On Friday, Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of Djirra, addressed the United National Human Rights Council in Geneva in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, telling the Council that family violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is a national crisis in Australia.
Djirra (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service Victoria) is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation governed by an Aboriginal Board of Directors who are elected by members.
It is a place where culture is shared and celebrated, and where practical support is available to all Aboriginal women and particularly to Aboriginal people who are currently experiencing family violence or have in the past.
Djirra is the Woiwurrung word for the reed used by Wurundjeri women for basket weaving. Traditionally, when women gathered to weave, important talks took place and problems were solved. Djirra symbolises Aboriginal women today, still coming together to share stories, support each other and find solutions.
Antoinette Braybrook writes:
“Australia holds itself out as a diverse and thriving country committed to human rights and equality, but when it comes to violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women we have a national emergency.
“Our women are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised because of family violence and 10 times more likely to die from violent assault than other women. Ninety percent of violence against our women goes unreported. Systemic violence and racism are real. When our women reach out for help, they are too often met with racism and systemic violence.
“Every woman, every mother and her children must have access to culturally safe services for their safety. I urge our governments to act on our calls for specific targets addressing the high rates of violence against our women. Australian governments must act now before more women’s lives are lost and families destroyed”.
A National Plan
Ms Braybrook called for a National Action Plan on violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, targets for the reduction in family violence and long term investment in culturally safe specialist services.
In particular she stressed the need to increase funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services, which have had no funding increase since 2014.
Ms Braybrook also made a joint statement with the Human Rights Law Centre regarding the high removal rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, with family violence being a key driver.
Watch the full statements
Antoinette Braybrook’s UN statement on Family Violence
Antoinette Braybrook’s UN statement on Child Removal