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Funding policies silence Indigenous DV victims

  • 12 October 2016


Recently, Warren Mundine spoke out about the high rates of domestic violence in the Northern Territory, specifically in remote Indigenous communities. This data focuses on domestic violence against Indigenous women and their children.

Labelling it a 'domestic violence epidemic', Mundine questioned whether Indigenous parliamentary ministers were adequately advocating for Indigenous peoples in order to protect the funding of domestic violence programs. He stated, 'I look at all the Indigenous people in parliament now, what are they doing? I look at the Indigenous leadership out there, what are they doing?'

Mundine, however, is in a role that requires oversight of those domestic violence figures among the Indigenous population. With that information, his role is to protect government funding of programs which aim to counter the 'epidemic' through early intervention strategies.

Linda Burney, for example, critiques Mundine's claims that Indigenous parliamentarians and leaders have failed to protect the funding of domestic violence programs given 'these things have happened on his watch'.

Rather than pointing the blame at who is primarily at fault, it is clear that without government funding to support early intervention programs which aim to prevent domestic violence and support victims, family violence will continue.

From the perspective of political representation, there needs to be amplification of the political voices which represent the Indigenous population, to strengthen their advocacy in protecting Indigenous domestic violence programs. This is likely to be best achieved through increased Indigenous parliamentary representation and better recognition of their advocacy for Indigenous communities.

However, bearing that in mind, how those programs are actually being funded should also be reviewed.

Indigenous representative voices need not only to be taken into account, but must be considered in a meaningful way that understands the issues on a base level. That extends to adequate knowledge of how those programs work, the benefits of those programs and who they reach out to, the strengths of those programs with Indigenous case workers, and how they are currently being funded.


"Where several early intervention domestic violence programs are financially reliant on one intermediate program and that program is cut from funding, communities lose multiple programs at once."


There is a general lack of trust among Indigenous Australians towards the Australian government. The effects of post colonisation are a primary contributor to this. To help reconcile the relationship between Indigenous communities and government, Indigenous domestic violence victims need to see more government initiatives that aren't short-lived and continuously being defunded. Indigenous domestic violence victims need to feel safe