Sexual and domestic violence are prevalent issues in Indigenous Australian communities, and it has a severe impact on the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the affected individuals. Indigenous women are 6 times more likely to be sexually abused than non-Indigenous women and 45 times more likely to experience domestic violence in rural and remote areas than non-Indigenous women. Many survivors of sexual and domestic violence carry the trauma of their experiences long after the violence has ended, and they often struggle with various types of mental health issues. On top of these statistics, the Australian Psychological Society states that clients are often waiting up to 3 months to see a psychologist after seeking out a referral from another medical professional after experiencing a hardship or trauma.
Obviously, these statistics are horrific. This is why I have developed a 12 week program for Indigenous women who have experienced sexual or domestic violence - it is the first of its kind in New South Wales. The goal of this is to provide a comprehensive healing and recovery program for Indigenous survivors with a focus on mental health support that is culturally safe and appropriate. My hopes is that with this program, we can offer support and coping strategies to the participant in the time between being approved for Victims Service counselling and their first appointment with their psychologist.
The program will host group therapy sessions, and workshops centred on coping mechanisms, mental health, self-care, violence prevention as well as reconnecting participants with their community and engaging them for individual counselling. We believe that the proposed initiative will have a significant impact on the lives of Indigenous survivors and it will bring healing council and recovery to those who need at most.
Funded by Lake Mac (November 2023)