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Calling for a dedicated safety plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Introduction by Croakey: In her first speech to Federal Parliament this week, Western Australia’s first female Aboriginal Senator Dorinda Cox called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered First Nations women (watch her speech here).

Meanwhile, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice and women’s safety groups and their supporters and allies have published an Open Letter to the Federal Government, urging it to develop a dedicated National Safety Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, written for and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Led by Djirra, the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum and Change the Record, it says a dedicated plan is needed to “ensure we are not an afterthought or an ‘add on’ to a ‘mainstream’ plan” that is expected to emerge from the recent National Summit on Women’s Safety.

The letter is published in full below. It can be signed here. Also see related tweets below the letter.


OPEN LETTER

To: Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Senator Marise Payne
Senator Anne Ruston

A dedicated National Safety Plan to end violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women – for and by First Nations women. 

For many years now, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have been calling for a dedicated National Safety Plan written for and by First Nations women.

Academics, Commissioners, specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services, community leaders and victim-survivors have been clear that only a dedicated First Nations National Safety Plan that is developed for and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women will work for our people.

This demand was again made at the Women’s Safety Summit in the opening forum, and was repeated throughout the Summit by First Nations leaders who are determined that another National Safety Plan should not be created that will fail our communities.

We are calling on Prime Minister Morrison, Senator Payne and Senator Ruston to agree to support a dedicated First Nations National Safety Plan that is developed for and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

We are calling for:

  • A truly self-determined plan that brings together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and First Nations frontline service providers to design our own strategies for our safety and the safety of our communities. This cannot be achieved by the government deciding who is at the table, and what reforms they want to consider.
  • Our own dedicated plan to ensure we are not an afterthought or an ‘add on’ to a ‘mainstream’ plan. That won’t work. We need to design a plan that specifically works for us and our communities.
  • A new approach that does not replicate the mistakes of the old National Action Plan that failed to reduce the violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Any plan that is a subset of a government driven process, under a government determined framework, will fall into the same traps.
  • A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Gathering/Summit is essential to ensure that self-determined, community-led solutions are invested in and listened to. A national Gathering/Summit specifically for First Nations women will also support the sharing of knowledge, promotion of leadership, building of networks and relationships.

Signed:

Antoinette Braybrook, CEO Djirra, Co-Chair Change the Record and Co-Chair National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum

Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair Change the Record

Wynetta Dewis, CEO Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service, Co-Chair National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum

Tabatha Young, CEO Aboriginal Family Legal Service Southern Queensland, Deputy Chair National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum

Phynea Clarke, CEO Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Unit, Deputy Chair National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum

David Alexander, CEO North Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Service

Dr Marlene Longbottom, Yuin Woman, survivor of violence, Research Fellow, Ngarruwan Ngadju First Peoples Health & Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Wollongong.

June Riemer, Deputy CEO First Peoples Disability Network (Australia)

Emily Carter, CEO Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre

Sasha Cambrie, individual.

Shannon Oates, Manager Warra Warra Legal Service

Kylie Faulkner, Coordinator Many Rivers FVPLS Kempsey

Asha Bhat, CEO Southern Aboriginal Corporation Albany Western Australia

George Selvanera, acting CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

Dr Amanda Porter, Senior Fellow (Indigenous Programs), Melbourne Law School

Hannah McGlade, Associate Professor Curtin Law School, Member UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues

Kenn Payne, Manager, Many Rivers FVPLS

Julie Perkins, Chair, Gurehlgam Corp Ltd (Many Rivers FVPLS)

Jaimee Morgenbesser, Domestic Family Violence and Child Abuse Survivor Advocate, QLD Chapter Co-Lead, Australasian Women in Emergencies Network

Louisa Gibbs, CEO, Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria Inc

Emma Iwinska, President of Ending Violence Against Women Queensland (EVAWQ), CEO at Women’s Health Queensland

Julie Kun, CEO, WIRE (Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc. )

Janine Rees, Survivor Domestic Family & Sexual Violence, Victim Survivor Voice

Kit McMahon, CEO, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Dr Rachel Bush, Research Officer, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Lula Dembele, CSA & DV Survivor Advocate, Founder Accountability Matters Project, & Manager, Gender Equity, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Zoe Francis, Acting Health Promotion Manager, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Jo French, Communications, Events and Business Support Officer, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Laura Riccardi, Health Promotion Officer, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Carielyn Tunion, Domestic and Family Violence worker

Dr Caroline Lambert, Independent Consultant

Denise Paxinos Finance Officer, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Delia Donovan, CEO, Domestic Violence NSW

C.V Ballina Gee (Body Corporate / Unit Trust ) All Rights Reserved, Founding Director, Housing With A Purpose

Christine Robinson, Coordinator, Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre

Louise Edmonds, Founder MenStylePower and Men of Manners, CSA and DV Advocate.

Kathryn Allan, Regional President ACT & Southern NSW, Amnesty International Australia

Katrina Nurse, Health Promotion Officer – Prevention of Violence Against Women – Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE)

Nicola Parkes, Youth Services Team Leader – City of Port Phillip

Kirsty Bell, Koorie Liaison Officer – Chisholm TAFE

Sienna Aguilar (she/her), individual

Che Bishop, individual

Edwina MacDonald, Deputy CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

Rabecca Mphande, President & Co-founding Director, AfriAus ILEAC: Inspire Lead Educate Advocate for Change Inc (AfriAus iLEAC Inc); President Nelson andela Day Commemorative Committee Inc (NMDCC); Pan African Australasian Diaspora Network Inc – Councillor (Chairperson PAADN Gender)

Chris Edmonds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Project Officer, Southern Melbourne Primary Care Partnership

Jacqui Watt, Chief Executive Officer, No to Violence.

Melissa Bickford, Aboriginal Community Officer, Glen Eira City Council

Rosanne Bersten, Managing Director, intertwine

Michelle Phillips, CEO, YWCA Australia

Bobbie Trower, Senior Manager Advocacy, YWCA Australia

Tess Moodie, DFV & SV Survivor Advocate, Policy & Project Officer at Women With Disabilities Australia, Project Coordinator Advocates for Change at Engender Equality Tasmania.

Heidi La Paglia, Director of Policy and Programs, Women With DIsabilities Australia

Dianne Hill, CEO, Women’s Health Victoria

Debbie Kilroy, CEO, Sisters Inside

Carol Fuller, Zonta Club of Launceston, White Ribbon Committee

Renee Carr, Executive Director, Fair Agenda

Diana Sayed, CEO, Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights

Vanamali (Mali) Hermans, Policy & Project Officer, Women With Disabilities Australia

Nadia Bergineti, Chief Executive Officer, The Reily Foundation Inc

Bonney Corbin, Chair, Australian Women’s Health Network and Head of Policy, Marie Stopes Australia

Caroline Long, Regional Manager, South East Women and Children’s Services. Eurobodalla and Bega Valley, NSW

Michael Smith, CEO, Eastern Community Legal Centre

Helen Bolton, CEO The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre (SAFV Centre)

Nicole Blaik, Community Worker, Highlands Community Centres, Southern Highlands, NSW

Jenna McDonald, Program Manager, Staying Home Leaving Violence SEWACS Bega

Verity White, Founder, Checklist Legal

Tricia Currie, CEO, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee

Barry Scott White Ribbon Launceston

Elaine Butler: Individual

Alison Laycock: Individual

Paula Piccinini, Chief Executive Officer, Refuge Victoria Inc

Bettina Baldeschi, CEO, International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA)

Dr Catherine Hastings, Researcher

Jamal Hakim, Councillor, Melbourne City, and Managing Director, Marie Stopes Australia

Kris Newton, Manager, Mountains Community Resource Network

Janine Sherrard, COO, Refuge Victoria Inc.

Bridget Tehan, President, Australasian Women in Emergencies Network

Dr Amy Wallis, Prevention of Family Violence Officer, Kingston City Council

Marco Lupoli, Team Leader Dianella Lives Lived Well, Blue Mountains

Denele Crozier, AM,  CEO, Women’s Health NSW

Samantha House, Prevention of Family Violence Officer, Kingston City Council

Stephanie Robinson CEO, Lifeline Central West, NSW

Kim Stace, Sector Engagement Manager, Fams

Brent Honey, Diversity & Inclusion (Gender Equality) Officer, Kingston City Council

Claire Sinni, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, Kingston City Council

Andrew Jackomos, Previous Commissioner for Aboriginal and Young People Victoria

Helen Fischer, Executive Member, Soroptimist International of South Australia

Dr William Liley, Managing Director, Violence Prevention Australia

Kate Walton, feminist activist and writer

Gill McManus Oxley, Researcher at Link-Up (NSW)

Linden Green, Relationship and Family Therapist

Rachael Natoli, CEO, Lokahi Foundation

Pefi Kingi QSM, Chief, PacificwinPacific

Suzanna Tiapula, Executive Group, PAWA – Pacific Australian Women’s Association

Heke Warren, Executive, NAVA – Niue Australian Vagahau Association

Deb Misiuepa, Inaugural Foundation Member, Victoria University Pacific Australian Postgraduate Association

Carol Lehmann, Creator, Domestic Violence Information Library (Australia) on Facebook and Admin, Domestic Violence Support Australia

Carly Stanley CEO & Founder Deadly Connections Community & Justice Services Limited

Keenan Mundine Deputy CEO Deadly Connections Community & Justice Services Limited

Brenna Bernardino, individual

Jeanette Large CEO, Women’s Property Initiatives

Warwick Cuthbertson  White Ribbon Launceston

Anna Robinson, CEO, Access Health and Community

Laura Williams – individual

Tala Gosche – individual

Hunter Johnson, CEO & Founder The Man Cave Global Ltd and Good Stuff Global Ltd

Cheryl Alexander, Manager NBM Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service

Maggie Munn, Indigenous Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Australia

Linda Simon, National Convenor Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE)

Jane Madden, President National Foundation for Australian Women

Yumi Lee, Manager, Older Women’s Network NSW Inc

Samantha Klintworth, National Director, Amnesty International Australia

Stevie Hoiles, Individual

Kara Keys, Chair – Women in Super

Bethany Williams – Individual and Zonta Canberra member

Aimee McVeigh, CEO, Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS)

George Robinson  General Manager Central Bayside Community Health Services

Carolyn Newall, CEO, We Teach Well.

Tanja Kovac CEO GEN VIC

Judy, Malcolm and Liesl Homes (individuals)

Ahmad Tausif – Team Leader of SHINE and Connect programs at Family Life

Karen Craigie, Executive Director, Prosper (Project Australia)

Ashley Scott, Executive Officer, Rainbow Families

Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey, Director, Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW)

Stacey Weatherall Aboriginal mental Health Peer Worker, Armidale Community Mental Health Team.

Sally Grimsley-Ballard, General Manager, Domestic Violence Service Management NSW

Peta Swarbrick Organiser Canberra March4Justice

Mark Carter – Cardinia Shire Council

Sally Stevenson AM, General Manager, Illawarra Women’s Health Centre

Rob Macindoe – Enliven Victoria (SEHCP Inc.)

Young Women’s Advisory Group (YWAG), Equality Rights Alliance (ERA)

Dr Maree Overall, CEO, EMILY”s List Australia

Jade Blakkarly, Juno

Professor Cathy Humphreys, University of Melbourne

Julie Allan, Co-founder, (OurNaturalGifts; nurturing Transcendental Leaders) OPP Australia Pty Ltd

Mary Crooks AO The Victorian Women’s Trust

Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)

Jenny Davidson, CEO, Council of Single Mothers and their Children

Dr Renee Fiolet, Indigenous Equity Unit, University of Melbourne.

Larissa Fogden, University of Melbourne

Greg Strong Aboriginal Family Health Worker Hunter New England Local Health District

Miranda Batchelor, Community Liaison and Client Support Manager-Illawarra Women’s Health Centre

Rachel Kayrooz, Disability Advocate, DV Survivor, Member of the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (who wrote the 1st National Plan of Action)

Karen Mundine, CEO, Reconciliation Australia

Amara Hamid, community strengthening Coordinator, Kingston City Council

Amanda Lamont, Co-founder and Vice President, Australasian Women in Emergencies Network; Resilience Adviser, Zoos Victoria

Ruth Myers, Counsellor, individual, NSW

Lisa Marie Jackson, Committee Member, Australasian Women in Emergencies Network

Kath Cooney, Secretary, Australasian Women in Emergencies Network

Bronwyn Penrith., Chairperson, Mudgin-gal Aboriginal Corporation

Ruth Barson and Adrianne Walters, Legal Directors, Human Rights Law Centre

Monique Hurley, Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Law Centre

Simon Katterl, Mental Health and Human Rights Consultant

Dr Kyja Noack-Lundberg, University of Queensland

Kerry Weste, President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR)

Samantha O’Brien, individual, WA

Julian Cleary, public health and human rights advocate

Georgie Dent, Executive Director, The Parenthood & Contributing Editor, Women’s Agenda

Dr Jane Wangmann, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney

Yvette Ainsworth Phillips, Individual, Vic

Dr Crystal McKinnon, Vice Chancellor’s Indigenous Research Fellow, RMIT University

Ben Watson, Lawyer, Stary Norton Halphen

Dilli Ching, Community Services Volunteer, NSW

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