Family violence, help-seeking and the close-knit Aboriginal community: lessons for mainstream service provision

Bronwyn Lumby, Terri Farrelly

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

Abstract

Help-seeking has been defined as ‘…any communication about a problem or troublesome event which is directed toward obtaining support, advice, or assistance in times of distress’ (Gourash 1978, p.414). The presupposition of any family violence intervention and prevention initiative is that help-seeking by or on behalf of a victim of family violence should result in increased safety and an escape from the effects of such violence. There is also the presupposition that help-seeking by or on behalf of a perpetrator of family violence should result in assistance and support to change his behaviour.

As with suicide and self-harming behaviour, Aboriginal family violence is a sensitive and complex issue. Help-seeking can be compromised by factors like shame associated with the violence, fear of retaliation, family and cultural pressures to retain the family unit, community tolerance of violence, gaps in service provision, poor responses to those seeking help, threats to confidentiality in small communities,

This paper examines attitudes and experiences regarding help-seeking by Aboriginal people affected by family violence, particularly in relation to the close-knit nature of Aboriginal communities. The paper discusses implications of findings arising from a small, qualitative research project, recently conducted in an undisclosed New South Wales (NSW) region. The paper explores the foundation issues of Aboriginal community and kinship network relationships, and cultural competence. The authors aim to provide both Aboriginal-specific and mainstream formal help sources with new directions in providing accessible and appropriate assistance, support and protection.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAustralian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAustralian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse Issues Paper
PublisherThe University of New South Wales
No.19
ISSN (Electronic)1443-8496

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