On Thursday 7 and Friday 9 of December, we supported Kornar Winmil Yunti (KWY) in Adelaide to deliver the ‘Working with Aboriginal Men and Family Violence Conference.’ The conference attracted Aboriginal speakers from almost every state in Australia, from a variety of disciplines working and advocating to prevent Aboriginal men’s family violence. A conference of this authenticity and scale has rarely been achieved in Australia. It is certainly a first for us and our emerging work with Aboriginal organisations.
In an atmosphere of safety and warmth, both presenters and audience members discussed themes ranging from, but not limited to:
Accountability: the question of whose accountability?; its applicability from the individual to statutory bodies; its intrinsic part of Aboriginal communities; the appropriateness of this term, the difficulty of forcing accountability on a person.
Culturally Specific Approaches: narrative therapy such as Anthony Newcastle’s ‘Didge’ program, songwriting, residential programs such as Dardi Munwurro’s ‘Strong Spirit, Strong Culture’, the pitfalls of twisting western MBCP models to fit Aboriginal programs; the relevance of gender inequality in some Aboriginal FV settings.
Women’s Lives Matter: silent women; the disproportionate stats; institutional racism; no excuses for Aboriginal men who use violence; the need to stand by these women.
Generational Trauma: the pervasive impacts of colonisation as drivers of violence against Aboriginal women; the necessity of addressing trauma before making change; the biological basis of trauma.
Acknowledging Positive Practice: KWY (SA), Dardi Munwurro (VIC), Yoowina Wurnalung (Eastern VIC), Babana & Coloured Diggers Project (NSW), Natjul (QLD), Mibbinbah (QLD).
Sharing Stories: the need for more men’s centres; the importance of ‘yarning’, celebrating the unique humour, history and resilience of Aboriginal people.
Speakers engaged audiences with presentations, panel discussions, intimate workshops, in and around the lunch buffet and even with performance. There were too many brilliant speakers to list, so please see a collection of photos below. Congratulations to our Indigenous Engagement Consultant, Janis Constable, who pulled together the rich program and worked tirelessly to promote the conference which drew more than 150 people – all of whom left inspired to advance the conversations and learnings of this year’s most important conference on Aboriginal men and family violence.