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The Northern Territory has extremely high rates of violence against women (VAW), of which the most common forms are domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV; Northern Territory Government, 2018). Aboriginal women are overrepresented as victims of DFSV and are hospitalised at 40 times the rate of non-Indigenous women due to assault (Northern Territory Government, 2018). To date, very little research has been conducted on prevention of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

The Girls Can Boys Can (GCBC) project was developed by the Tangentyere Family Violence Prevention Program (TFVPP) in partnership with the Larapinta Child and Family Centre (LCFC). The objective of the GCBC project was to use a community development approach to create gender-equitable early childhood messaging and produce resources for distribution across Mparntwe/Alice Springs. The Old Ways are Strong (OWS) project was developed in partnership between Tangentyere Council and italk Studios. The OWS project specifically aimed to challenge colonial narratives around Aboriginal relationships and gender roles, specifically that violence against Aboriginal women is “just their culture”.

The project partnership of TFVPP, LCFC and italk brought the two projects (GCBC and OWS) together in collaboration. The two projects were governed by the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group (TWSFG), a group of senior Aboriginal women from Alice Springs Town Camps campaigning against family violence. The Tangentyere Men’s Family Safety Group (TMFSG) also provided input and guidance. With funding from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), the Equality Institute (EQI) undertook an evaluation of the two primary prevention projects. This evaluation is the first formal evaluation of primary prevention projects carried out in the Northern Territory with a focus on primary prevention within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The evaluation aimed to:

  • construct a baseline of participants’ attitudes and beliefs about gender, violence and Aboriginal cultures
  • assess the overall impact of the projects on participants’ attitudes about gender, violence and Aboriginal cultures
  • assess the impact of resources and products and the extent to which they communicate key anti-violence, anti-racist and gender-equitable messages to a wide audience
  • begin establishing the evidence base about primary prevention in the Northern Territory and primary prevention within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
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Research report 05/2021