Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are the most at risk group of experiencing domestic and family violence in this country, being, between 2 and 5 times more likely to experience violence when compared to non-Indigenous women. Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to experience violence that results in hospitalisation compared to non-Indigenous women. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been expected to disproportionately impact upon Indigenous women at risk of or experiencing domestic or family violence.
In this report, Women’s Safety NSW has brought the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Domestic and Family Violence Workers from right across NSW together to provide a picture of what is actually happening on the ground and what is needed to respond to this urgent crisis.
- Frontline Aboriginal domestic and family violence specialists have reported an increase in client numbers since the beginning of COVID-19.
- Indigenous frontline workers engaging online with fellow Indigenous colleagues across the state has been identified as being of increased importance during isolation.
- Access to support/ case management for complex needs and ongoing accommodation identified as two imperative service gaps for Indigenous women and children.
- The inability to attend cultural support groups and women prioritising basic needs over safety are significant issues experienced by Indigenous clients since the outbreak of COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, it is of paramount importance that the safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children remains a top priority for the Australian Government.