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Indigenous Perspectives on Help-Seeking for Family Violence: Voices From an Australian Community

journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-01, 00:00 authored by Renee FioletRenee Fiolet, L Tarzia, R Owen, C Eccles, K Nicholson, M Owen, S Fry, J Knox, K Hegarty
Indigenous peoples experience high rates of family violence (FV) yet are said to access support at lower rates than their non-Indigenous counterparts. There is an absence of Indigenous voices regarding their help-seeking behaviors for FV, particularly concerning men’s views. The aim of this research was to seek Indigenous perspectives on their help-seeking behaviors for FV. Individual, face-to-face semistructured interviews took place with 23 Indigenous Australians (14 women and 9 men) recruited from one large community in Victoria, Australia. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were categorized and organized, and themes were identified using thematic analysis. Five main themes emerged from the data. “You’re Aboriginal, so that’s just how it is” describes the experiences with discrimination and judgment that create general barriers for Indigenous peoples to access services. The second theme “putting a big blanket over it” articulates the role that shame plays in deterring support-seeking for FV. “How do you trust somebody?” defines the fear in the hearts and minds of Indigenous participants who contemplate help-seeking. A further main theme of “someone that they could have a yarn with” explores what occurs when participants initially decide to seek support. Their thoughts on what participants want from interactions with formal services are explored in the final theme “a safe space.” Significant barriers to seeking support for FV exist for Indigenous peoples, including discrimination, shame, and fear. Service providers need to work on addressing these barriers through an increased understanding of Indigenous experiences and beliefs in an effort to encourage help-seeking behaviors. Interventions to assist kin in dealing with FV and for service providers to create safe spaces are urgent. More research informed by Indigenous voices is needed.

History

Journal

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Volume

36

Issue

21-22

Article number

ARTN 0886260519883861

Pagination

10128 - 10146

Publisher

SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC

Location

United States

ISSN

0886-2605

eISSN

1552-6518

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal