education Centre, an independent
boarding school for Aboriginal children from Kindergarten to Year 10, about 60km
from Meekatharra.

Some of the results of the Solid Kids, Solid Schools project are
discussed in Chapter 2 of this Report. The research showed without a doubt that
bullying, and primarily intra-racial bullying, was a pervasive problem for
Yamatji children, with serious consequences for their education and community
life. I applaud the researchers in developing robust evidence, as well as such
sensitive ways of hearing the experiences of children, families and AIEOs.

The research phase of the Solid Kids, Solid Schools project was just
the starting point. In 2008 the Solid Kids, Solid Schools project ran
community focus groups to plan for sustainable school and community based
bullying prevention programs. By 2009, the Solid Kids, Solid Schools project was able to incorporate all the feedback from the past three years to
roll out the programs. The quality of community engagement and the creation of a
culturally secure environment have meant that the voices of Yamatji children,
young people, parents and AIEOs are reflected in the programs created through
this process.

Solid Kids, Solid Schools website

The Solid Kids, Solid Schools website (www.solidkids.net.au) is a dynamic source
of information about bullying, with pages tailored directly for children and
young people (‘Solid Kids’), parents and care givers (‘Solid
Families’) and schools (‘Solid Schools’). It incorporates
artwork by Aboriginal artists, Jilalga Murry-Ranui and Allison Bellottie and
promotes Yamatji culture.

The ‘Solid Kids’ web page has easy to read, age appropriate
information including practical ways children and young people can get help with
bullying. It also includes a game and a series of comics designed by a young
Aboriginal woman, Fallon Gregory, which deal with issues around bullying.

As well as the comics, the website also provides a place for creative
expressions on bullying. Text Box 4.4 is a poem, ‘Diva Chat’ by Nola
Gregory, a well respected Aboriginal youth worker who offers education and
support to children and young people in the Geraldton area.

Text Box 4.4: Diva Chat by Nola Gregory

Snide remarks and innuendo
Running rampant in our town
They say
it’s in the name of fun
To run somebody down
But it’s not that
funny to those out there
Who constantly put up with the crap
To have to
wear your unkind remarks
When you sink as low as that

That diva chat
they say it’s great
And it’s really cheap as well
They get on
there and go to town
their stories they love to tell
but do you people
realize
your hurting someone out there
with your unkind words and trash
talk
do you give a damn, do you care

I don’t know if you know
this
But to be on diva chat
You have to be 18 years old
Did any of
you know that
All it starts is trouble

In the end the fights will
start
So how about you stop and think
Before you play your
part.[29]

‘Solid Families’, provides practical advice about talking to
children (4-12 years) and young people (13-20 years) about bullying, as well as
ways of working with schools to address bullying. The information includes
quotes from parents involved in the research and is empowering to parents.

‘Solid Schools’ includes information drawn from ‘Sharing
Days’ held in Geraldton, Meekatharra, Shark Bay and Carnarvon in 2008,
attended by AIEOs and Aboriginal teachers to discuss ways to support Yamatji
children involved in bullying.[30] These ‘Sharing Days’ brought together great experience and wisdom
about bullying and Aboriginal education more broadly and form the basis of the Solid Kids, Solid Schools approach to developing partnerships with
Aboriginal families, schools and students.

As well as easy to read summary information and tips, the ‘Solid
Schools’ section includes a comprehensive review of bullying and related
issues. The review gets schools, including AIEOs and Aboriginal parents to
critically and holistically look at whether or not the school is providing an
environment where bullying is being addressed appropriately. The 10 areas of
focus are:

  1. solid school planning

  2. solid school ethos

  3. solid family links

  4. solid understandings of cultural security

  5. solid understandings about bullying

  6. solid guidelines and agreements

  7. solid management of bullying situations

  8. solid classroom practice

  9. solid peer support

  10. solid school environment.

The review tools are not just specific
to Yamatji children and could be used in any school community that includes
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, particularly where there is
evidence of bullying.

Educational DVD

A DVD, We all Solid, also helps to communicate the messages about
bullying to Aboriginal children and young people. Again, the DVD is by and for
the Yamatji children, youth and the wider community and reflects some of the
main stories that were raised during the research. It is envisaged that the DVD
will be widely distributed, making it a complementary education tool to the
website.

Teaching package

A comprehensive teaching package aimed at middle to upper primary and high
school ages up to year ten has also been developed to complement the DVD
resource. It contains a mix of structured and semi-structured activities and
workshop ideas for teachers, counsellors and youth workers for example in
dealing with these issues.

Social marketing

The project has recently secured three years of funding from Healthway to
develop social marketing tools for use with the wider community on the issues of
bullying. This next phase involves developing some infomercials, print media and
radio messages around the issues and implications of bullying.

The Solid Kids, Solid Schools project has been recognised for the
contribution it has already made, winning the Outstanding Achievement Award for
the Injury Control Council’s Annual Community Safety Award in 2010. The
project shows us what is possible when we hear what communities think about
tough issues like bullying. Juli Coffin describes the impact of the project:

Although our research is still a work in progress, we are beginning to see
more clearly the picture of life faced by our [Yamaji] children within schooling
and community settings... This information is just the beginning and it was only
possible with the strength and support of the Yamaji community, [who are]
already leaders in making things better for their
kids.[31]

(c) Dispute
resolution

In Chapter 2, I discussed how the process of colonisation undermined our
traditional ways of resolving conflicts based on our complex customary laws.
When thinking about lateral violence, it is important to never lose sight of the
fact that our people managed to coexist for over 70 000 years before the
Europeans arrived. This fact makes me confident that we can once again enjoy a
life where conflict is properly managed and lateral violence does not rule our
communities.

However, we can’t just wind back the clock to the time before
colonisation. Not all of our traditional dispute resolution processes will fit
in today’s world. We live in a world bound by the western legal system.
This impacts on how we can resolve our conflicts. As the National Dispute
Resolution Advisory Council (NDRAC) notes:

In contemporary society, Indigenous people live in two overlapping worlds,
the western and traditional, and neither is fully capable of dealing with
disputes involving Indigenous people. Purely western models of dispute
resolution are often incongruent with the culture of Indigenous people and fail
to meet many of their needs. At the same time, European colonisation has
weakened many traditional ways of resolving disputes between Indigenous
people.[32]

Similarly, we also now face problems like alcohol abuse and indeed, lateral
violence that did not exist before colonisation. Again the NDRAC notes that:

[T]raditional structures may not be well equipped to deal with western
problems, such as alcohol abuse. Weakened traditional processes are being
confronted by new problems outside past
experience.[33]

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has been identified as a potential for
dealing with community conflicts. Text Box 4.5 provides a definition of ADR.

Text Box 4.5: What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

The NDRAC defines ADR as:

Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR is usually an umbrella term for
processes, other than judicial determination, in which an impartial person (an
ADR practitioner) assists those in a dispute to resolve the issues between them.
ADR is commonly used as an abbreviation for alternative dispute resolution, but
can also mean assisted or appropriate dispute resolution. The main
types of ADR are mediation, arbitration and conciliation...

ADR processes may be facilitative, advisory, determinative or, in some cases, a combination of these. The ADR
practitioner in a facilitative process, such as mediation, uses a variety of
methods to assist parties to identify the issues and reach an agreement about
the dispute. Advisory processes, such as conciliation or expert appraisal,
employ a practitioner to more actively advise the parties about the issues and
range of possible outcomes. A process can be selected to best suit a particular
dispute.

There is currently no comprehensive legislative framework for the operation
of ADR in Australia. Many different laws govern the operation of ADR in the
different Australian
jurisdictions.[34]

However, it is important to note that disputes or conflicts are never finally
resolved, even with the best ADR processes in the world. In successful
processes, conflict is transformed to something that both parties can live with,
but it never truly goes away because individuals and communities have to live
with the impact of the original conflict. Nonetheless, it is still important to
put in place healthier ways of dealing with conflict through dialogue to prevent
further impacts into the future.

ADR has been an area of research and program development with Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people since the 1990s. In particular, the Solid Work
You Mob Are Doing
report by the Federal Court studies a selection of
promising ADR methods, including mediations in urban, rural and remote
communities in a range of contexts including Community Justice Centres,
Community Justice Groups and community controlled
organisations.[35] They found that
successful programs managed to bridge the divide between Western law and our
cultural ways.

Dispute resolution has also been a focus of research in the native title
system. More information about the dispute resolution developments and their
connection to lateral violence can be found in the Native Title Report
2011
.

The case studies that I will highlight here, the Mornington Island
Restorative Justice Project and the Victorian Community Mediators, chart new
ways forward in this complex intersection between Western law and customary law.
While these projects come from very different places, they both create
culturally safe places for conflict to be resolved. This is the ‘pointy
end’ of lateral violence intervention. If we can start to resolve some of
the feuds that have spanned generations, we can break the cycle of lateral
violence. Importantly, these sorts of projects also prevent lateral violence
through the creation of cultural safety and the reestablishment of our positive
cultural norms.

(i) Mornington Island Restorative Justice
Project

The Mornington Island Restorative Justice (MIRJ) Project is one of only a
handful of ADR projects working specifically with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders. The project tells the story of a remote community taking back control
of how they handle conflict and progressively creating culturally safe places to
address the consequences of lateral violence.

Mornington Island

Mornington Island is the largest Island in the Wellesley Island group,
located in the lower Gulf of Carpentaria. The surrounding waters supports the
ongoing hunting tradition and is an important component of family life and
household economy. It is an extremely remote community, approximately 125km
north-west of Burketown, 200km west of Karumba and 444km north of Mt Isa.
Mornington Island is home to around 1 100 people.

The traditional owners of
Mornington Island are the Lardil people. The Lardil people had limited contact
with the outside world until the 1900s when a Uniting Church Mission was
established on Mornington Island. As we have seen in the case study on Palm
Island in Chapter 2, the creation of missions under the Aboriginal Protection
and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897
(Qld) saw other Aboriginal
groups forcibly removed from their land and relocated to these mission and
reserves. Consequently, Mornington Island is now also home to the Yangkaal,
Kaiadilt and Gangalidda people.

Establishing cultural safety in the MIRJ

The MIRJ project was established in 2008. Initially funded by the
Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department under the Indigenous Justice
Program, it is managed by the Dispute Resolution Branch in the Queensland
Department of Justice and Attorney General. Since July 2009 the Commonwealth and
Queensland governments have funded the project jointly. It is still a pilot
project and is yet to secure long term funding.

The MIRJ project is a mediation or peacemaking service that recognises and
respects kinship and culture while still meeting the requirements of the
criminal justice system. The objectives of the project are to:

  • enhance the capacity of the community to deal with and manage its own
    disputes without violence by providing training, support, supervision and
    remuneration for mediators

  • reduce Indigenous peoples’ contact with the formal criminal justice
    system

  • encourage community ownership of the program

  • improve the justice system’s responsiveness to the needs of the
    community

  • increase the satisfaction with the justice system for victims, offenders,
    their families and the broader
    community.[36]

The
development of the process is an important beginning in the story of the MIRJ
project. The project only became operational in September 2009, following
lengthy consultation and negotiation processes between 2008-2009. Around 200
community members, representing all the major groups on the Mornington Island,
actively participated, as well as the other government and criminal justice
stakeholders. The Project Manager, Phil Venables, sees the fact that an
appropriate amount of time was allowed as crucial in building the trust and
partnership with the community.[37]

As result of consultations, 28 Elders signed a document agreeing to the
practice and procedures for the MIRJ project. Text Box 4.6 is from the document
signed by Elders and explains what peacemaking is and what sorts of conflicts go
to peacemaking.

Text Box 4.6: Peacemaking

Below is an extract from the process for mediation prepared with the
Elders:

Mornington Island Peacemaking will be run by respected Elders in
partnership with the Mediation Coordinator for Mornington Island, Dispute
Resolution Branch of the Department of Justice and Attorney General (Justice
Department).

It will be run according to the rules of mediation established by the
Elders and the cultural protocols of the families who live on Mornington
Island.

If a mediator from the Justice Department is running the meeting with
Elders it has the protection of a law called the Dispute Resolution Centres
Act
. This law allows the Justice Department to run mediations in
Queensland.

What is Peacemaking?

Peacemaking is a meeting between two people or two families in conflict.
Elders and the right family members help them to talk respectfully to each other
to sort it out between themselves.

It is not a community court where people are found innocent or
guilty or get punished. It is where conflict is put right by agreement, where
hurt is healed and relationships are restored.

What conflicts can go to peacemaking?

Most people sort out their own conflicts and don’t need help.
Peacemaking is for two people or two families who are in conflict and need help
to sort it out.

Most conflicts can go to peacemaking if both families are willing to sort
out their conflict and put it right. However, when people are charged with
serious offences or there is domestic violence, the Elders and Police agree that
these are best dealt with by the courts and not by peacemaking.

However, people who want to make their relationships better may agree to go
for peacemaking to sort out other problems but violence in a relationship must
be dealt with by the court.

Peacemaking or mediation can help sort out disputes or fights over money,
when property has been damaged, when people have been assaulted (but not
seriously) [and excluding most family violence] or when there is jealousy and
harmful talk being spread.

Steps for Peacemaking

Step 1. Elders or the mediation coordinator are asked to sort out a
conflict

Step 2. The right Elders go with the mediation coordinator consult with
both families

Step 3. Decide to go ahead or call off the peacemaking meeting

Step 4. Help families get ready for peacemaking

Step 5. Set up the peacemaking meeting

Step 6. Conduct the peacemaking meeting

Step 7. Learning from the experience

Step 8. Keeping to the
agreement.[38]

Establishing the rules was seen by the Elders as a way of connecting back
with traditional ways of doing things. Ashley Gavenor, a prominent community
member stated:

You need rules [for peacemaking] just like the rules for sharing a turtle.
Everyone knows what they are. The way back to those rules for peacemaking is by
doing it every day. Then talk about it and get better at it. You just do it and
do it and people will get used to
it.[39]

It is also an attempt to reconcile western and tradition laws with one Elder
describing the process:

We will get our rules (for peacemaking) and show you what they are and you
tell us your rules...then we can mix them up and make them strong
together.[40]

Cultural safety has been the consistent theme during the MIRJ project,
starting with the formative involvement of Elders and then the recruitment of
four male and four female Elders as Mediation Support Officers. They are paid at
the same level as all mediators in the Department of Justice. They are not
required to have formal accreditation as mediators, recognising that their skill
in mediation comes from their cultural background and ability to provide a
culturally safe process for participants.

The MIRJ project draws significantly on cultural and kinship traditions.
Nearly all mediations involve extended family. Project staff aim to give
participants control over who are the appropriate people to attend. For example,
the uncle known as Gagu (mother’s eldest brother in Lardil language) has a
traditional disciplinarian role. Their attendance at the mediation signals the
importance of the meeting.

Mediations do not just take place in the MIRJ office. A community member,
Delma Loogatha describes some of the different locations:

Some [mediations] are real traditional, where you go to the festival grounds
traditional site for square up] or for safety, out front of the police station.
Sometimes it is better for a quiet mediation at
home.[41]

Successes of the MIRJ Project

The MIRJ project has now successfully dealt with 63 major conflicts. Of
these, 28 related to family conflict, 20 were court referred victim-offender
mediations and 15 dealt with conflict in other ways (not necessarily through a
formal mediation).

Critical to the community support for the MIRJ project were early successes
in resolving large and significant inter-family disputes. These mediation
meetings involved 70 participants in one mediation meeting and 100 in another.
This sort of crisis intervention helped to defuse the tension before it got
further out of hand. Similarly, the fact that more than half of the referrals
are being made by community members tells the story of the community acceptance
and cultural safety created by the project.

Another measure of the confidence in MIRJ project is the willingness of
courts to refer matters, including more serious assaults. In three recent cases
where the prosecution had submitted for a custodial sentence, the Magistrate
ordered a non-custodial sentence citing the defendant’s successful
participation in mediation as a reason for the decision. Similarly, of the 16
successfully fulfilled court ordered mediations, eight had their charges
withdrawn by the prosecutor and eight received a reduced penalty because of
their successful participation in
mediation.[42]

Although the number of court ordered mediations is currently comparatively
low, it is still an important step in creating diversion opportunities from the
criminal justice system. Furthermore, it also makes offenders accountable to
their victims and community and is focused on resolution of the issues, not just
locking people up. The Elders have also expressed their appreciation that they
have been able to have input in prosecution decisions to withdraw charges
following successful completion of mediated agreements. This is seen as tangible
support for the Elders efforts to strengthen their leadership in the
community.

The MIRJ project is still only a pilot program and is yet to secure long term
funding. Given the successes and amount of time and goodwill that both the
community and Department of Justice and the Commonwealth
Attorney-General’s Department have invested so far, it is crucial that
this project continues as a way of addressing lateral violence.
The project
is working in partnership with the community based Junkuri Laka Justice
Association over the coming year to take over the coordination of mediation and
provide more community ownership and sustainability. Work is continuing in
relation to ongoing funding.

The MIRJ project shows us what communities, with assistance from government,
can do to resolve conflicts. It also speaks to the inherent strengths of our
people. Phil Venables, the project manager, reflects, ‘much is made of
grudges and payback but not much is made or people’s capacity for
forgiveness’.[43] We should
never lose sight of the strength of forgiveness in addressing lateral
violence.

(ii) Koori Mediation Model: The Loddon-Mallee
pilot

Since the 1990s ADR programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities have been developed in a number of
locations.[44] Although the Koori
Mediation Model is not operational until October 2011, it is the first program
of its kind to specifically address lateral violence.

Development of the Koori Mediation Model

The Koori Justice Unit, within the Vic DOJ’s Community Operations and
Strategy Branch, is primarily responsible for coordinating the development and
delivery of Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice
policies and programs across the Victorian Government and justice system,
primarily the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement. In April 2009, the
Koori Justice Unit hosted a two-day seminar on lateral violence, as discussed
earlier in this Chapter.

One of the specific outcomes of the April 2009 seminar, was the development
of a Koori Mediation Model by the Courts and Tribunals, in conjunction with the
Koori Justice Unit and Koori Caucus members. This was subsequently endorsed at
the Aboriginal Justice Forum in May 2009. Koori mediation was identified as an
important gap in existing services and a potentially effective response to
lateral violence when it occurs in the community.

The next step was a workshop that was held on 13 August 2009. Jointly hosted
by the Koori Justice Unit and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directorate
(ADRD), it provided an opportunity for members of the Koori Caucus to begin
discussion on a Koori Mediation Model. The objectives of the meeting were to
conceptualise what a Koori model of mediation might be, and to set a future
direction.

On the strength of that work a pilot program was developed and funded for the
Loddon-Mallee region.

The Loddon-Mallee pilot

The Loddon-Mallee area, in the north-west corner of Victoria, takes in the
major rural centres of Mildura, Robinvale, Swan Hill, Echuca and Bendigo. The
area has the second highest regional population of Aboriginal people in
Victoria, making up 15% of Victoria’s total Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander population. The traditional owners of the Loddon-Mallee area are the
Wamba-Wamba people.

The Loddon-Mallee area was chosen for the pilot due to the reported problems
caused by lateral violence and receptiveness of local community organisations to
the concept.

The pilot Koori Mediation Model in Loddon-Mallee is being driven by ADRD. It
funds two full time Dispute Assessment Officer positions, based in Bendigo and
Mildura (Identified Positions) and a Regional Manager.

It is envisaged that the holder of these positions will coordinate five local
Lateral Violence community workshops/forums to raise awareness on lateral
violence and to help identify local community members who may be interested in
being trained in Koori mediation and conflict resolution. The workshops will be
facilitated by Richard Frankland, who has had a leading role in running prior
workshops, developing relevant resource materials and undertaking research in
the area of lateral violence. The workshops will be run in the five main centres
of the Loddon-Mallee region: Mildura, Robinvale, Swan Hill, Echuca and Bendigo.

When interested community people have been identified as potential Koori
mediators, training will be provided in two models of response to lateral
violence: (i) conflict resolution, and (ii) mediation. The conflict resolution
approach is less formal and may enable situations to be defused without being
taken further. The mediation approach is more structured, and is suitable for
those needing a more formal process, or for situations where conflict resolution
has not been sufficient.

Once trained, these people will function as a ‘pool’ of Koori
mediators for the Loddon-Mallee region. The Dispute Assessment Officers will
coordinate and support the mediators, and match them with the referrals that are
received. A particular strength of this model is that due to the geographic
spread of communities from which the mediator pool will be drawn, there should
always be an independent mediator available, ie one who is not connected by kin,
proximity or circumstance to the lateral violence incidents that will be
referred to the service. It is also envisaged that the Dispute Assessment
Officers will coordinate opportunities for peer support between the
mediators.

An expanded Koori Mediation Model: The vision for
Victoria

If funds can be secured for a state-wide roll-out of the Koori Mediation
Program, the ideal structure has been identified as follows:

  • Several Dispute Assessment Officers in each region, at least one being a dedicated position to support the Koori Mediation Model.

  • Capacity to provide regular lateral violence workshops in all
    locations, (rather than localised “one-offs” to get the program
    started). This would create a permanent community awareness-raising mechanism
    and enable new Koori mediators to be continuously identified to replace those
    who move on.

  • Capacity to provide ongoing training and wraparound support to all
    mediators. This remains one of the most vital determinants of the quality of
    the program, because the value of the Koori Mediation Model to the community
    will depend upon the skill and sensitivity of the mediators
    themselves.

Now that the Dispute Assessment Officer positions have
been filled, it is hoped that the Loddon-Mallee Koori Mediation Program pilot
will commence in October 2011, and demonstrate how a community-driven response
to lateral violence can improve the wellbeing and safety of Koori communities in
Victoria.

(d) Healing and social
and emotional wellbeing

Chapter 2 has discussed some of the ways the social and emotional wellbeing
impacts of lateral violence are felt. At its most tragic extreme is the high
level of suicide and suicide attempts in our communities, compared to the
non-Indigenous population. The case study below, of the Family Empowerment
Project in Yarrabah, was developed as a direct response to this increased risk.

Lateral violence requires healing approaches. The Social Justice Report
2008
provides a detailed selection of case studies of community initiatives
creating culturally safe healing
spaces.[45] Many of these sorts of
programs can help in healing the harm caused by lateral violence. Healing
approaches also challenge negative stereotypes, making our culture strong and
safe enough to prevent lateral violence.

The Family Empowerment Program in Yarrabah is a great example of a community
generated program that focuses on the healing needs of participants. Although it
was not set up to explicitly address lateral violence, by building conflict
resolution skills, dealing with trauma, grief and loss and promoting strong
culture, it attacks lateral violence on a number of fronts.

(i) The Family Wellbeing Program

The Family Wellbeing Program is a community led initiative implemented in
Yarrabah responding to a spate of suicides and suicide attempts in the
mid-1990s.[46] It empowers
individuals and families to try and prevent suicide and increase social and
emotional wellbeing. This can also help address lateral violence.

Yarrabah is a coastal community located approximately 50km south of Cairns.
The Gunggandji and Yidinji people are the traditional owners of the lands around
Yarrabah.[47] Yarrabah has a
population of approximately 3 000 residents.

In 1892 a mission was established in Yarrabah leading to the forcible removal
of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from surrounding
areas.[48] This has had long lasting
consequences for the community of Yarrabah. For instance, the lack of adequate
housing in Yarrabah has meant that that ‘enemies often found that they had
each other as
neighbours’.[49]

Forcible removal of children from their families has also had a big impact on
the community of Yarrabah with up to 80% of the population either members of
Stolen Generations or descended from Stolen Generations
members.[50]

Yarrabah has struggled with many of the same issues facing our communities,
including family violence, alcohol abuse and unemployment but they have also
courageously decided to tackle suicide and family wellbeing, despite the
difficult circumstances.

Description of the Family Wellbeing Program

The Family Wellbeing program was first established in Adelaide by Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander leaders who wanted to help our people deal with the
transgenerational grief, loss and despair being experienced a result of
colonisation.[51] Due to its success
the program was adapted into other communities including Yarrabah.

The Family Wellbeing Program in Yarrabah grew out of consultation with
Yarrabah community leaders who wanted to establish a program where they could
pass on life skills and values in ‘overcoming adversity and maintaining a
strong sense of family in the face of hostile dominant
culture’[52] as a means of
suicide prevention. The Family Wellbeing Program in Yarrabah is run by the
Gurriny Yealamucka Health
Services.[53]

The program uses empowerment, capacity building, and conflict resolution to
achieve better social and emotional wellbeing. [54] The Family Wellbeing Program
focuses on:

  • empowering participants

  • life and relationship skills

  • communication

  • conflict resolution skills

  • problem solving skills

  • understanding and gaining control over conditions affecting participants
    lives

  • social and emotional
    wellbeing.[55]

The
Family Wellbeing Program in Yarrabah also has a strong focus on leadership
skills that can be applied in community and family
contexts.[56]

It employs activities such as walking groups, healing art camps, men’s
groups and recently a one-day men’s forum on justice issues, as part of
its holistic approach to addressing the emotional and social wellbeing of its
participants as well as lateral
violence.[57]

The Family Wellbeing program also looks at grief, loss and trauma and ways of
dealing with these issues.[58] The
development of anger management skills, coping strategies, problem solving and
conflict resolution skills, provides opportunities for individuals to become
increasingly connected and minimise the divisions that colonisation has created
within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities.[59]

The program provides participants with a culturally safe environment to
discuss their experiences and reflect on their feelings, emotions and
relationships. Darren Miller, co-ordinator of the Family Wellbeing Program in
Yarrabah, states that participants have drawn on their own life experiences in
sharing possible solutions in dealing with some of the issues around lateral
violence. This process of healing, self-reflection and understanding is a
powerful tool in combating lateral violence as it empowers participants to deal
with life’s challenges, manage family
conflict[60] and identify the
strength and resourcefulness they have as individuals and as a
community.[61]

Men in the Yarrabah community have used the skills they have gained in the
Program to lead and facilitate community events such as NAIDOC Week. They have
assumed responsibility and become role models to Yarrabah’s young people,
passing on their knowledge, values, culture and traditions. As a result, young
people in Yarrabah have become increasingly engaged in traditional and cultural
activities such as camps, hunting and fishing. Young people in Yarrabah have
also utilised the skills they have learnt in areas such as art and assisting in
the design of programs.[62] These
sorts of activities create cultural safety and cultural revitalisation in
communities. The Family Wellbeing Program is showing that strong culture is a
powerful way of preventing lateral violence.

Success of the Family Wellbeing Program

A number of studies have favourably evaluated the effectiveness of Family
Wellbeing Program in increasing capacity and empowerment, improving social and
emotional wellbeing and reducing violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities. The reported success of the Family Wellbeing Program in
addressing these issues has made it one of the most sought-after and recognised
Indigenous empowerment and skill development
programs.[63]

David Baird, Chief Executive Officer, Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services
Aboriginal Corporation, states that there is anecdotal evidence that the Family
Wellbeing Program is helping participants change their lives. He reports
participants giving up drinking, and smoking, staying out of jail and the
criminal justice system and a reduction in family violence as evidence of the
positive impact the Family Wellbeing Program is having on those that take part
in it.[64]

Research studies have shown that participants in the program have reported an
improvement in family relationships, increased connectedness with children and
community, healthier lifestyles and being more at
peace[65].

The resulting connectedness and empowerment has increased participants
respect for self and others, self-reflection and awareness, hope and vision for
a better future, self-care and healing, enhanced parenting, and capacity to deal
with substance abuse and
violence.[66]

Identity and spirituality were seen by many to be central in dealing with
contemporary issues, such as lateral violence, facing Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander communities.[67] One
participant stated:

Because all of our culture was taken away from us, there was no way of really
keeping a clear picture of our spirituality. There are all different beliefs as
well with the stolen generation (male participant, Yarrabah, 2005
data).[68]

The program has helped participants to identify their strengths and in
particular, the resourcefulness of the Stolen Generation in overcoming
hardships.[69] This has enabled
participants to take ‘the necessary steps towards reasserting their
identity’.[70]

The skills and healing gained from the Family Wellbeing Program has led some
participants to be more active in the
community.[71] Some participants
have gone on to form networks that have addressed issues around health, school
attendance, family violence, alcohol and drug misuse, and over representation of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in the criminal justice
system.[72] This is where we see the
ripple effects of healing and empowerment, with individuals taking
responsibility to be part of the solution to some of the issues facing the
community.

While the Family Wellbeing Program has made positive impacts in the lives of
participants, it can’t solve all the problems facing the community of
Yarrabah. Issues around funding and structural disadvantage such as
over-crowding and unemployment have to be addressed. Darren Miller adds that the
program would reach its full potential with the introduction of complementary
activities and programs.[73]

Nonetheless, the Family Wellbeing Program shows us how communities can
confront complex problems by drawing on holistic healing methods which blends
cultural renewal and spirituality with conflict resolution and other problem
solving skills. Most importantly, it empowers participants because it is
culturally safe, taking a zero tolerance approach to lateral violence.

4.4 Creating cultural
competency

Having looked at some approaches that are addressing lateral violence at the
community level, I will now look at the role of governments, NGOs and industry
who work in our communities. This is necessary because nothing occurs in a
vacuum. The way our communities operate will always be shaped and informed by
external influences. These influences can either empower and support our
communities or undermine them.

Given that this Report’s purpose is to start a conversation, again this
section is not exhaustive and requires further empirical research. However, the
case studies and analysis, promote good practices that are occurring and
identify key challenges to be addressed.

Governments, NGOs and industry cannot ‘fix’ lateral violence
through intervention; this will only exacerbate the issue. Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander relationships must be fixed ourselves, from within our
communities. However, this does not absolve these external stakeholders of
responsibilities to:

  • remove the road blocks that inhibit Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander
    peoples from taking control

  • refrain from actions and processes that divide us

  • create environments where our cultural difference is respected and
    nurtured

  • remove the structural impediments to healthy relationships in our
    communities.

To meet these responsibilities governments, NGOs and
industry must be sufficiently culturally competent to act in accordance with
Juli Coffin’s model of cultural security that I outlined earlier in the
Chapter. Under this model, cultural competency extends beyond individual
awareness to incorporate systems-level change. The definition outlined in Text
Box 4.7 encapsulates this breadth.

Text Box 4.7: Cultural competence

The National Health and Medical Research Council define cultural competence
as:

Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviours, attitudes, and
policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and
enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in
cross-cultural situations. Cultural competence is much more than awareness of
cultural differences, as it focuses on the capacity of the health system to
improve health and wellbeing by integrating culture into the delivery of health
services.

To become more culturally competent, a system needs to:

  • value diversity
  • have the capacity for cultural self-assessment
  • be conscious of the dynamics that occur when cultures interact
  • institutionalise cultural knowledge
  • adapt service delivery so that it reflects an understanding of the diversity
    between and within
    cultures.[74]

A broad conception of cultural competency akin with Juli Coffin’s model
of cultural security does not occur just in the parts of an organisation
responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and service
delivery. Creating true cultural competency is an organisation-wide process. In
regard to government service delivery, this requires building the capacity of
all those involved in policy formation and implementation: from the Minister,
through to policy makers right down to the on-the-ground staff who implement the
policy.

(a) Moving towards
cultural competency

The health services sector has produced a burgeoning body of research on the
concept of cultural competency. Terry Cross’ research in the United States
has led to the development of a cultural continuum for mental health
practitioners to increase their competence in working with minority
populations.[75]

Tracey Westerman’s research focusing on service providers working with
Aboriginal youths at risk has validated this continuum in the Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander context.[76] VACCA’s Aboriginal Cultural Competency Framework which guides
mainstream child and family services towards cultural competency also
incorporates a continuum which is outlined below in Figure
4.1.[77]

Figure 4.1 – Cultural competence
continuum
[78]
Figure 4.1 Cultural Competence Continuum

Similarly, Juli Coffin’s model of cultural security also recognises
that cultural competency is on a continuum. She argues that awareness and safety
mechanisms need to be supported by brokerage and protocols to progress to
cultural security.

Brokerage involves two-way communication where both parties are fully
informed about the subject matter in discussion – this is consistent with
the principle of free, prior and informed consent. Brokerage is about creating
community networks between service providers and community members. Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander staff employed by the service provider can play a
crucial role as brokers to develop these networks. Text Box 4.8 provides an
example from the Solid Kids, Solid Schools program of how AIEOs can
broker networks.

Text Box 4.8: Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers as brokers

The Solid Kids, Solid Schools program outlines how AIEOs play an
important role in developing relationships of trust between the Aboriginal
members of the school community and the school, which is necessary to addressing
bullying within schools.

AIEOs can be utilised as ‘brokers’ by:

  • meeting with parents and carers at their home
  • organising school events that celebrate Aboriginal culture (e.g. NAIDOC week
    activities)
  • co-ordinating inter-sectoral collaboration (e.g. with local police)
  • creating a friendly and welcoming area on the school grounds for Aboriginal
    students and parents and carers
  • supporting Aboriginal students attending the school
  • attending all meetings involving Aboriginal students and/or family members
    with school staff (acting as a mediator when
    necessary).[79]

Networks and relationship building must be supported by protocols. Protocols
are the strategies to formalise the fact that service delivery must be developed
in consultation with the particular
community.[80] Protocols include
agreement on culturally informed practices that set rules for engagement with a
particular community in relation to the delivery of services. Text Box 4.9
provides a practical example of a protocol.

Text Box 4.9: Protocols shaping service delivery

The example below, drawn from Juli’s Coffin’s work, is a
protocol between midwives and an Aboriginal community. It indicates how
protocols establish patterns of behaviour that meet the specific communities
needs and internal processes for making decisions.

After talking with the Aboriginal health worker, midwives discovered that
the older ladies were the ones to speak to in relation to the young pregnant
women. Now whenever anything with the young Mums arises there is an established
point of contact to the older women first – thus an assurance is created
for cultural security. Community leaders are made aware of the situation and
involved. Community participation can then be progressed beyond just
'involvement'. Communities become partners in an equitable, culturally secure
provision of service, This is the pathway to cultural
security.[81]

In developing the cultural competency of an agency or organisation VACCA
argues it is essential to remember that cultural competency:

  • needs to be developed over time

  • requires a whole-of-agency approach and be driven by strong leadership
    within the agency

  • relies on respectful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    organisations

  • requires personal and organisational reflection

  • is an ongoing journey and partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander
    communities.[82]

The key
lesson that can be drawn from this body of literature is that creating cultural
security through cultural competency is not something that an agency or
organisation can simply purchase off a shelf. Cultural competency must be built
over time through a deliberate process that seeks to build the capacity of the
entire organisation, and this must be done in partnership with Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander communities.

Next I further explore how cultural competency can create engagements that
strengthen and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

(b) Hearing Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander voices

In Chapter 2 I have already discussed how poor engagement processes can
contribute to conditions that lead to lateral violence. In this section I will
look at how governments, NGOs and industry can undertake their work with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in a culturally secure manner
to prevent lateral violence. First and foremost, they must ensure that they hear
our voices. This is consistent with Juli Coffin’s concepts of brokerage
and protocols and requires effective engagement.

(i) The commitment to engage

There is a clear policy commitment across all governments in Australia to
engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Council of
Australian Governments’ (COAG) National Indigenous Reform Agreement is the benchmark agreement for Indigenous policy activity in Australia and
includes an Indigenous Engagement
Principle.[83] This principle is
outlined in Text Box 4.10.

Text Box 4.10: Indigenous Engagement Principle

The Indigenous Engagement Principle guides COAG in the design and delivery
of Indigenous specific and mainstream services provided to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people and in the development of national level agreements and
reform proposals.

Indigenous engagement principle: Engagement with Indigenous men,
women and children and communities should be central to the design and delivery
of programs and services. In particular, attention is to be given to:

  • (a) recognising that strong relationships/partnerships between government,
    community and service providers increase the capacity to achieve identified
    outcomes and work towards building these relationships
  • (b) engaging and empowering Indigenous people who use Government services,
    and the broader Indigenous community in the design and delivery of programs and
    services as appropriate
  • (c) recognising local circumstances
  • (d) ensuring Indigenous representation is appropriate, having regard to
    local representation as required
  • (e) being transparent regarding the role and level of Indigenous engagement
    along a continuum from information sharing to decision-making
  • (f) recognising Indigenous culture, language and
    identity.[84]

In addition, the Australian
Government[85] has developed a
framework for engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Engaging Today, Building
Tomorrow
.[86] More than 2 000
copies of this framework were distributed across Australian Public Service
agencies since its release in National Reconciliation Week
2011.[87]

It is pleasing that the Australian Government has set their intention in this
way and I will continue to monitor the performance of this engagement framework.
However I am concerned about the implementation of these commitments. Words in a
policy document aren’t enough. Below I will look at how they can bring
these good intentions to life and hear our voices in ways that don’t
further divide us.

(ii) Building the capacity to engage

Effective engagement is one of the key areas where governments must develop
their competency if they are to work with us as enablers to address lateral
violence. This challenge of effective engagement is not a new one. The inability
of government to engage effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples has been subject to significant international
scrutiny.[88] Toni Bauman has noted
her continued concern with the way in which governments engage with Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

The incapacity of governments to engage with Indigenous communities and
arrive at meaningful, sustainable and owned outcomes through highly specialised
skilled facilitation and participatory community development processes has
troubled me for many years. The modus operandi of 'consultation' has mostly been
one-way communication in 'meetings' in which talking heads drone on, poorly
explaining complex information and concluding by asking: 'Everyone agree?'. The
response: hands raised half-heartedly and barely perceptible nods. Outside the
meeting, participants typically have little or no understanding of what they
have agreed to, the possible repercussions of agreement, or the short-, medium
and long-term resources available for implementation
requirements.[89]

This type of engagement is not culturally secure. Echoing Coffin’s
research, Bauman continues to suggest that merely being aware of
‘issues’ that impact on Indigenous communities does not necessarily
translate into ‘skills of engagement and
communication’.[90]

There is clearly a need for government to be ‘up-skilled’ in how
it engages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. One way
forward, as suggested by the Indigenous Facilitation and Mediation Project in
the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Studies is the use of procedural experts who:

[C]ould assist government, other stakeholders and Indigenous communities in:

  • ensuring informed decision-making processes and greater co-ordination of a
    whole-of-government approach including native title agreement-making;

  • negotiating ways in which Indigenous people prefer to do business that match
    their local needs and in which they can secure equal partnerships with
    government representatives and other parties; and

  • ensuring that parties have what is required to enable them to negotiate
    effectively.[91]

These
experts act as cultural brokers. In recognition of this need to increase
cultural competency, the Indigenous Facilitation and Mediation Project
recommended the development of a national network of highly trained process or
engagement practitioners.[92] This
is an idea that could be applied to other areas of policy and program
development, in addition to native title.

I agree with Bauman and the Indigenous Facilitation and Mediation Project,
effective engagement requires developing skills such as communication,
facilitation and negotiation that extends well beyond cultural awareness. In
other words governments need to develop culturally competent procedural experts
who can act as brokers to develop networks between an agency or organisation and
the community.

Engagement also needs to be everyone’s business. Cultural security
cannot be created if effective engagement is restricted to expert brokers. The
role of the broker is to assist in developing relationships, but all those who
work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must be able to
provide cultural security. These experts should help develop the competency
within an agency, not simply shoulder the engagement burden.

(iii) Flexible and creative engagement

Governments must also be more flexible in the way they engage with Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander communities. Culturally secure engagements are
designed to recognise and respect Indigenous authority structures. This requires
innovation and flexibility.

Text Box 4.11 highlights a unique governance model, the Fitzroy Futures Forum
which I examined in detail in the Social Justice Report 2010.

Text Box 4.11: The Fitzroy Futures Forum

The Fitzroy Futures Forum is a governance body that has restructured the
relationship between the Aboriginal people of the Fitzroy Valley in northern
Western Australia, the broader non-Aboriginal residents and the three tiers of
government. I would like to highlight three key strengths of the Fitzroy Futures
Forum that are particularly pertinent:

  • It enhances the local Aboriginal leadership by drawing a representative from
    each of the four main Aboriginal language groups in the Valley as a member of
    the Governing Committee.
  • The Aboriginal members of the Governing Committee operate as an interface
    between governments and service providers and the Aboriginal communities in the
    Fitzroy Valley. From a policy and service delivery perspective the Fitzroy
    Futures Forum is the ‘entry point’.
  • It provides a platform for all members of the Fitzroy Valley to raise their
    concerns, aspirations and have their voices heard through soapbox sessions at
    quarterly community
    forums.[93]

Creative mechanisms for engagement are important if governments are to
implement their policy commitments and build the cultural competency required
for effective engagement. These processes must not only respect Indigenous
authority structures but also engage with the entire community to ensure they
are not hijacked and used to inflame group divisions and tensions.

Effective engagement provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
with the opportunity to have real influence over decisions that impact on their
community. Just as poor engagement creates a cycle of powerlessness, effective
engagement creates a cycle of empowerment.

(iv) Raising awareness of lateral violence

In the previous section I’ve looked at what communities can do to raise
the awareness of lateral violence. But there is also a role for government and
other third parties to critically think about how they might contribute to
lateral violence, albeit often unintentionally. This is an essential step to
facilitate culturally secure environments and ways of working.

Text Box 4.12 explains how the Vic DOJ has supplemented their community
awareness-raising of lateral violence with activities that have increased its
profile within the bureaucracy.

Text Box 4.12: Department of Justice, Victoria

The Koori Justice Unit of the Vic DOJ first became aware of lateral
violence in 2008. Since that time it has undertaken a range of activities in
relation to lateral violence. Some of these have been designed to increase the
awareness of lateral violence within the bureaucracy, including:

  • A judicial cultural awareness training session on lateral and Indigenous
    family violence for the Judicial College of Victoria.
  • Presentations on lateral violence have been made to the Vic DOJ Koori Staff
    Network which comprises all self-identified Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait
    Islander employees of the Vic
    DOJ.[94]

I commend Vic DOJ on these initial efforts and urge all other governments to
start raising the profile of lateral violence within their departments and
agencies. I would also encourage governments to review the ways in which
government processes, engagements and policies might exacerbate lateral violence
in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Raising awareness of lateral violence within an organisation should not be
confined to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. Chapter 2
clearly demonstrated that lateral violence is not just an Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander problem. Government, and other external party, processes can and
do contribute to conditions where lateral violence flourishes. It is important
that non-Indigenous staff are receiving the same, if not more intense
awareness-raising programs about lateral violence and training about effective
engagement than Indigenous employees. Governments and other external parties
need to be aware of the way their processes can contribute to conditions that
can lead to lateral violence. Without this, they will not be able to reform
processes so that they help build cohesion in our communities.

What is required is a change in the organisational culture of governments,
NGOs and industry. All staff must be self-reflective and check their behaviours
as they work with our communities. This must occur at the senior management
level of an organisation and flow down throughout it. This is essential to build
a 360 degree view in our responses to lateral violence. If responses to lateral
violence only focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples we only get
half, 180 degrees, of the picture. This will lead to limiting the success of
these responses to lateral violence.

(v) Increasing an Indigenous presence within the
government

In Chapter 3 I stressed that an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
does not become any less Indigenous simply because they work in mainstream
employment or a government department. The idea that they do is nonsensical.
However, increasing the presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
within an organisation can increase its cultural competency, providing that they
are given the right support and the organisation is structured to work in
partnership with our communities.

A strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presence where policy is being
developed is important to help develop culturally attuned programs. Similarly
our people must also have a strong presence where services are being delivered
if cultural security is to be achieved in the implementation of services and
programs. This was illustrated above in Text Box 4.8 that showed the important
role of AIEOs to broker relationships between a school and an Aboriginal
community in addressing bullying.

Increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presence within an agency or
organisation can help it be more capable of effective and culturally secure
engagements. It is common sense that our people when working for an agency or
organisation will have a greater understanding of the nuances required, and the
internal politics at play, to ensure engagements build cohesion rather than
bring division. They will also be able to help promote trust between a community
and an agency or organisation.

Increasing the presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment
is one way in which governments can ensure they hear more of our voices in
developing and implementing policies. However, this will only be the case if
Indigenous employment is used to improve the partnership between communities and
government and to facilitate the realisation of community outcomes and
aspirations. If our employees are only used to implement imposed policy
objectives that do not have the buy-in of the affected Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander communities, they will be compromised and the cycle of lateral
violence will start over again.

I am not saying for a second that increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander employment is the silver bullet to resolve all government and third
party capacity issues in relation to the way they engage with us.

If an organisation stops at recruitment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander employees will be responsible for dealing with all things
‘Indigenous’ for that organisation. This will not help build
cultural competency across the organisation and it will only serve to
marginalise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and can
contribute to staff burn out.

Without organisational change and capacity building, cultural competency is
not achievable. However, increasing the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders employed in agencies and organisations that work with us is a
necessary step to progress towards this goal.

I am pleased that government agencies and private corporations across
Australia through Reconciliation Action Plans and employment strategies are
making concerted efforts to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders they employ.

The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report 2011 highlighted some
key success stories in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employment. This is detailed in Text Box 4.13.

Text Box 4.13: ‘Things that work’ – Improving
Indigenous employment

The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report 2011 examined some
programs that have been successful in improving Indigenous employment
outcomes:

Rio Tinto Indigenous employment programs have helped increase the
proportion of Indigenous employees in Rio Tinto’s Australian workforce
from 0.5 per cent in 1996 to the current level of 6 per cent. In partnership
with community stakeholders, Rio Tinto’s employment programs provide
education, training and individual support programs such as mentoring, to help
Indigenous employees overcome educational barriers.

Rio Tinto has tailored recruitment practices, including one and a half day
assessment programs that provide applicants with feedback on their skill levels
and guidance on the training they require to be employed. Rio Tinto has also
been involved in Australian Government initiatives such as the National
Indigenous Cadetship Project (NICP), and the Corporate leaders for Indigenous
Employment program.

The Dean Rioli Aboriginal Employment program (Vic) is jointly funded
by the Australian and Victorian governments. The program is based on partnership
with the Indigenous community, industry, trade unions and governments, and aims
to place 100 Indigenous young people in employment by 2012. The project
currently has 129 registered participants, of whom 100 have been placed in
full time employment. As of the December 2010 quarter, 57 participants had been
engaged in 16 weeks continuous employment.

Gunbalanya Station and Meats (NT) is a pastoral business and
meatworks being developed by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) through a
15-year agreement with Gunbalanya Meat Supply Ptd Ltd, the Arnhem Land
Aboriginal Land Trust and the Northern Land Council. Gunbalanya receives cattle
from ILC properties in the NT for the meatworks and finished cattle for live
export. The meatworks also improve food security and health and wellbeing in the
region through access to affordable fresh meat.

The business is currently in the establishment phase, and during 2009-10,
20 Indigenous people were employed in the pastoral and meatworks
operations; 8 Indigenous staff participated in Certificate II in
Agriculture, 9 in Certificate II in meat processing, 7 in saddle making school,
10 in horsemanship and knife sharpening courses and 20 in first
aid.[95]

These case studies indicate that successful employment programs involve
holistic strategies that build partnerships between the community and the
employer.

Success stories are occurring within government departments and agencies as
well. The work of Vic DOJ in creating an environment where sustainable increases
in Koori employment have been achieved is particularly promising. In 2000, prior
to the establishment of the Koori Recruitment and Career Development Strategy,
Vic DOJ employed just four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. By the
beginning of 2011 it employed 108 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. On
numbers alone this is a fantastic outcome. I examine the efforts of Vic DOJ
below in Text Box 4.14.

Text Box 4.14: Department of Justice, Victoria Koori Employment
Strategy[96]

Vic DOJ is recognised as a leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employment across the Victorian Public Service. This is the result of an ongoing
and holistic process developed over time to create a culturally safe employment
environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Koori Recruitment and Career Development Strategy

In 2000 the Koori Recruitment and Career Development Strategy (KRCDS) was
established within Vic DOJ with the aim to achieve:

  • a long term increase in the number of qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islanders employed across all areas and at all levels of the justice
    portfolio
  • similar increase of employment and qualifications of Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islanders in the funded sector of the justice system
  • career development frameworks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to
    undertake training and further education.

The KRCDS has been
incredibly successful. Before it was established Vic DOJ employed only four
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, by January 2011 this figure had risen to
108.

Koori Employment Strategy 2011-2015

Kareeta Yirramboi, the Victorian Public Sector Employment &
Career Development Action Plan 2010-2015 sets a 1% target for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander employment across the Victorian Public Sector by 2015. In
response to this Action Plan Vic DOJ developed the Koori Employment Strategy
2011-2015
which sets a higher target of 2.5% Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander employment by 2015 (as of January 2011 it stands at 1.2%).

Vic DOJ recognises that the way in which the Department’s
stakeholders, systems and processes engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders both internal and external to the Department will be integral to the
strategy’s success. Two key support teams endeavour to ensure this
success; the Koori Employment Team (KET) and the Koori Justice Unit.

Koori Employment Team

KET has been established within People and Culture (P&C) as the central
oversight mechanism for the coordination, monitoring and successful
implementation of the Koori Employment Strategy 2011-2015. The core focus
of KET is:

  • build overall capacity of P&C to support Karreeta Yirramboi
  • develop strong partnerships and synergies across all arms of P&C
  • central coordination of achieving the 2.5% employment target set by the
    Secretary
  • development of a communication strategy
  • mandate and strengthen cultural competency across the department against the
    Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Cultural Inclusion Framework
  • work closely with business units, executive reporting lines and regional
    offices in achieving their employment targets
  • provide support to Employment Programs in the implementation of recruitment
    programs
  • provide support to Employee Relations, Employee Investigations and Workplace
    Relations to address any grievances that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    employees may experience in the workplace
  • work with the Learning & Development Unit to increase the uptake of
    training programs undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

Koori Justice Unit

The Koori Justice Unit is primarily responsible for coordinating the
development and delivery of Victoria’s Koori justice policies and programs
across the Victorian Government and justice system, primarily the Victorian
Aboriginal Justice Agreement.

The Koori Justice Unit promotes the partnerships between the Koori
community and government, by facilitating community engagement initiatives to
build strong networks and enable wide participation in the delivery of Koori
justice-related policies, programs and
initiatives.[97]

Koori Pathways into Vic DOJ

Vic DOJ recognises that increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employment is only sustainable when the work environment is ‘Koori
friendly’. There are a number of employment pathways and initiatives in
the department, which will increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employment and Koori friendliness.

Identified and designated positions

The use of identified[98] and
designated[99] positions reflects a
strategic objective to identify and respond effectively to the needs of the
Koori community through the development and delivery of culturally appropriate
programs and services.

These positions within Vic DOJ require specific skills, with the occupant
being required to have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the Victorian
Koori community, both society and culture and the issues impacting on it, and a
demonstrated ability to communicate sensitively and effectively with members of
the Victorian Koori community.

These positions provide an important source of recruitment of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander employees, who have the appropriate skills and
knowledge to enable more effective development of the policy and delivery of
programs and services to the Koori community.

Although identified and designated positions are useful in creating
pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders into Vic DOJ, the strategy
identifies the need to broaden employment opportunities for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander employees beyond Koori program areas.

Koori Friendly Vic DOJ

A workplace that values and respects the Koori community and culture is
more attractive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers. Improving
cultural competency and making the department more culturally inclusive is
critical.

Traditional government recruitment and selection processes can be daunting
and unfamiliar, therefore Vic DOJ has implemented strategies to ensure
recruitment and selection processes are more culturally appropriate in addition
to encouraging and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants
through each stage of the process. This will include:

  • Tailored attraction campaigns – advertising through Koori media, a
    dedicated web page and at Koori community events.
  • Selection practices – Koori friendly interview processes including the
    requirement of at least one Koori panel member on the selection panel.
  • Communication with potential employees and the Koori community – KET
    with the support of Koori Justice Unit will work to strengthen linkages between
    Vic DOJ and the Victorian Koori community.
  • Communication with existing employees – Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander staff networks provide critical support networks and an important link
    between Vic DOJ and the Koori community.

Koori Employment
Action Plan

Vic DOJ has developed an action plan to implement its commitments in the Koori Employment Strategy 2011-2015 it includes proposed timeframes,
responsibilities and measures of success.

The achievements of the Vic DOJ reveal that the greater the cultural
competency of an agency, the more inclined Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders will be to seek employment within that agency. This reveals the
mutually reinforcing character of Indigenous employment and cultural competency
and cultural security.

(c) Empowerment: Using a
strengths-based approach

Adopting a strengths-based approach to working with our communities, is an
effective way of reorienting government processes to ensure that they empower
our communities.

(i) Building capacity through partnerships

Undertaking partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities and organisations can negate the tendency of governments to impose
deficit-based approaches in policy and program delivery.

Evidence indicates that empowering partnerships lead to better outcomes. For
example the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse suggests that a true partnership
approach is the key to learning ‘what works’ in the Indigenous
policy space.[100] Importantly the
Clearinghouse also finds that external authorities imposing change is a key
factor in what ‘doesn’t work’.

In the previous section I have discussed how the Vic DOJ has developed a
partnership with Koori organisations in Victoria to undertake work on lateral
violence, initially running workshops and producing an educational DVD. Text Box
4.15 looks at the further partnership between Vic DOJ, FaHCSIA and VACCHO for a
longer term community education project.

Text Box 4.15: Community Education Project

Vic DOJ has now partnered with FaHCSIA and entered into a further agreement
with VACCHO, to utilise the DVD in a Lateral Violence Community Education
Project.

This Lateral Violence Community Education Project is in its early stages
(funding agreement commenced June 2011) however will provide:

  • a full time project officer at VACCHO
  • development of a Lateral Violence Education Workshop (centred on the lateral
    violence DVD)
  • delivery of 84 half-day Lateral Violence Education Workshops to Koori
    community organisations by July 2012
  • development and delivery of ‘train-the-trainer’ training to
    approximately 30 community representatives (to allow the delivery of the
    workshops on an ongoing basis).

VACCHO, as the peak Koori health
body, will deliver these workshops in partnership with its member Aboriginal
Health Organisations located throughout Victoria. These organisations contain
social and emotional wellbeing counsellors who can provide additional community
support post-workshops and have a strong infrastructure and service-delivery
environment to enhance the workshops.

The approach adopted by Vic DOJ is very encouraging. The Vic DOJ’s role
has been to enable the Koori community to undertake projects designed to address
a community identified concern in lateral violence.

It is pleasing to see the Vic DOJ and FaHCSIA invest in projects and
resources to allow the Koori community to address lateral violence. This
partnership model will help counteract government processes that can exacerbate
lateral violence. In this way it is both the content (lateral violence projects)
and the process (partnership-based) that can help address lateral violence.

The other positive benefit of an effective partnership model is that it
negates a deficit approach, as there is no external intervention imposing the
lateral violence onto the community. The partnership approach should put the
Koori community in the driving seat to address lateral violence and the programs
are led and delivered by Koori organisations.

(ii) The school curriculum

There is another promising development at the moment that will promote
strengths-based approaches. This is the drafting of a national school curriculum
that is being undertaken by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting
Authority (ACARA).[101]

It offers an opportunity to ensure all young Australians learn both about
human rights and the unique and valuable place that Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples have in the
nation.[102] Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children could learn positive stories about our culture and
history, and to learn of the deeds of heroes like Jandamarra, William Cooper and
Jack Patten. Incorporating these stories into the school curriculum will help
build pride in our communities and cultures which can combat the negative
stereotypes that reinforce powerlessness which in turn feeds lateral
violence.

Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultures,
histories and heroes into the education system will promote our strengths both
to our children and to the broader community. This can promote cultural safety
and security. VACCA note that on the one hand it can enhance the resilience of
our communities:

[L]earning about culture and history of our resistance fighters and all the
rest of it...give you knowledge of your background. I mean a lot of our
community’s lost because they don’t have all this information but a
lot of people don’t have a foundation so I think language and history and
that creates a foundation to build
on.[103]

On the other hand they also suggest it will help confront negative
stereotypes and racism within the broader community, the same stereotypes which
we eventually turn in on ourselves:

I think that one of the most destructive myths in Australia today is the idea
that Aboriginal people have contributed nothing to this country. And I think
it’s this idea that festers in our national identity...feeding the
national mistrust, racism and bitterness existing toward Aboriginal people today
and is never spoken of or even acknowledged. Teaching our kids the actual
contribution of Aboriginal people in this country today, past and present, would
go a long way to rectifying this and would, I truly believe, foster real
reconciliation.[104]

One of the pleasing aspects in ACARA’s development of the national
curriculum is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
has been designated as one of the three cross-curriculum priorities that is to
be integrated into each learning area.

It will be important to ensure that this priority is meaningfully integrated
into all learning areas of the Curriculum from the very early years of schooling
to ensure our community and the wider Australian community learn about positive
representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture, as
well as the facts about the impact of colonisation on our community, from a very
early age.

Embedding our cultures and histories across each area of the curriculum is a
great stride forward and I am excited about the positive impacts that this will
have within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as well as the
broader Australian public.

4.5 Future directions in
addressing lateral violence

I have stressed throughout this Report that lateral violence is an emerging
concept. The issues, concerns and conclusions that have been raised are
preliminary only. There is a real need to build on the theoretical underpinnings
of lateral violence and the supporting anecdotal evidence with action
research.

With this need in mind, my office has partnered with the University of Sydney
to undertake a research project into lateral violence. This project will build
on the initial research and analysis that I have conducted as preparation for
this year’s Social Justice and Native Title Reports.

This research project will be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
scholars. I am excited that it includes a scholarship (the Campbell Weston Perry
Scholarship) for a PhD for a suitably qualified and experienced Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander person. I think it is a fantastic opportunity for one of
our students to undertake research in this important and burgeoning area of the
Indigenous policy space.

I will use my future Social Justice and Native Title Reports to report on the
progress of this research and the emerging body of evidence that will be
developed around lateral violence.

4.6 Conclusion

This chapter, in conjunction with Chapter 3, starts to shift the conversation
from looking at the problem of lateral violence, to starting to talk about ways
that we can develop solutions. I believe that if we all play our part, be it as
individuals, families, organisations or governments and other third parties, we
can start to turn the tide against lateral violence. The first step is simply
saying ‘enough is enough’ and declaring a zero tolerance for this
sort of abuse.

While this first step might seem simple enough we know that lateral violence
is an entrenched and formidable foe. That is why I draw on the concepts of
cultural safety and security to shape how we tackle lateral violence.

Cultural safety and security help create the positive, empowered environments
where the problems of lateral violence can be solved. The case studies in this
Chapter are in no way exhaustive but nonetheless show just some of the different
ways communities and government are already addressing lateral violence across a
range of sectors. Given that we have only just started tackling this problem in
earnest, it is very encouraging to see the achievements that these pioneering
efforts have made. I am hopeful that we will see more resolve, creativity and
action as the conversation about lateral violence continues.

This Chapter has also laid the ground work for the future research project on
lateral violence between the University of Sydney and the Commission. I look
forward to seeing some of the brightest Indigenous scholars develop an evidence
base that will further shape our responses to lateral violence. I will be
reporting on this research in subsequent Social Justice Reports.

Again, given that this is the beginning of our conversations around lateral
violence, my recommendations reflect the need for greater research in this area.
However, they also draw strongly on the implementation of the Declaration and
the creation of cultural safety and security. I look forward to working with
governments on these issues and will continue to monitor the implementation of
these recommendations.

Recommendations
  1. That further research is undertaken to develop the evidence base around
    lateral violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This
    research should be supported by the Australian Government.

  2. That all governments ensure that their engagement, policies and programs are
    implemented in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights
    of Indigenous Peoples
    . In particular, this should occur with respect to the
    right to self-determination, the right to participate in decision-making guided
    by the principle of free, prior and informed consent, non-discrimination and
    respect for and protection of culture.

  3. That all governments, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    peoples, conduct an audit of cultural safety and security in relation to their
    policies and programs that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    communities.

  4. That all governments, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    peoples, based on the audit of cultural safety and security, develop action
    plans to increase cultural competence across their government.

  5. That all governments, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    peoples, conduct education and awareness-raising sessions on lateral violence
    for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous staff.


[1] R Williams, ‘Cultural
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213.
[2] R Frankland, M
Bamblett, P Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework
for Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
,
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), p
12.
[3] R Frankland, M Bamblett, P
Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework for
Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
, Victorian
Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), p
63.
[4] R Frankland, M Bamblett, P
Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework for
Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
, Victorian
Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), p
63.
[5] R Frankland, M Bamblett, P
Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework for
Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
, Victorian
Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), p
65.
[6] R Frankland, M Bamblett, P
Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework for
Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
, Victorian
Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), p
70.
[7] R Frankland, M Bamblett, P
Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework for
Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
, Victorian
Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), pp
71-72.
[8] The AIATSIS Workshop on
identity identified creating safety to enable a place and process for robust
discussion was crucial to changing the negative conversations about identity to
focus on solutions: S Gorringe, J Ross and C Fforde, ‘Will the Real
Aborigine Please Stand Up’: Strategies for breaking the stereotypes and
changing the conversation
, AIATSIS Research Discussion Paper 28 (2011), p
11. At www.aiatsis.gov.au/research/documents/AIATSISDiscussionPaper28.pdf (viewed 21 September 2011).
[9] Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, ‘This is Forever Business:
Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria PowerPoint Presentation
(2011).
[10] N Pearson, ‘Radical
Hope: Education and Equality in Australia’ (2009) 35 Quarterly
Essay
1, p 55.
[11] See Solid
Kids - Solid Schools - Solid Families, What is?, http://www.solidkids.net.au/index.php/what_is#three/ (viewed 23 September 2011).
[12] J Coffin, ‘Rising to the Challenge in Aboriginal Health by Creating
Cultural Security’ (2007) 31 (3) Aboriginal & Islander Health
Worker Journal
22, p 23.
[13] T Farrelly and B Lumby, ‘A Best Practice Approach to Cultural Competence
Training’ (2009) 33(5) Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker Journal 5, p 5.
[14] M Dodson, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, The End in
the Beginning: Re(de)fining Aboriginality
(Speech delivered at Wentworth
Lecture, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies,
Canberra, 1994). At http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/speeches/social_justice/end_in_the_beginning.html (viewed 23 September 2011).
[15] M Dodson, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
The End in the Beginning: Re(de)fining Aboriginality
(Speech delivered at
Wentworth Lecture, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Studies, Canberra, 1994). At http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/speeches/social_justice/end_in_the_beginning.html (viewed 23 September 2011).
[16] L O’Donoghue, Stepping Up To The Plate (Speech delivered at the
opening of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Homebush, 8
June 2011), p 3. At http://nationalcongress.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Lowitja-ODonoghue-Nat-Congress-080611.pdf (viewed 23 September 2011).
[17] Dulwich Centre, What is narrative therapy?, www.dulwichcentre.com.au/what-is-narrative-therapy.html (viewed 23 September 2011).
[18] M Brady, The Grog Book: Strengthening Indigenous community action on
alcohol
, Department of Health and Community Services (1998), p
87.
[19] See B Wingard, ‘A
conversation with Lateral Violence’ (2010) 1 The International Journal
of Narrative Therapy and Community Work
13, pp
13-17.
[20] B Wingard, ‘A
conversation with Lateral Violence’ (2010) 1 The International Journal
of Narrative Therapy and Community Work
13, pp
14-15.
[21] T Mace, Phone communication with Social Justice Commissioner’s Office, 14July 2011.
[22] T Mace, Phone communication with Social Justice Commissioner’s Office, 14 July 2011.
[23] N Davies, Phone communication with Social Justice Commissioner’s Office, 27
July 2011.
[24] E Deemal-Hall, E-mail communication with Social Justice Commissioner’s Office, 12
July 2011.
[25] Solid Kids -
Solid Schools - Solid Families, Yamaji – People and Country, www.solidkids.net.au/index.php/yamaji/ (viewed 23 September 2011).
[26] J Coffin, A Larson and D Cross, ‘Bullying in the Aboriginal Context’
(2010) 39 (1) The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education 77, p
79.
[27] J Coffin, A Larson and D
Cross, ‘Bullying in the Aboriginal Context’ (2010) 39 (1) The
Australian Journal of Indigenous Education
77, p
79.
[28] Solid Kids - Solid
Schools - Solid Families, About the Project, www.solidkids.net.au/index.php/about/ (viewed 26 September 2011).
[29] N Gregory, ‘Diva Chat’ in Solid Kids - Solid Schools - Solid
Families, Yarn Now! Comics, www.solidkids.net.au/index.php/comic/ (viewed 20 September 2011).
[30] Solid Kids - Solid Schools - Solid Families, Solid Schools, www.solidkids.net.au/index.php/what_is/ (viewed 20 September 2011).
[31] Edith Cowan University, Child Health Promotion Research Centre: Faculty of
Compying, Health and Science, Research Grants Awarded: Bullying and
Aggression Prevention and Mental Health Promotion
, http://www.chprc.ecu.edu.au/research/bullying/reducing-bullying-aboriginal-ruralwa.php (viewed 30 September
2011).
[32]National Alternative
Dispute Resolution Advisory Council, Indigenous Dispute Resolution and
Conflict Management
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[33] National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council, Indigenous Dispute
Resolution and Conflict Management
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[34] The National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council, What is
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[35] Federal Court of Australia’s Indigenous Dispute Resolution & Conflict
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, Report
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[36] M Browning, Interim Evaluation of the Mornington Island Restorative Justice
Pilot Project
, Queensland Government (2011), p
1.
[37] P Venables and R Kelly, The Mornington Island Restorative Justice Project- A partnership in
peacemaking
(Paper for the Symposium on Indigenous Sentencing, Punishment
and Healing, Cairns, 6 July
2011).
[38] M Browning, Interim Evaluation of the Mornington Island Restorative Justice Pilot
Project,
Queensland Government (2011), Appendices pp
25-31.
[39] Dispute Resolution
Branch, Project Overview- Mornington Island Restorative Justice Project,
Department of Justice and Attorney General, Information supplied to the
Social Justice Commissioner’s office
, 8 August
2011.
[40] Dispute Resolution
Branch, Project Overview- Mornington Island Restorative Justice Project,
Department of Justice and Attorney General, Information supplied to the
Social Justice Commissioner’s office
, 8 August
2011.
[41] M Browning, Interim
Evaluation of the Mornington Island Restorative Justice Pilot Project
,
Queensland Government (2011), p
8.
[42] Dispute Resolution
Branch, Project Overview- Mornington Island Restorative Justice Project,
Department of Justice and Attorney General, Information supplied to the
Social Justice Commissioner’s office
, 8 August
2011.
[43] P Venables and R
Kelly, The Mornington Island Restorative Justice Project- A partnership in
peacemaking
(Paper for the Symposium on Indigenous Sentencing, Punishment
and Healing, Cairns, 6 July
2011).
[44] In Western Australia,
a specialised Aboriginal Alternative Dispute Resolution Service was established
in the early 1990s to focus on family feuds; Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander dispute resolution services have also been established under the
auspices of community mediation programs including the Indigenous mediation
program in Queensland Dispute Resolution Centres and the Aboriginal Mediators
Network in the NSW Community Justice Centres. See National Alternative Dispute
Resolution Advisory Council, Indigenous Dispute Resolution and Conflict
Management
(2006), p 3. At http://www.nadrac.gov.au/www/nadrac/nadrac.nsf/Page/Publications_PublicationsbyDate_IndigenousDisputeResolutionandConflictManagement (viewed 23 September 2011).
[45] T Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2008 (2009) Australian Human Rights Commission, pp
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[46] A McEwan, K Tsey and the Empowerment Research Team, The Role of Spirituality
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Yarrabah
, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health Discussion Paper
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2011).
[47] K McKay, K Kolves, H
Klieve and D De Leo, Building Bridges: Learning from the Experts –
Building bridges to implement successful life promotion and suicide prevention
expertise across Aboriginal communities
, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental
Health (2009), p. 12. At http://www.crrmhq.com.au/media/EvaluationReport-FINAL.pdf (viewed 30 September 2011).
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communities of north Queensland: the historical and symbolic landscape
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communities of north Queensland: the historical and symbolic landscape
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[50] K McKay, K Kolves, H Klieve and D De Leo, Building Bridges: Learning from the
Experts – Building bridges to implement successful life promotion and
suicide prevention expertise across Aboriginal communities
, Centre for Rural
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[51] K Tsey, M Whiteside, M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson,
‘Empowerment and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings
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169, p
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[52] A McEwan, K Tsey
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,
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[53] A McEwan, K Tsey and
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Emotional Wellbeing Initiatives: The Family Wellbeing Program at Yarrabah
,
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[54] K Tsey, M Whiteside,
M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson, ‘Empowerment
and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings from Family Wellbeing
formative research’ (2010) 18(2) Health and Social Care in the
Community
169, p
170-172.
[55] A McEwan, K Tsey
and the Empowerment Research Team, The Role of Spirituality in Social and
Emotional Wellbeing Initiatives: The Family Wellbeing Program at Yarrabah
,
Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health Discussion Paper No 7 (2009),
p 4. At www.lowitja.org.au/files/crcah_docs/DP7_FINAL.pdf (viewed 30 September
2011).
[56] D Baird and D Miller, Phone communication with the Social Justice Commissioner’s Office, 20 September 2011.
[57] D Baird
and D Miller, Phone communication with the Social Justice
Commissioner’s Office
, 20 September
2011.
[58] K Tsey, M Whiteside, A
Deemal and T Gibson, ‘Social determinants of health, the ‘control
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[59] M
Whiteside, K Tsey, J McCalman, Y Cadet James and AWilson, ‘Empowerment as
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425.
[60] A McEwan, K Tsey and
the Empowerment Research Team, The Role of Spirituality in Social and
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,
Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health Discussion Paper No 7 (2009),
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2011).
[61] A McEwan, K Tsey and
the Empowerment Research Team, The Role of Spirituality in Social and
Emotional Wellbeing Initiatives: The Family Wellbeing Program at Yarrabah
,
Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health Discussion Paper No 7 (2009),
p 12. At www.lowitja.org.au/files/crcah_docs/DP7_FINAL.pdf (viewed 30 September
2011).
[62] D Baird and D Miller, Phone communication with the Social Justice Commissioner’s Office,
20 September 2011.
[63] K Tsey, M
Whiteside, M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson,
‘Empowerment and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings
from Family Wellbeing formative research’ (2010) 18(2) Health and
Social Care in the Community
169, p
170.
[64] David Baird and Darren
Miller, Phone communication with the Social Justice Commissioner’s
Office
, 20 September
2011.
[65] Empowerment and
Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings from Family Wellbeing
formative research, pp
174-175.
[66] K Tsey, M
Whiteside, M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson,
‘Empowerment and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings
from Family Wellbeing formative research’ (2010) 18(2) Health and
Social Care in the Community
169, p
176.
[67] A McEwan, K Tsey and
the Empowerment Research Team, The Role of Spirituality in Social and
Emotional Wellbeing Initiatives: The Family Wellbeing Program at Yarrabah
,
Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health Discussion Paper No 7 (2009),
p 8. At www.lowitja.org.au/files/crcah_docs/DP7_FINAL.pdf (viewed 30 September
2011).
[68] K Tsey, M Whiteside,
M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson, ‘Empowerment
and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings from Family Wellbeing
formative research’ (2010) 18(2) Health and Social Care in the
Community
169, p 174.
[69] A
McEwan, K Tsey and the Empowerment Research Team, The Role of Spirituality in
Social and Emotional Wellbeing Initiatives: The Family Wellbeing Program at
Yarrabah
, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health Discussion Paper
No 7 (2009), p 7. At www.lowitja.org.au/files/crcah_docs/DP7_FINAL.pdf (viewed 30 September
2011).
[70] K Tsey, M Whiteside,
M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson, ‘Empowerment
and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings from Family Wellbeing
formative research’ (2010) 18(2) Health and Social Care in the
Community
169, p 174.
[71] K
Tsey, M Whiteside, M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson,
‘Empowerment and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings
from Family Wellbeing formative research’ (2010) 18(2) Health and
Social Care in the Community
169, pp
174-175.
[72] K Tsey, M
Whiteside, M Haswell-Elkins, R Bainbridge, Y Cadet-James and A Wilson,
‘Empowerment and Indigenous Australian Health: a synthesis of findings
from Family Wellbeing formative research’ (2010) 18(2) Health and
Social Care in the Community
169, p
176.
[73] D Baird and D Miller, Phone communication with the Social Justice Commissioner’s Office,
20 September 2011.
[74] National
Health and Medical Research Council, Cultural Competency in Health: A guide
for policy, partnerships and participation
(2006), p 7. At http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/hp19-hp26 (viewed 12 September 2009). In text references excluded.
[75] See T Westerman, Guest
Editorial ‘Engagement of Indigenous clients in mental health services:
What role do cultural differences play?’ (2004) 3(3) Australian
e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health
1, p
2.
[76] T Westerman, Guest
Editorial ‘Engagement of Indigenous clients in mental health services:
What role do cultural differences play?’ (2004) 3(3) Australian
e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health
1, p
2.
[77] The Victorian Aboriginal
Child Care Agency, Aboriginal Cultural Competency Framework, Produced for
the Victorian Government Department of Human Services (2008). At http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/plans,-programs-and-projects/plans-and-strategies/children,-youth-and-family-services/aboriginal-cultural-competence-framework-2008 (viewed 9 September 2011).
[78] The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Aboriginal Cultural Competency
Framework
, Produced for the Victorian Government Department of Human
Services (2008), p 24. At http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/plans,-programs-and-projects/plans-and-strategies/children,-youth-and-family-services/aboriginal-cultural-competence-framework-2008 (viewed 9 September 2011).
[79] Solid Kids - Solid Schools - Solid Families, Solid Aboriginal staff, http://www.solidkids.net.au/index.php/solid_schools/solid_school_staff/solid_aboriginal_staff/ (30 September 2011).
[80] J
Coffin, Rising to the Challenge in Aboriginal Health by Creating Cultural
Security’ (2007) 31(3) Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker
Journal
22, p 23.
[81] J
Coffin, Rising to the Challenge in Aboriginal Health by Creating Cultural
Security’ (2007) 31(3) Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker
Journal
22, p 23.
[82] The
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Aboriginal Cultural Competency
Framework
, Produced for the Victorian Government Department of Human
Services (2008), p 54. At http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/plans,-programs-and-projects/plans-and-strategies/children,-youth-and-family-services/aboriginal-cultural-competence-framework-2008 (viewed 9 September 2011).
[83] Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement, http://www.federalfinancialrelations.gov.au/content/national_agreements/downloads/IGA_FFR_ScheduleF_National_Indigenous_Reform_Agreement_Feb_2011.doc (viewed 9 September 2011).
[84] Council of Australian Governments, National Indigenous Reform Agreement,
Schedule D, http://www.federalfinancialrelations.gov.au/content/national_agreements/downloads/IGA_FFR_ScheduleF_National_Indigenous_Reform_Agreement_Feb_2011.doc (viewed 9 September 2011).
[85] The Australian Government has further displayed its commitment to engagement
with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the establishment of
the representative body, the National Congress of Australia’s First
Peoples.
[86] Australian
Government, Engaging Today, Building Tomorrow: A framework for engaging with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
(2011).
[87] Department of Families,
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs staff, Email
correspondence to Social Justice Commissioner’s Office
, 14 September
2011.
[88] See for example:
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Concluding
observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
Australia
, UN Doc CERD/C/AUS/CO/14 (2005), para 16. At http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds66.htm (viewed 5 September 2011); Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination: Australia
, UN Doc CERD/C/AUS/CO/15-17 (2010),
paras 16, 18. At http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds77.htm (viewed 5 September 2011).
[89] T
Bauman, ‘‘You Mob All Agree?’ The Chronic Emergency of
Culturally Competent Engaged Indigenous Problem Solving’ (2007) 6(29) Indigenous Law Bulletin 13, p
13.
[90] T Bauman,
‘‘You Mob All Agree?’ The Chronic Emergency of Culturally
Competent Engaged Indigenous Problem Solving’ (2007) 6(29) Indigenous
Law Bulletin
13, p 14.
[91] T
Bauman, Final Report of the Indigenous Facilitation and Mediation Project
July 2003-June 2006: research findings, recommendations and implementation
,
AIATISIS (2006), p iv. At http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/ntru/docs/researchthemes/negmedfac/ifamp/IfampReport.pdf (viewed 9 September 2011).
[92] T
Bauman, Final Report of the Indigenous Facilitation and Mediation Project
July 2003-June 2006: research findings, recommendations and implementation
,
AIATISIS (2006), p 42. At http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/ntru/docs/researchthemes/negmedfac/ifamp/IfampReport.pdf (viewed 9 September 2011); T Bauman, ‘‘You Mob All Agree?’ The
Chronic Emergency of Culturally Competent Engaged Indigenous Problem
Solving’ (2007) 6(29) Indigenous Law Bulletin 13, p
14.
[93] M Gooda, Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social Justice Report
2010
, Australian Human Rights Commission (2011), Chapter 3. At http://www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/sj_report/sjreport10/index.html (viewed 11 August 2011).
[94] A
Sculthorpe, E-mail correspondence to Social Justice Commissioner’s
Office
, 17 August 2011.
[95] Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming
Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011
, Productivity Commission (2011)
p 8.5. At http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/reports/indigenous/key-indicators-2011 (viewed 19 September 2011). Note: In text reference
removed.
[96] Department of
Justice, Victoria, Koori Employment Strategy 2011-2015 (2011).
[97] Department of
Justice Victoria, Koori Justice Unit, http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/DOJ+Internet/Home/About+Us/Our+Organisation/Business+Area+Profiles/JUSTICE+-+Koori+Justice+Unit (viewed 30 September 2011).
[98] Roles in which many or all of the duties involved the development and/or
delivery of policy, programs and services which impact on the Victorian Koori
community or involve interaction with the Victorian Koori community or their
representatives: Department of Justice, Victoria, Koori Employment Strategy
2011-2015
(2011).
[99] Roles
in which all of the duties involved the development and/or delivery of policy,
programs and services which impact on the Victorian Koori community or involve
interaction with the Victorian Koori community or their representatives:
Department of Justice, Victoria, Koori Employment Strategy 2011-2015 (2011).
[100] Closing the Gap
Clearinghouse, What works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage: Key learnings
and gaps in evidence
, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian
Institute of Family Studies (2011), p 2. At http://www.aihw.gov.au/closingthegap/documents/annual_papers/what_works_to_overcome_disadvantage.rtf (viewed 6 September
2011).
[101] The Australian
Human Rights Commission has been actively involved in the public consultations
on the draft curriculum. In particular it has recommended ways in which the
human rights content of the curriculum can be strengthened: See Australian Human
Rights Commission, Human Rights Education in the national school Curriculum:
Position Paper of the Australian Human Rights Commission
(2011). At http://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/positionpaper/index.html (viewed 7 September
2011).
[102] See Australian
Human Rights Commission, National school curriculum and human rights
education
, http://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/community_engagement.html (viewed 7 September
2011).
[103] R Frankland, M
Bamblett, P Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework
for Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
,
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), p 70.
[104] R Frankland, M Bamblett,
P Lewis and R Trotter, This is ‘Forever Business: A Framework for
Maintaining and Restoring Cultural Safety in Aboriginal Victoria
, Victorian
Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2010), p 69.