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Key findings and suggested actions

Victoria’s Aboriginal communities have a long history of efforts to prevent family violence, and we have seen some excellent examples of community-led prevention and early intervention work. We heard about the unique approach to prevention in Aboriginal communities, which includes:

  • being fully integrated with early intervention and response and recovery work
  • focusing on healing through cultural strengthening, connection to Country and community and strengthening cultural identity
  • aiming at broad community health and wellbeing outcomes (of which family violence may be only one).

We also heard consistent messages about the impact of short-term funding on the ability of organisations to deliver effective and sustainable initiatives – and the flow-on impacts of this for staff and communities.

Government has invested substantially in family violence services in Aboriginal communities since the Royal Commission and has supported a wide array of community-led prevention and early intervention initiatives through grants-based funding. While much progress has been made, many of the issues raised by the Royal Commission remain and emerged as strong themes in our consultations. These themes form the section headings in this report:

  1. There is a wide range of effective prevention and early intervention initiatives being led by Victorian Aboriginal communities.
  2. There is a need for a more sustained approach to support Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to apply frameworks and evaluate the outcomes of initiatives.
  3. A continued reliance on short-term, grant-based funding is undermining prevention and early intervention efforts.
  4. More culturally adapted capacity-building opportunities are needed to support the Aboriginal prevention workforce.
  5. Government accountability for the delivery of initiatives to support Dhelk Dja priorities could be strengthened.

The report provides our detailed analysis and findings that directly relate to the suggested actions outlined in Figure 3. These actions are also highlighted throughout the report.

Figure 3: Proposed actions to support Victoria's Aboriginal-led prevention and early intervention

Aboriginal Prevention Framework

  1. In updating the Aboriginal primary prevention framework, develop a corresponding theory of change and strategic operating framework to guide future primary prevention efforts in the Aboriginal community, and to complement work to support the broader primary prevention system architecture.

Long-term Funding and Funding Reform

  1. Commit to ongoing base funding for Aboriginal prevention and early intervention – with longer-term funding agreements with ACCOs for delivery of initiatives to provide certainty and sustainability, and that include adequate funding to support data collection, monitoring, and evaluation.
  2. Prioritise cross-government funding reform that moves to single funding agreements and streamlined, outcomes-based reporting; and in the interim, ensure that funding reform work being undertaken within individual departments is coordinated and aligned.

Workforce Support to Apply Frameworks and Evaluate Initiatives

  1. Consider how to build capability within the ACCO sector to tailor and apply prevention frameworks, and support organisations to monitor and evaluate prevention and early intervention initiatives, including whether a model such as the Bailt Durn Durn Centre of Excellence would be an effective approach.

Data to Support Strategic Decision Making

  1. Government to ensure that regular and up to date data is provided to support Dhelk Dja Koori Caucus to make strategic decisions about family violence prevention and early intervention priorities, including on:
    1. family violence incidents and drivers
    2. availability and spread of existing initiatives across regions
    3. program delivery outputs and outcomes.

Government Accountability

  1. In developing the next Dhelk Dja action plan, government departments and agencies commit to how they will deliver on Dhelk Dja’s priority areas and ensure their accountability for the agreed actions through the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum.
  2. Identify priority actions for departments and agencies to undertake to address racism and discrimination as drivers of family violence (an outstanding action from the first action plan) as part of implementing action 6 above.
  3. The Department of Education and Training work with the Dhelk Dja Koori Caucus to ensure that Respectful Relationships education in schools is implemented in a culturally appropriate manner and is effective for Aboriginal students, for example through the provision of additional materials or resources for schools or other mechanisms as needed.