The Northern Territory has the highest rate of domestic violence in Australia and Aboriginal women in Central Australia are at particularly high risk of domestic, family and sexual violence.


Here are some important facts:


  • According to the Australian Government’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, especially women and children, are disproportionately affected by family violence. Not only are they more likely to be affected by family violence, they also face unique barriers to obtaining assistance—whether from a mainstream or culturally appropriate service. It is clear
    that the injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including the dispossession of their land and traditional culture, and the grief and trauma associated with policies leading to the wrongful removal of children from their families, have had a profound impact on these communities.’[1]


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 45 times more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Aboriginal women.[2]


  • In the 12 months from May 2018 to April 2019, there were almost 1500 assaults reported to Alice Springs police and of those, almost 75% were incidences of domestic, family and sexual violence.[3]


  • Most violent crime statistics that come from police data do not reveal the hidden figures – vast amounts of domestic, family and sexual violence incidences go unreported and undisclosed to police.[4]


  • Many Indigenous women are suspicious of criminal justice services such as police and this affects their decision about whether to report violence or not.[5]

  • Many Indigenous women live remotely and speak English as their second language and as such are not able to report their concerns.


  • Indigenous women have less access to resources that can assist them in staying safe and many of the services that are available to women do not operate in a culturally sensitive manner or recognise their unique needs.


  • Indigenous women have strong ties to family and country which may prevent them from leaving domestic violence relationships.


  • The Family Safety Framework is a project that was introduced in Alice Springs in July 2012, specifically to manage and respond to Family and Domestic Violence because of the unique vulnerabilities of Central Australian women and families.[6]

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[2] Jane Mulroney ‘Australian Statistics on Domestic Violence’ (Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse topic paper, 2003) 10.


[4] Willis M 2011. Non-disclosure of violence in Australian Indigenous communities. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 405. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

[5] Ibid