Domestic violence in Indigenous communities is widespread according to a national conference on the Gold Coast today.

But there’s hope programs teaching women leadership skills are making a difference.

Melanie Arnost reports.


The support was evident as community groups applauded those tackling domestic violence.

Heading one of the projects is Alana Moffett who said her leadership program is making a difference for Indigenous Women.

Alana Moffett, MacArthur Indigenous Women Leadership Program: “When a woman actually understands her own worth her own self-esteem raises.”

But because of shame she says exactly how common the violence is in these communities is difficult to report.

Alana Moffett, MacArthur Indigenous Women Leadership Program: “Shame is a big part of our culture and that is very immobilising when you feel shame your family is not operating as it should be.”

The event’s organiser says the conference gives delegates a chance to not only network but speak out.

Maria Liza Edubas, Global Coalition Against Domestic Violence: “People should get involved not only the individual victims but to create a unified voice.”

But is saying “no” enough? Those sitting in on the talks say places like this need less talk, more action but as subtley as possible.

Danielle de Costa, Aboriginal family worker: “We’ve tried in the past to run a domestic violence support group but there’s a lot of stigma around the actual issue.”

In Australia, Indigenous women are 45 per cent more likely to experience domestic violence than white women.

Lynda Williams, Aboriginal family worker: “Within my own work I would say 70 to 80 per cent of my clients have issues with domestic violence or have in the past.”

But instead of just blaming men Alana Moffett says they too should be involved in the solution.

Alana Moffett, MacArthur Indigenous Women Leadership Program: “I would love to see this program happening for men in a regional way as well because I tell you what our women are doing amazing stuff as community leaders.”

Melanie Arnost, QUT News.