Violence against women and their children is serious, prevalent and persistent in all communities across Australia. On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner, and one in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience disproportionate rates of violence, and violence that is often more severe and more complex in its impacts. Preventing this violence must be a national priority. It requires dedicated attention and intensive effort and resourcing. It requires us to address the many complex drivers of this violence — not only gender inequality but also the ongoing impacts of colonisation and racism.
Violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is not an ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander problem’. Nor should Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bear sole responsibility for addressing it. This violence is an Australian problem, and it is perpetrated by men of all cultural backgrounds.
All of us, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and non-Indigenous people, communities, organisations, and all levels of government have a responsibility to work together to prevent violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children.
Our Watch has produced a new national resource to support prevention of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children. Changing the picture shows how as a society we can work together to change the underlying drivers of this violence.
Our Watch has worked closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop this resource. The voices, experiences, knowledge, ideas, decades-long activism and solutions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at its core.
We look forward to putting this resource into practice and to building partnerships that support others to do so. As a non-Indigenous organisation, Our Watch does not claim to have all the solutions. But we are committed to playing our part in addressing racism, power inequalities and other ongoing impacts of colonisation, and to working in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to support culturally safe, community-owned and led solutions.