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The stories of our women: Exploring the barriers to Aboriginal women’s help seeking in the context of family violence

Woods, Jenna (2018) The stories of our women: Exploring the barriers to Aboriginal women’s help seeking in the context of family violence. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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Family violence in Aboriginal communities is an ongoing tragedy and a blight on Australian society and governments. Developing a clear understanding of the nature of family violence in Aboriginal communities and the barriers preventing Aboriginal women’s help seeking is, therefore, of the upmost importance. In collaboration with target communities in Armadale and Kwinana, the following research question was devised: what barriers do Aboriginal women face when seeking help to address family violence? Community focus groups and individual interviews, guided by the Indigenous Research Methodology of ‘Yarning’, were held in the two focus sites. A total of 37 women participated in this process and three types of barriers to help seeking are identified from their stories. There are: i) barriers within our own communities; ii) structural barriers, and; iii) institutional racism. The barriers within our community were the normalisation of violence, problematic family intervention and a collective fear of child protection. Structural barriers were refuge accommodation inaccessibility, police negligence and harmful child protection intervention. Thirdly, direct and indirect experiences of institutional racism from members of two key institutions, the police force and child protection agency, were found to negatively influence the women’s willingness to seek assistance and protection. The findings of this research provide a comprehensive account of Aboriginal women’s experiences of help seeking in the context of family violence within the Perth metropolitan region.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School Of Business and Governance
United Nations SDGs: Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Notes: Research Masters with Training
Supervisor(s): Haigh, Yvonne and Cook, Ian
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