The Status of Aboriginal Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence affects everyone. It creates a ripple effect of grief, stress, pain and trauma through the entire family and community. Domestic violence is the physical, emotional, sexual, social, spiritual, cultural, psychological and economical abuse that occurs within families, intimate relationships, kinship networks and communities.

There is a fear that domestic violence is an epidemic within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The one-on-one abuse of partners, women and children cannot be pin pointed to one single cause; it needs to be approached holistically and individually between communities and people. Professor Marcia Langton wants to demystify the myth that domestic violence is the “Aboriginal Way” and society needs to question why the Aboriginal society has such extremely high rates of domestic violence.

Aims Our Domestic Violence Campaigns

  • Work with communities to talk and gather content about domestic violence within the community.
  • To focus on changing behaviour, through education, strengths, positive music, dance, art, and culture to engage and spread the right message.
  • The focus must be on youth and men to change their ways and must be culturally appropriate.
  • To encourage Communities to empower themselves, they need to be aware of the culturally appropriate resources that are available to them.
  • To create powerful resources to increase preventative actions.
  • To support the success of existing campaigns such as ‘No More’ and ‘Break the Silence’. By continuing to implement the projects with support from White Ribbon through creating seek-help behaviour from women, while raising awareness within men and young people.
  • To promote local and nationalservices by connecting with more men and young people through delivering highly engaging, safe, community-based arts projects and events.


IHHP have been partnering with communities to create ‘For Community, By Community’ resources that give direct, sensitive, community owned and driven voice to the Domestic Violence campaign. Indigenous community’s respond to pictures of their own families and communities in country. The projects reflect connection and culture in a sensitive and respectful approach.

The key themes that IHHP explore during the Domestic Violence project are:

  • Jealousy and disrespect
  • Rights
  • Equality
  • Copy Cat Behaviour (role model)
  • Lack of education
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Gender Roles in Indigenous communities
  • Miss communication
  • Lack of Leadership
  • Lateral Violence
  • Irresponsibility
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Lack of identity and self esteem
  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Poor access to services
  • Lack of privacy (Overcrowding in houses)


Strength Based Approach

These key themes need to be discussed from both negative and positive perspectives. Each community will be required to discuss and brainstorm these key themes and values, however it is extremely important that each topic is resolved and consolidated with the positive, strength based approach, focusing on the strengths of what a healthy relationship is:

  • Equality
  • Love
  • Respect
  • Good Communication
  • Caring
  • Strong Family
  • Trust
  • Listening
  • Kinship
  • Quality Time with Children


Establishing Change Behaviours

There is much more work that needs to be done around raising awareness within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Now from the awareness we need to create local links to existing services in community’s that victims can turn to and trust to seek help. Once the victims arrive at these services, they need culturally appropriate and informative resources to assist them with their situation. We need each community to create their very own Domestic Violence community action plan, which will provide continuous and sustainable:


  • Awareness raising programs for men
  • Awareness raising programs for young people
  • Healing programs for women and victims
  • Rights for Women
  • Help seeking behaviors for women and victims


Respecting Culture

In order to create strong, engaging and powerful resources for Indigenous communities nation-wide, it is essential to follow both Traditional cultural and the new contemporary cultures. Traditional culture has always had strong ceremony, stories and knowledge around respect for women. Women are the creators and they are sacred in traditional way. In many indigenous tribes across Australia, women once held the power, knowledge and ceremony and then it was given to the men.

It’s important to not shame men when talking about Domestic Violence and is important that we create resources that reflect kinship, groups, clans, tribes and also language and art. These groups will be essential when engaging the community in a culturally appropriate setting to ensure social and emotional safety for all participants.


IHHP Domestic Violence Projects

IHHP – Break The Silence – White Ribbon, Ngukurr ‘NIMA’ Award Winning Project


Ngukurr School, White Ribbon Australia and Indigenous Hip Hop Projects partnered to make this powerful and award winning music video / resource touching on the powerful messages of the White Ribbon campaign – Break The Silence.

There is absolutely no excuse for violence or abuse against women and children. Tune into the deadly key messages the young people created through brainstorming sessions – the words are so powerful and transcend all religions, race and countries calling out to all of the men in the entire world to show love and respect to women.

IHHP acknowledge the Wagilak cultural song as performed by Ngukurr singers and dancer, Joey Wanambi, Matthew Wanambi, Andrew Djaladi, Matthew Johnson, Norman Wilfred, Duncan Wutumbul. Indigenous Hip Hop Projects would like to thank Ngukurr Women’s Safe House and the Ngukurr Community for their contribution to this project.

Starting The Conversation – WHITE RIBBON 

Indigenous Hip Hop Projects partnered to make a powerful and important music video / resource touching on the powerful messages of the White Ribbon campaign – Break The Silence. This short story and behind the scenes footage showcases the creative process of the music video and the launch.

IHHP – Brisbane “We Say No More” 

IHHP partnered with ATSICHS Brisbane, Murri School to create a music video, which was then turned into a local Domestic Violence Campaign ‘We Say No More’. This project gave young people a voice and the message they are standing up to say, “we say no more”. Over one intensive, but great week, they wrote, recorded and shot this amazing music video aimed at ‘breaking the silence’ and spreading the word that violence against women is not acceptable. We’re so proud of them!

ATSICHS Brisbane ‘We say no more’ Facebook campaign which was inspired by the Music Video

IHHP – Maningrida ‘Make it through’ 

IHHP teamed up with Menzies School of health Research and Greats Youth Service to develop a youth-led resource to promote locally relevant responses to suicide and related issues in Maningrida, particularly domestic violence and violence in young relationships. Using funding from the NT PHN National Suicide Prevention Strategy, artists and young people work shopped ideas around help-seeking, healthy relationships, parenting, and youth mental health to put together the song and video production for ‘Make it Through’. The song sends a clear message of the fundamental importance of culture as a source of strength in these contexts.