NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Healing response for child sexual abuse

Healing response to child sexual abuse

Yesterday the Australian Government launched the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse (2021-2030) (the National Strategy), a 10 year whole-of-nation framework. PM Scott Morrison said the landmark National Strategy was the first of its kind, “the first ever long-term, truly national plan to protect our children from the scourge of sexual abuse.” To the PM’s media release click here.

As part of this National Strategy an independent Indigenous expert group has been formed to co-design a new program to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child sexual abuse survivors and their families.

Supporting Healing for Families, one of two distinct initiatives in the National Strategy focused on Indigenous Australians, will support place-based, Indigenous-led healing approaches to strengthen families and improve wellbeing. A second initiative will deliver a suite of trauma-aware, healing-informed and culturally appropriate resources to frontline health workers so the needs of Indigenous Australians seeking help are better tailored for, both in person and via telehealth conversations.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP said ‘‘the specific needs of Indigenous Australians, including connections to culture, country and language, have been a key part of the development of the National Strategy. Through the Indigenous Expert Group we’re sharing key decision-making processes including the identification of five communities and corresponding service providers to trial new approaches. Experts from the NACCHO and Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia will be part of the expert group.”

To view Minister Wyatt’s media release in full click here.

Image source: 2ser107.3 website.

QAIHC launches bespoke vax website

In a push to drive increased vaccination numbers and reduce the gap in numbers between First Nations people and the general population, QAIHC enlisted New World Order to design one of the first bespoke COVID-19 vaccine websites in Australia.

This new website aims to fill a vital gap in the market by providing vaccine information directly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The issues facing QAIHC with regard to the general vaccine rollout included:

  • too much available information
  • the information was poorly explained
  • too hard to find as it wasn’t centrally located
  • concerns It was not culturally safe.

Gert Geyer, communications officer, QAIHC said: “[New World Order] delivered a beautifully designed, culturally safe and user friendly COVID-19 vaccine website for First Nations people in Queensland.”

To view the article in full click here.

CAAC’s vax outreach program needs time

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAcc) CEO Donna Ah Chee says her organisation’s outreach [COVID-19 vaccination] program is starting to see small results but needs time. “It’s not about sitting in the clinic and waiting for people to come into the clinic,” she said. “It’s about getting out there and speaking to people … in order for them to have their questions and their hesitancy thought through.”

Grandmother Annie Young, who proudly calls herself the first to get vaccinated in Santa Teresa, is worried about the misinformation spreading among residents, and spearheads regular community meetings for residents to talk through their concerns.

Aboriginal health groups have been pushing for a vaccination target of 90 to 95% in Aboriginal communities before the Territory’s border restrictions are lifted. CAAC CEO Ms Ah Chee warns COVID-19 could “run rampant” and “overwhelm” communities where vaccination coverage is low. She says the virus could be devastating for elderly people “who, in our thinking, are our universities …that sort of knowledge will go just like that because of this virus.”

Ms Ah Chee says false rumours about the vaccines, especially those circulating on social media, will continue to make it difficult for health workers on the ground in some communities to convince people to get vaccinated. “Stop it. Stop spreading the misinformation because it is going to kill people,” she says.

To view the ABC News article in full click here.

Annie Young from shoulders standing outside, trees/buildings in background

Annie Young was the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in her community. Photo: Eleni Roussos, ABC News

Vax success stories and myths webinar

The Menzies School of Health Research and Telethon Kids Institute will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Workshop – Sharing Success Stories & Smashing Myths on 3:30 PM Darwin time (5-6 PM AEST) Wednesday 3 November 2021 to help promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake across the NT and northern WA. The event will be held in person at Menzies (in Darwin) with a zoom link up to some presenters and peripheral sites.

There are two parts to the workshop:

Sharing Success Stories – with presentations from key health services including AMSANT, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Danila Dilba Health Service, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, Mala’la Health Service and others

Smashing Myths Q&A – where the audience can ask questions about COVID-19 vaccines – vaccines in pregnancy, vaccines in children, booster shots, vaccines in the context of RHD etc.

Members of the Q&A panel include Margie Danchin (MCRI/ ATAGI), Chris Blyth (WCVID TKI/ ATAGI), Jane Davies (NT COVID Clinical Lead) and Bhavini Patel (NT Health COVID Vaccine Lead).

You can access a flyer for the workshop here and a program for the workshop here.

Getting vax an act of love

Redfern’s Community Chaplain, Pastor Ray Minniecon, recently made a compelling video urging people to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Paster Minniecon regard the simple act of becoming vaccinated as an act of love for family and community, encouraging all to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

There have been many barriers for Aboriginal communities to access the vaccine and culturally safe healthcare during the pandemic. However, for some communities access to health services is a struggle that predates the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aboriginal people have faced decades of exclusion from government decision making resulting in poor and inappropriate housing and service provision which has impacted their health.

To view the full article in the Croakey click here.

Webinar series to address vax concerns

With increasing cases of COVID-19 in the Community, NACCHO will begin running a series of webinars to address emerging concerns from the sector and share approaches and success stories our services. The focus will be on responses within the health services to respond to COVID-19.

The first session on Tuesday 2 November will be on “Minimising risk of COVID-19 transmission in the clinic: PPE and staff vaccination”. Staff from Winnunga Nimmityjah in Canberra will share their experience through the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Over 180 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT have been infected with COVID-19. Winnunga has been a central part of the response, acting as a major testing and vaccination centre. They will discuss their strategies to minimise exposure to staff to keep the clinic open, including their mandatory staff vaccination policy

The webinar will cover:

You can access the link to Tuesday’s webinar here.

Image source: News Medical Life Sciences website.

ACCOs role in youth SEWB programs

University of Wollongong (UOW) researcher Dr Marlene Longbottom has been awarded a $1.2m grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) as part of the Discovery Indigenous Scheme, announced Wednesday 27 October 2021.

The grant will investigate how Indigenous community-controlled organisations in the health, justice and child protection sectors develop and implement culturally and community grounded programs, that can guide and improve the safety and wellbeing of young Indigenous people between the ages of 10-24.

Furthermore, the project seeks to better understand the unique perspectives, strengths and limitations of organisations who provide critical support to young Indigenous people in contact with the carceral system.

To view the media release in full click here.

Dr Marlene Longbottom

Grant recipient Dr Marlene Longbottom. UOW website.

Aunty Pat Ockwell tells her story

Patricia Nicholson’s dad employed an exotic method of saving his children from being taken away by what Aboriginal families knew as “the Welfare”. When he opened a can of food, he opened it from the bottom and stacked it back in the cupboard the right way up with all the other emptied cans.

“The Welfare had said that Mum was an unfit mother,” relates Patricia, now a senior elder of the Wurundjeri people and known for many years as Aunty Pat Ockwell. “But she wasn’t — she was just having kids. Anyway, they came in to inspect the house [at that time in Dimboola, a Wimmera town more than 330 kilometres north-west of Melbourne].

“Well, when the Welfare went through the cupboard … they just opened the doors and saw the tins. They said ‘oh, there’s food here’. They only looked with their white eyes and couldn’t see we were a family who were loved. The place where we lived had an earth floor. Well, they thought that was bad conditions. But it wasn’t. We were just poor.”

Patricia, now 84 and long a powerful leader of her people, has finally told her life story and published it in a large and handsome book entitled simply Aunty Pat Ockwell Tells Her Story with Pauline Mackinnon.

To view the article in full click here.

Aunty Pat Ockwell

Wurundjeri leader Aunty Pat Ockwell. Image source: The Age.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

Blue Knot Day

Blue Knot Day is an Australian national day held every year in October on which Blue Knot Foundation calls on all Australians to unite in support of the more than 5 million Australian adults who have experienced complex trauma.

Blue Knot Day 2021 is being held today Thursday 28 October 2021. Events will be held around the country in support of adult survivors during the week from Monday 24 October to Sunday 31 October 2021.

Blue Knot Day is day for all Australians to unite in support of adult survivors of complex trauma. By empowering recovery, we also foster hope and resilience. The tangled knot in Blue Knot’s logo symbolises the tangle of complex trauma while the blue in the logo represents to sky. A clear blue sky opens up the space for new possibilities for healing and recovery.

For more information click here.