Family violence prevention programs in Indigenous communities

Resource sheet no. 37
12 December 2016

Family violence needs to be understood within broader contexts as both a cause and effect of social disadvantage and intergenerational trauma, poor parenting, and substance misuse. It remains a critical social policy issue, placing a huge burden on communities, especially women and children.

Levels of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family violence are likely to be under-reported, due to the complexity of different forms of primary health response, significant under-reporting to police by victims, and irregular collection of perpetrators’ cultural backgrounds in data sets.

The Australian Burden of Disease Study found that intimate partner violence contributed 1.6% to the total burden of disease for Indigenous Australians. This was 5 times the disease burden rate for non-Indigenous Australians.

National survey data shows that nearly one-quarter of the Indigenous population aged over 15 reported they were a victim of threatened or actual violence of any type in the previous year. Indigenous Australians are also more likely to be re-admitted to hospital as a result of interpersonal violence than other Australians.

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Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, 2016, Family violence prevention programs in Indigenous communities, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Institute of Family Studies, viewed 26 April 2017, <>.

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