Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Sisters Day Out®: Building resilience and reducing vulnerability to family violence (#93)

Antoinette Braybrook 1
  1. Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Family Violence and Aboriginal women: The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal women is detrimentally impacted by the intersection of racism, gender inequality and poverty. In comparison with other women, Aboriginal women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence[1] and are almost 11 times more likely to be killed as a result of violent assault.[2] The impacts of family violence are far reaching, resulting in disability, health problems, homelessness, unemployment and overwhelmingly, incarceration.

Aboriginal women know these stories and know what works in terms of preventing family violence and strengthening resilience in the community. FVPLS Victoria has harnessed this strength by developing a unique and best practice workshop.

Sister Day Out®: Building resilience, reducing vulnerability to family violence: Designed by Aboriginal women for Aboriginal women, Sisters Day Out is a culturally safe workshop which builds resilience and reduces vulnerability to violence.

Sisters Day Out prevents family violence through addressing root causes of Aboriginal women’s vulnerability to violence and victimisation, such as social isolation, barriers to accessing services, lack of knowledge about legal rights and mistrust and reluctance to engage with the legal and mainstream support systems.

Over nine years, Sisters Day Out has touched the lives of nearly 8,000 Aboriginal women, which equates to one third of Victorian Aboriginal women[3]. The workshops have engaged with Aboriginal women in 46 locations and 8 regions of Victoria including with Aboriginal women in prison.

Sisters Day Out has been independently evaluated. The model was highlighted as world’s best practice by Professor Megan Davis at the UN Human Rights Council. Similarly the watershed Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised Sisters Day Out as best practice for early intervention and primary prevention for Aboriginal communities.

  1. The Australian Productivity Commission, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage–Key Indicators 2014 (2014) 4.93 table 4A.11.22 available at: http://www.pc.gov.au/research/recurring/overcoming-Indigenous-disadvantage/key-indicators-2014/key-indicators-2014-report.pdf.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2006, Family Violence Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, Cat. no. IHW 17, AIHW, Canberra, available at: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442467912.
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011, 3238.0.55.001–Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, ABC, Canberra, available at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3238.0.55.001