Aboriginal Health : 2017 @AlcoholDrugFdn Excellence Innovation Awards close 22 May

The 2017 National Alcohol and Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards

Download First Australians Award nomination form

First-Australians-Award-Nomination-Form

First Australians Award

The First Australians Award recognises an individual/community as having made a significant and/or meaningful commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of alcohol and other drug use in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities.

Judging criteria

  • Was the effort collaborative with communities and other key stakeholders
  • Culturally appropriate in design and implementation
  • Were efforts evaluation and found to have a measurable impact on alcohol and other drug use
  • Did efforts contribute to increasing community awareness and perceptions on alcohol and other drug issues.

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

The 2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards

The 2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards encourage, recognise and celebrate the achievements of the incredible people and organisations that do exceptional work to reduce the harm and impact of alcohol and other drugs in Australia.

Photo above Supplied

The Alcohol and other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards (National AOD Awards) are supported by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation and the Australian Government.

There is terrific work and important innovative practices happening in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector that benefit the entire community and we want these to be shared and celebrated.

The National Alcohol and other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards commenced in 2004 and were established by the Alcohol and Other Drug Council of Australia, Australian National Council on Drugs, Ted Noffs Foundation and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (formerly the Australian Drug Foundation).

Why?

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and the Australian Government know how important it is to acknowledge and reward the people and organisations who demonstrate excellence and innovation in their commitment to building a healthier future for our Nation.

We want to promote the nominated organisations as leaders within the AOD field, building their reputation and credibility within their communities.

We want to raise awareness across the country about effective projects and initiatives which are having a positive impact in the prevention and reduction of AOD harms.

Who can enter?

The National AOD Awards are open to all people and organisations working across the health and wellbeing sectors in Australia.

The Awards are designed for all sectors within the health and wellbeing industry. There are categories to recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations.

Each category has its own eligibility requirements, but there are some general rules and principles to keep in mind.

  1. The work must have taken place in Australia.
  2. Entrants may enter more than one category but must complete a submission for each category separately.
  3. If your entry mentions a particular organisation, you must have permission from the organisation to mention them – and this should be accompanied by a letter of support.
  4. With the exception of the National Honour Roll, work or achievements outside (2015 – 3/4/2017) cannot be considered.
  5. The selection panel may choose to present an award for excellence and an award for innovation in appropriate categories.

When?

Nominations for the National AOD Awards are open now and close at midnight 22 May 2017.

The awards ceremony will be held in Canberra, on 16 June 2017.

How to enter

To enter the National AOD Awards email your submission to aodawards@adf.org.au. Ensure your submission correctly addresses the criteria for the category you are nominating for. You can nominate yourself, your organisation, someone else or a different organisation.

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Prime Minister’s Award

The Prime Minister’s Award recognises an individual as having made a significant commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of drug and alcohol use. Only individuals can be nominated for this award.

Judging Criteria

Please highlight how the individual has made a significant commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of alcohol and other drugs use in Australia. A Curriculum Vitae for the nominee should also be provided.

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page

Prime Ministers Award Nomination Form
Nomination Form 57.31 KB PDF

Law Enforcement and Supply Reduction

This award recognises a program, policy or resource that makes a significant contribution to law enforcement efforts designed to reduce the harmful impact of alcohol and other drug use. This award includes broad based policing and other criminal justice interventions at any level which demonstrably enhances the capacity of the community and/or the health sector to impact on alcohol and other drug use.

Judging criteria –
that the program, policy or resource is:

  • Based on a demonstrated need
  • Includes an appropriate level of consultation
  • Demonstrates a measurable positive impact

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

Law Enforcement and Supply Reduction Nomination Form
Nomination Form 60.21 KB PDF

Prevention and Education

There are two different criteria for this award, the criteria used will be determined by the type of nomination. Please choose which criteria best supports your nomination.

Option OneThis award recognises a program, policy or resource that makes a significant contribution to the prevention and any type of drug use or drug-related harm. This award is not just limited to alcohol and other drug specific interventions, it includes broad based prevention programs aimed at addressing risk and protective factors and building resilience, which can be demonstrated to impact on alcohol and other drugs use.

Judging criteria –
that the program, policy or resource is:

  • Based on good practice and/or research (is evidence-based, is appropriately targeted and sustainable)
  • Based on a demonstrated need
  • Developed with the target audience and other key stakeholders
  • Evaluated and found to have a measurable impact.

Option Two

This award recognises the school that demonstrates innovation and successful outcomes in school drug education to address drug and alcohol issues. ‘School drug education’ encompasses all policies, practices, programmes and initiatives/events in schools connected with the prevention and reduction of drug-related harm. The award is open to schools in all sectors: primary and secondary levels; and government and non-government schools. Schools need to address the Australian Government Principles for School Drug Education within their nomination.

Judging criteria –
the 12 principles used are:

  • School practice based in evidence
  • A whole school approach
  • Clear educational outcomes
  • Safe and supportive environment
  • Positive and collaborative relationships
  • Culturally appropriate and targeted drug education
  • Recognition of risk and protective factors
  • Consistent policy and practice
  • Timely programs within a curriculum framework
  • Programs delivered by teachers
  • Interactive strategies and skills development
  • Credible and meaningful learning activities

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

Prevention and Education Nomination Form
Nomination Form 69.05 KB PDF

 Treatment and Support

This award recognises a treatment or support program or service that makes a significant contribution to treatment and support efforts designed to assist those impacted by alcohol and other drug use. This award is not just limited to alcohol and other drug specific treatment and support plans, it includes broad based policing and other treatment and support interventions at any level which provide appropriate support and treatment to individuals, families and communities impacted by alcohol and other drug use.

Judging criteria –
that the program or service is:

  • Based on established scientific evidence
  • Able to provide evidence of consumer input into program and organisational policies and practices
  • Committed to process and outcome evaluation – both internal and external – and contributing to the broader scientific discourse around best practice services
  • Designed to address a current gap in knowledge or service delivery
  • Endeavouring to provide a creative solution to a problem/service gap and fostering a culture that promotes innovation
  • Going above and beyond business as usual

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

Treatment and Support Nomination Form
Nomination Form 62.08 KB PDF

 Reduction of Harm

This award recognises a program, policy or resource that makes a significant contribution to harm reduction efforts. This award includes broad based policies and programs, as well as community level interventions which demonstrably protects the health of the community and/or enhances the capacity of the health sector to address some of the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use.

Judging criteria –
that the program, policy or resource is:

  • Based on an identified need
  • Includes an appropriate level of consultation, particularly with affected communities
  • Demonstrates a clear reduction in harm

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

Reduction of Harm Nomination Form
Nomination Form 60.24 KB PDF

Research

Nominations in this category should be supported by sound evidence which recognises the significance of the research and its relevance and benefit to the community as a whole.

Judging criteria –
please detail how the body of research:

  • Is contributing and adding practical value to alcohol and other drug practice
  • Is of sound design and method
  • Meets ethical standards for research practice
  • Is being effectively disseminated
  • Provide details of support which recognises the importance of this research within the AOD field.

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

Research Nomination Form
Nomination Form 62.30 KB PDF

Media Reporting

This award recognises the important role that the media plays in informing and shaping the community’s knowledge and perceptions on drug issues. It may be given to an individual journalist or a media organisation (print, radio or television), either regional or metropolitan. The award can be given for an individual media piece, or for a series of pieces over a period of time.

Judging criteria –
address the following points

  • Informing and shaping community knowledge and perceptions of alcohol and drug issues
  • How was the storyline developed and researched
  • Relevance of interviews and impact achieved by article/program
  • Accurate information about alcohol and other drugs and their harms
  • Program and press articles aired/published on or after 1 December 2009

After completing your online nomination, send four labelled copies of your piece/s (photocopy, audiotape, CD/DVD or video tape) to the address detailed on the nomination form.

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

Media Reporting Nomination Form
Nomination Form 59.00 KB PDF

First Australians Award

The First Australians Award recognises an individual/community as having made a significant and/or meaningful commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of alcohol and other drug use in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities.

Judging criteria

Please highlight how the individual/community has made a significant and/or meaningful commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of alcohol and other drugs use in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities.

Judging criteria –
other considerations

  • Was the effort collaborative with communities and other key stakeholders
  • Culturally appropriate in design and implementation
  • Were efforts evaluation and found to have a measurable impact on alcohol and other drug use
  • Did efforts contribute to increasing community awareness and perceptions on alcohol and other drug issues.

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

First Australians Award Nomination Form
Nomination Form 62.68 KB PDF
National Honour Roll

A National Honour Roll for individuals who have made a significant contribution, over a considerable time period, to the alcohol and other drug field has been established to acknowledge and publicly recognise the exceptional work which is done by some people who have worked tirelessly over a number of years in this sector.

Judging criteria

The judging criteria for nominations will be restricted to those who have made an outstanding contribution to addressing alcohol and other drug issues over a substantial period of time. Nominations may be made for people who are or are currently working directly in the alcohol and other drug field, or in the many related fields.

It is expected that the number of inductees into the Alcohol and Other Drug Honour Roll will be limited to ensure it only truly acknowledges those that have made a sustained and significant contribution.

The short statement outlining the rationale for a nomination should not exceed 100 words, with the text for each judging criteria being kept to no more than half an A4 page.

National Honour Roll Nomination Form
Nomination Form 59.72 KB PDF


Judging

Independent panels will be convened for each category with invitations extended to experts within each field to lend a hand in selecting the winners.

Programs and employees of the ADF are not eligible for the National AOD Awards.

More information

For more information or to ask a question about the National AOD Awards, please contact the ADF.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Alcohol @FareAustralia 2017 annual alcohol poll report released #ALCpoll2017

 

FARE has released its 2017 annual alcohol poll : Attitudes and behaviours today. The Poll is now in its eighth yearr of publication and explores Australia’s attitudes towards alcohol, drinking behaviours, awareness and experience of alcohol harms, and opinions on alcohol policies.

This year the results of the Poll have shown that Australians are concerned about and impacted by alcohol harm, and they are suspicious and deeply cynical about the alcohol industry.
Key findings include:

• 81% of Australians believe that more needs to be done to reduce the harm caused by alcohol-related illness, injury, death, and related issues (up from 78% in 2016).

• 44% of Australian drinkers (five million Australians) consume alcohol to get drunk (up from 37% in 2016).
• 92% of Australians think that there is a link between alcohol and family and domestic violence.
• 68% of Australians support a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 8.30pm.

The Poll is available at http://www.fare.org.au , along with a series of short videos.

FARE will be promoting the Poll and using supporting collateral on Twitter and Facebook over the course of the day.

Why not check out the findings, share the link and join the conversation using #alcpoll2017.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #FASD : #Prevention and #HealthPromotion Resources Package

 ” The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Package – ‘the Package’

 Is designed to equip Australian health professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to develop, implement and evaluate community-driven solutions to reduce alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking and substance misuse during pregnancy, and to cut down on the number of unplanned pregnancies in their communities.

During 2015–17, the Package was delivered to staff from participating New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS), a national program to increase access to child and maternal health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.”

Download the 4 Page brochure

FASD_Resources_Package_Summary

And read the 20+ FASD NACCHO articles published

Why are these resources needed?

Although high rates of alcohol consumption have been reported across all Australian populations, research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more likely to consume alcohol at harmful levels during pregnancy, thereby greatly increasing the risk of stillbirths, infant mortality and infants born with an intellectual disability.

Addressing the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and in particular FASD, requires both an understanding of how the cultural context, historical legacy and social determinants affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the importance of working in partnership with communities and relevant organisations.

When surveyed, most health professionals reported they did not ask their clients about alcohol use in pregnancy, or provide women with information about the effects of alcohol on the fetus.2 Challenges included limited knowledge and resources among health professionals to tackle the issue, along with a lack of confidence in advising clients. As such, we determined that resourcing and educating health professionals were critical factors to implementing a whole-of-community approach to preventing FASD in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Piloting the Package

We piloted two days of training with 80 health professionals from 40 participating NDMBS sites, with the aim of increasing:

  1. awareness and understanding of alcohol, tobacco and other substances use during pregnancy and of FASD
  2. awareness of existing FASD health promotion resources and of how best to use these resources within primary health care services in line with their community needs
  3. knowledge and skills to develop, implement and evaluate community-driven solutions to reduce alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking and substance misuse during pregnancy, and reduce unplanned pregnancies

What’s in the Package?

Health promotion resources targeted at five key groups:

  1. Pregnant women
  2. Women of child-bearing age
  3. Grandmothers and aunties
  4. Men
  5. Health professionals

Five discrete training modules to assist health professionals share FASD prevention information and use the resources effectively within their community:

  • Introduction: FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Package
  • Module 1: What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
  • Module 2: Brief Intervention and Motivational Interviewing
  • Module 3: Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Module 4: Sharing Health Information

Training support materials to assist health professionals in delivering their own FASD training:

  • Facilitator manual
  • Participant workbook

Download the 4 Page brochure

FASD_Resources_Package_Summary

For more information

Dr Christine Hannah  07 3169 4201

christine.hannah@menzies.edu.au

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : @aihw Report #Alcohol and other #drug #treatment

 ” For the 25,200 clients receiving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health-care services, alcohol and cannabis were among the top 5 most common substance-use issues “

Read or download previous 170 + NACCHO Alcohol and other Drug article HERE

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: alcohol and other drug treatment

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health-care services provide a variety of health care services, including extended care roles (for example, diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease, 24-hour emergency care, dental/hearing/optometry services), preventive health care (for example, health screening for children and adults), health-related community support (for example, school-based activities, transport to medical appointments) and support in relation to substance-use issues.

Information on the majority of Australian Government-funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander substance use services are available from the Online Services Report (OSR) data collection.

While the number of treatment episodes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is reported through the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS), it does not represent all alcohol and other drug treatments provided to Indigenous people in Australia.

The OSR and AODTS NMDS have different collection purposes, scope and counting rules (see Box 1 for details).

Key data from the 2014–15 OSR relevant to substance-use issues are provided below.

Substance use issues

The 5 most common substance-use issues reported by organisations providing substance-use services in 2014–15, in terms of staff time and organisational resources, were alcohol, cannabis or marijuana, amphetamines, multiple drug use and tobacco or nicotine (Table 1). In 2014–15, almost all (96%) of 67 organisations reported alcohol as one of their 5 most common substance-use issues and 88% reported cannabis or marijuana. Organisations reporting amphetamines as a common substance-use issue increased from 45% in 2013–14 to 70% of organisations in 2014–15. This pattern was consistent across remoteness areas.

Table 1: Number of organisations reporting common substance-use issues, by remoteness area, 2014–15
Substance use issue Major
cities
Inner regional Outer regional Remote Very
remote
Total
Alcohol 15 8 12 13 16 64
Cannabis/marijuana 13 6 12 13 15 59
Amphetamines 12 8 14 5 8 47
Multiple drug use 11 7 13 4 8 43
Tobacco/nicotine 7 3 8 10 10 38

Note: Organisations were asked to report on their 5 most important substance-use issues in terms of staff time and organisational resources.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2016. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report—key results 2014–15. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services report No. 7. IHW 168. Canberra: AIHW.

Continued here

Alcohol and other drug treatment National Minimum Data set (AODTS NMDS 2015–16)

Key findings

Alcohol and other drug treatment services assist people to address their problematic drug use through a range of treatments. Treatment objectives can include reduction or cessation of drug use as well as improvements to social and personal functioning. Assistance may also be provided to support the family and friends of people using drugs.

Following are highlights from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS).

AODTS NMDS data cubes

Data cubes for 2015–16 are now available.

The data cubes are a set of interactive tables. They provide a comprehensive set of data from which the majority of the variables in the AODTS NMDS can be interrogated, allowing users to create their own custom data tables, or to re-create data presented in this report.

In the following web pages, where data—either in text or in a Figure—relate to a data cube, a link has been provided to the relevant data cube for your reference.

Note, there is a small set of supplementary tables containing information on treatment setting and length by principal drug of concern. This information is not provided in the data cubes to ensure client confidentiality.

Key findings in 2015–16


 

Agencies

  • A total of 796 publicly-funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies provided services to clients seeking treatment and support for alcohol and other drug problems, an increase of 17% over the 5-year period to 2015–16.

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Clients

  • An estimated 133,895 clients received just over 206,000 treatment episodes from alcohol and other drug treatment agencies.
  • 2 in 3 clients were male (67%), just over half were aged 20–39 (55%), and around 1 in 7 clients were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (14%).
  • The AOD client group is an ageing cohort, with a median age of 33 years in 2015–16, up from 31 in 2006–07. Since 2006–07 there has been a decline in the proportion of 20–29 year olds being treated (from 33% to 28% of treatment episodes), while the proportion of those aged 40 and over rose from 26% to 32%.
  • The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines (23%) has continued to increase over the last 10 years, from 12% of treatment episodes in 2006–07, and from 20% in 2014–15.

Trendline shows 40% growth in closed treatment episodes from 147,325 in 2006-07 to 206,635 in 2015-16.

Treatment

  • There was an increase in the number of closed treatment episodes between 2006–07 and 2015–16, from 147,325 to 206,635—a 40% increase over the 10-year period. While for Indigenous clients the number of episodes has almost doubled, with a 90% increase over the same period (from 14,823 to 28,410).
  • In 2015–16, the top principal drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (32% of treatment episodes), amphetamines (23%), cannabis (23%) and heroin (6%).
  • Across most states and territories, alcohol was also the top principal drug of concern that led clients to seek treatment, except for SA and WA where amphetamines were the highest reported (36% and 35% of episodes) and Qld where it was cannabis (39%).
  • Treatment for the use of amphetamines increased over the 5 years to 2015–16 (from 11% of closed treatment episodes to 23%).
  • Over the 10 years since 2006–07, treatment types received by clients have not changed substantially, with counselling, assessment only, support and case management only, and withdrawal management being the most common types of treatment—this was the same for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients.

Table of contents

Data sources

The AODTS NMDS

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS) is the primary source used in this analysis. It provides information on the treatment provided by publicly-funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in Australia. These services are available to people seeking treatment for their own drug use and people seeking treatment for someone else’s drug use. Data are available from 2003–04 onwards.

In the AODTS NMDS, the main counting unit is a closed treatment episode, which is defined as a period of contact between a client and a treatment provider (or team of providers) that is closed when treatment is completed or has ceased, or there has been no further contact between the client and the treatment provider for 3 months. Since 2012–13, a statistical linkage key (SLK) has been collected which means the number of clients receiving treatment can now be estimated .

Other data sources

A number of other data sources include information not available in the AODTS NMDS. Using these additional data sets supports more comprehensive reporting of alcohol and other drug treatment in Australia. These include the National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data Collection (NOPSAD), the National Hospital Morbidity Database, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report Database, the Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Collection and the National Prisoner Health Data Collection (NPHDC).

In 2014–15:

In 2015, of the 1,011 prison entrants in the National Prisoner Health Collection (NPHDC), two-thirds (67%) reported using illicit drugs in the previous 12 months—1 in 2 (50%) reported using methamphetamines, and 2 in 5 (41%) cannabis.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : NT Government invests in safer and healthier families / communities: cuts grog to problem drinkers

Budget 2017 is delivering on the Territory Labor Government’s election commitments, investing $33 million in our communities and tackling the causes of domestic, family and sexual violence to ensure that Territorians feel safe

“The Northern Territory has the highest rates of domestic and family violence in Australia, and that comes at an enormous social and economic cost.

Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield (see article 1 below )

 ” The BDR supported police in stopping alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour and its return will make a difference. Police previously described it as one of the best tools for combating antisocial behaviour.

“We know that 60% of domestic violence incidents are alcohol related – this is simply unacceptable and cutting grog to problem drinkers will help address this blight.”

Chief Minister Michael Gunner today said returning the Banned Drinker Register (BDR) on September 1 is the number one thing the Territory Labor Government can do to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime – including the devastating rates of domestic violence.         (see article 2 below )

 ” The Territory Labor Government says the new Banned Drinkers Register will help ease pressures on frontline health workers by reducing the supply of alcohol to those who cause so much harm.

We’ve listened to concerns from medical professionals and community that critical resources are being diverted to deal with alcohol related harm and violence.

While every Territorian is entitled to have a drink and enjoy that responsibly, we know too many people are drinking at dangerous levels, harming themselves, their families and their communities.”

The Minister for Health Natasha Fyles ( See Article 3 below )

Article 1

More than $33 million will be invested in frontline services, infrastructure and strategies to support the prevention of domestic and family violence that will help keep Territorians safe.

Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield said Budget 2017 acknowledges the cost and serious impact that domestic and family violence has on our society, and today’s announcement will improve services and facilities for Territorians.

“Budget 2017 is delivering on the Territory Labor Government’s election commitments, investing in our communities and tackling the causes of domestic, family and sexual violence to ensure that Territorians feel safe,” Ms Wakefield said.

“The Northern Territory has the highest rates of domestic and family violence in Australia, and that comes at an enormous social and economic cost.

“This budget will address both infrastructure and policy issues to ensure we have the necessary foundations to firstly reduce the rates of domestic and family violence, but also to provide victims essential support.”

This includes:

  • $6.2 million to continue current domestic violence services in the Territory, left unfunded by the CLP government
  • $3 million to refurbish Alice Springs Domestic Violence Court to improve the safety, experience and outcomes for people affected by domestic and family violence
  • $6 million for the replacement of the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter, so that women can establish independence and recover from trauma
  • $1 million to establish a remote women’s safe house in Galiwinku.

The Territory Labor Government is restoring trust in Government, creating jobs, investing in children and building safer, fairer and stronger communities – right across the Territory.

The Minister also reaffirmed additional investments being made right now into domestic and family violence programs that allow for community led solutions, including:

  • $700,000 over two years to expand the “NO MORE” violence prevention campaign
  • $350,000 to Charles Darwin University and Menzies School of Research to review key domestic and family violence reduction programs in the NT, particularly their impact and effectiveness in remote communities
  • $150,000 to NTCOSS to build the capacity of the domestic and family violence sector
  • $80,000 to improving services provided by the Gove Crisis Accommodation service
  • $30,000 to NPY Women’s Council towards a sexual violence research project.

Minister Wakefield said Budget 2017 is investing in the Territory’s future through jobs, children and community.

“We are going through a challenging economic period – everyone knows this and we have been very upfront about it,” Ms Wakefield said.

“This budget will create and support jobs, deliver on our election commitments and be a fair plan for our future

Article 2 : A BETTER BDR TACKLING SECONDARY SUPPLY AND CUTTING RED TAPE

Chief Minister Michael Gunner today said returning the Banned Drinker Register (BDR) on September 1 is the number one thing the Territory Labor Government can do to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime – including the devastating rates of domestic violence.

Mr Gunner today announced that the new BDR would address weaknesses in the old version by better addressing the problem of secondary supply and cutting red tape.

“We have listened to Police, the community and local businesses and taken action – we will introduce tougher punishment for secondary suppliers to banned drinkers,” Mr Gunner said.

“It will now be a criminal offence to intentionally supply alcohol to a person known to be on the BDR. Once charged with this offence police have the power to place the secondary supplier on the BDR. The offence can also carry significant fines.

“Another improvement cutting red tape is that once given a Banned Drinker Order, a person will go straight onto the BDR and will not require a tribunal hearing or appearance.

“Importantly, Banned Drinker Orders issued by Police will be automatically processed through the Integrated Justice Information System to immediately place problem drinkers on the BDR. This will happen within 48 hours which will help both Police and victims in urgent domestic and family violence situations.”

Mr Gunner said the Territory Labor Government introduced the BDR in July 2011 and the chaotic CLP Government scrapped it in 2012 for political reasons.

“Territorians hated that the chaotic CLP Government scrapped the BDR and they want it returned because it worked – we have listened and taken action,” he said.

“The BDR supported police in stopping alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour and its return will make a difference. Police previously described it as one of the best tools for combating antisocial behaviour.

“We know that 60% of domestic violence incidents are alcohol related – this is simply unacceptable and cutting grog to problem drinkers will help address this blight.”

Mr Gunner said alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour in our city centres is an issue facing many businesses and is hindering efforts to revitalise these areas.

“We want to make our city centres a vibrant place and the BDR will combat antisocial behaviour, in turn encouraging tourists and locals back into these areas,” he said.

“Undoing the CLP’s failed replacement scheme and bringing back the BDR is a significant piece of work and new legislation will be introduced into Parliament in May we are working as fast as we can because we know this will make a difference.”

Mr Gunner said Government is taking action on the causes of crime because every Territorian has the right for them and their homes and business to be safe.

He said measures including the recent $18.2 million overhaul of the broken youth justice system (which includes 52 Youth Diversion Workers, more funding for boot camps, supporting the enforcement of bail conditions and victims conferencing), greater powers for police (including electronic monitoring bracelets), more police officers and better training for staff in youth justice facilities showed his Government was taking crime very seriously.

Article 3 FRONTLINE HEALTH WORKERS TO BENEFIT FROM BDR (NT)

The Territory Labor Government says the new Banned Drinkers Register will help ease pressures on frontline health workers by reducing the supply of alcohol to those who cause so much harm.

The Minister for Health Natasha Fyles said Territorians have the right to access the high quality services our hospitals offer.

“We’ve listened to concerns from medical professionals and community that critical resources are being diverted to deal with alcohol related harm and violence,” Ms Fyles said.

“We’re empowering Territorians by creating more pathways to the BDR.

“The new BDR unveiled this week will have new provisions allowing medical officers, families and carers to refer problem drinkers to the BDR and to the rehabilitation they need.

“While every Territorian is entitled to have a drink and enjoy that responsibly, we know too many people are drinking at dangerous levels, harming themselves, their families and their communities.

“Our paramedics and hospital staff are dealing with the highest rates of alcohol related harm and injury at rates not seen in any other jurisdiction across the country

“The Territory continues to have the highest rates of alcohol related injury and disease in the nation – the number of deaths related to alcohol in the NT is three times the national average.

“Alcohol related harm costs the Territory more than $642 million a year and that is continuing to grow.

“The BDR was scrapped by the chaotic former CLP government in 2012 – delivering a sharp spike in alcohol related harm over the two most violent years on record.

“Department records show alcohol related Emergency Department presentations peaked at over 3000 across the Territory in 2013.

“We made an election promise to Territorians that we would bring back the BDR and we are delivering on that promise

“Seventy per cent of alcohol sold in the Territory is takeaway, so we know cutting supply to problem drinkers is a key way to curb alcohol fuelled violence and crime.

From September 1 the BDR will be reinstated, with Territorians and tourists having to show ID to purchase takeaway alcohol.

Those identified as being on the BDR won’t be able to buy takeaway alcohol.

More than a thousand people will be automatically included on the BDR from day one.

That figure is expected to grow to around 2500 by Christmas.

The legislation will be introduced to parliament next month.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Smoking : @KenWyattMP announces $35.2 million funding #ACCHO Anti-smoking programs

These health services are all delivering frontline services to prevent young Indigenous people taking up smoking and to encourage existing smokers to quit.

Reducing smoking rates is central to the Government’s efforts to close the gap in life expectancy, but requires a consistent, long-term commitment”

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt

Over 100 NACCHO Articles about smoking

REDUCING INDIGENOUS SMOKING TO CLOSE THE GAP

The Australian Government will provide $35.2 million next financial year to continue anti-smoking programs targeted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in regional and remote areas.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, said the Government had approved the continuation of funding to 36 Aboriginal Community ControlledHealth Services and one private health service.

“These health services are all delivering frontline services to prevent young Indigenous people taking up smoking and to encourage existing smokers to quit,”  .

“Reducing smoking rates is central to the Government’s efforts to close the gap in life expectancy, but requires a consistent, long-term commitment.

“Smoking causes the greatest burden of disease, disability, injury and earlydeath among Indigenous people and accounts for 23 per cent of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Healthcare Agreement, all governments have committed to halving the 2008 adult daily smoking rate among Indigenous Australians, of 44.8 per cent, by 2018.

“The rate of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is still far higher than among other Australians and is damaging their health in many ways,” Minister Wyatt said.

It’s unlikely now that we will meet the COAG target, but we are making progress.

“It’s important that anti-smoking programs are meaningful for Indigenous people and changes made in recent years have ensured that only programs which are evidence based and effective are receiving grants.”

Continued funding for the 37 health services follows a preliminary evaluation of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program which found that it was operating effectively and using proven approaches to changing smoking behaviour.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Download the Evaluation 265 Page Report Cashless Debit Card trial sites

The Government has agreed to extend the Cashless Debit Card trial sites in Ceduna, South Australia and East Kimberley, Western Australia due to the strong independent evaluation results, released today and in consultation with community leaders.

Download : Initial Conditions Report; Wave 1 Interim Evaluation Report ORIMA Research

Cashless Debit Card Report

The Wave 1 Report of the independent evaluation being undertaken by ORIMA Research concluded that “overall, the [trial] has been effective to date… in particular, the trial has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling – establishing a clear ‘proof-of-concept’.”

The Cashless Debit Card aims to reduce the devastating effects of welfare fuelled alcohol, drug and gambling abuse. Over time it is hoped the card will assist people to break the cycle of welfare dependency by stabilising their lives and helping them into employment.

The Report found “most stakeholders felt that excessive alcohol consumption was at a “crisis point” and was having wide-ranging negative impacts on individuals, their families and the community.”

Under the current trial, 80 per cent of welfare payments are placed onto a recipient’s card, with the remaining 20 per cent placed into their regular bank account.

The trial has consisted of 3 parts – a Cashless Debit Card, comprehensive support services to help people break their addictions, and a community leadership group to guide the design and implementation.

The Report outlines key results across the two trial sites including:

  • Alcohol – on average, of trial participants surveyed who reported that they do drink alcohol, 25% of participants and 13% of family members reported drinking alcohol less frequently, whilst 25% of participants reported engaging in binge drinking less frequently.
  • Gambling – on average, of trial participants surveyed who reported they do gamble, 32% of participants and 15% of family members reported gambling less.
  • Drug use – on average, of trial participants surveyed who reported using illegal drugsbefore the trial commenced, 24% reported using illegal drugs less often.

In addition, the evaluation data states a significant proportion (31%) of the participants surveyed indicated they had been better able to care for children and save more money.

Reductions in alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling have been “largely driven by the impact of the debit card quarantining mechanism and not by the additional services provided,” according to the Report.

The Report supports other data from local partners and anecdotal feedback:

The number of pick-ups made by the Kununurra Miriwoong Community Patrol Service for Alcohol in January 2017 was 19 per cent lower than in January 2016.

Monthly poker machine revenue in Ceduna and surrounding local government areas in January 2017 is 12 per cent lower compared to January 2016.

Admissions to the Wyndham Sobering-Up Unit in September 2016 were 49 per cent lower than before the trial began in September 2015.

The senior medical officer in the East Kimberley has reported a “dramatic reduction in alcohol related presentations to the emergency department”

The Ceduna mayor says that “it is the quietest the town has been.”

Retailers in both sites report an increase in white goods, clothes, food and household items purchased since the introduction of the card.

Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, worked with the community leaders on the design and implementation of the trial and believes the results support an extension of the card.

“The card is a not a panacea, but it has led to stark improvements in these communities.

There are very few other initiatives that have had such impact.

“A large part of the success has been the close working relationship with local leaders, whohave co-designed and implemented the trial with us. The South Australian and Western Australian State Governments have also been very supportive.

“There is still a lot of work to do, but if we can continue on this path, then over time we can make these communities safe, healthy and prosperous once again,” Minister Tudge said.

The extension of the card will allow the Government to make fully informed decisions about the future of welfare conditionality. The final evaluation report by ORIMA Research is due mid-2017.

Cashless Debit Card Trial – Overview

The Commonwealth Government is looking at the best possible ways to provide support to people, families and communities in locations where high levels of welfare dependence exist alongside high levels of harm related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The Cashless Debit Card Trial is aimed at finding an effective tool for supporting disadvantaged communities to reduce the consumption and effects of drugs, alcohol and gambling that impact on the health and wellbeing of communities, families and children.

How the cashless debit card works

The cashless debit card looks and operates like a normal bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, or to withdraw cash.

The card can be used anywhere that accepts debit cards. It will work online, for shopping and paying bills. The Indue website lists the approved merchants (link is external) and excluded merchants (link is external) for the trial.

Who will take part in the trial?

Under the trial, all recipients of working age income support payments who live in a trial location will receive a cashless debit card.

The full list of included payments is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

People on the Age Pension, a veteran’s payment or who earn a wage can volunteer to take part in the trial. Information on volunteering for the trial is available. Application forms for people who wish to volunteer can be downloaded from the Indue website (link is external).

How will it affect Centrelink payments?

The trial doesn’t change the amount of money a person receives from Centrelink. It only changes the way in which people receive and spend their fortnightly payments:

  • 80 per cent is paid onto the cashless debit card
  • 20 per cent is paid into a person’s regular bank account.

Cashless debit card calculator

To work out how much will be paid onto your cashless debit card, enter your fortnightly payment amount into the following calculator.

Enter amount of fortnightly Centrelink payment Calculate

Money on the card 

Use it for:

  • Groceries
  • Pay bills
  • Buy clothes
  • Travel
  • Online

Anywhere with eftpos except:

  • No grog
  • No gambling
  • No cash

   Note: 100% of lump sum payments will be placed on the card. More information is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

More information

For more information, email debitcardtrial@dss.gov.au (link sends e-mail) or call 1800 252 604

This weeks NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts will  include

Wednesday Job alerts Thursday NACCHO Members Good News

How to submit ? Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media   4.30 pm  day before publication

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : Cashless welfare card in Indigenous communities ‘cuts use of alcohol and drugs says new report

“But what we had before the card, which is just open sort of slather of people buying heaps of alcohol with the money that they get, the amount of damage it was doing, I think that this is definitely an improvement on what we had previously,”

I  would support the card being rolled out across the country.

Yes I do, I think this is a more responsible way of actually delivering support and social services to our people regardless of what colour they are,”

Ian Trust, the executive director of the Wunan Foundation, an Aboriginal development organisation in the East Kimberley in Western Australia, said his support for the card had come at a personal cost. SEE ABC Report Photo: A Kununurra resident in WA’s Kimberley holding a cashless welfare card. (ABC News: Erin Parke)

“Inevitably, people would prefer to have fewer restrictions than more restrictions, particularly if you are an alcoholic, but the evaluation and the data shows that it is having a positive net impact on reducing alcoholism, gambling and illicit substance abuse.

The rights of the community, of the children and of elderly citizens to live in a safe community are equally important as the rights of welfare recipients.”

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said while the card was not a “panacea”, it had led to stark improvements in the trial communities, warranting an extension of the card, despite it not being popular with all welfare recipients. Reported by Sarah Martin in Todays Australian

A cashless welfare card that stops government benefits being spent on drugs and alcohol will be made permanent in two remote communities and looks set to be ­expanded, after trials found it greatly reduced rates of substance abuse and gambling.

The 175-page government commissioned review by Orima Research of the year-long trial.

The evaluation involved interviewing stakeholders, participants and their families.

It found on average a quarter of people using the card who drank said they were not drinking as often.

While just under a third of gamblers said they had curbed that habit.

The Turnbull government will today release the first major independent audit of the cashless welfare system and announce that the card will continue in Ceduna and East Kimberley, subject to six-monthly reviews.

Establishing a clear “proof of concept” in the two predomin­antly indigenous communities also paves the way for the ­Coalition to roll out the welfare spending restrictions further, with townships in regional Western Australia and South Australia believed to be under consideration.

In October, Malcolm Turnbull flagged that an expansion of the welfare card was dependent on the results of the 12-month trial, but praised the scheme’s ­initial success in reducing the amount of taxpayer money being spent on alcohol and illicit drugs.

Under the welfare shake-up, first flagged in Andrew Forrest’s review of the welfare system in 2014, 80 per cent of a person’s benefit is restricted to a Visa debit card that cannot be used for spending on alcohol or gambling products or converted to cash. After year-long trials at the two sites capturing $10 million in welfare payments, the first quantitative assessment of the scheme has found that 24 per cent of card users reported less alcohol consumption and drug use in their communities, with 27 per cent of people noting a drop in gambling.

See full details support and Q and A below from DSS

Binge drinking and the frequency of alcohol consumption by card users was also down by about 25 per cent among those who said they were drinkers ­before the trials began.

Those not on welfare saw even greater benefits, with an average of 41 per cent of non-participant community members across the two trial sites reporting a ­reduction in the drinking of alcohol in their area since the trial started. The report concluded that, overall, the card “has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling — establishing a clear ‘proof-of-concept’ and meeting the necessary preconditions for the planned medium-term outcomes in relation to reduced levels of harm related to these behaviours”.

However the audit, undertaken by ORIMA Research, found that despite the community improvements, many people remained unhappy with the welfare restrictions, with about half saying it had made their lives worse, and 46 per cent reporting they had problems with the card.

This view was reversed in the wider community, with 46 per cent of non-participants saying the trial had made life in their community better, and only 18 per cent reporting that it had made life worse.

Many of the reported problems with the card were attributed to user error or “imperfect knowledge and systems” among some merchants. Of the 32,237 declined transactions between April and September last year, 86.2 per cent were because of user error, with more than half found to be because account holders had insufficient funds.

While there was a large amount of anecdotal evidence in favour of the card, there were also reports of a rise in humbugging — where family members are harassed for money — and some reports of an increase in crime linked to the need for cash, including prostitution.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said while the card was not a “panacea”, it had led to stark improvements in the trial communities, warranting an extension of the card, despite it not being popular with all welfare recipients. However, he stressed that no decision had been made to expand the card to new sites, which would require legislation.

“Inevitably, people would prefer to have fewer restrictions than more restrictions, particularly if you are an alcoholic, but the evaluation and the data shows that it is having a positive net impact on reducing alcoholism, gambling and illicit substance abuse,” Mr Tudge said. “The rights of the community, of the children and of elderly citizens to live in a safe community are equally important as the rights of welfare recipients.”

The government has introduced the card only to regions where it has the support of community leaders, allowing the Coalition to secure the backing of Labor for the two trial sites despite opposition from the Greens and the Australian Council of Social Service.

Liberal MP Melissa Price, who represents the vast West Australian regional electorate of Durack, said yesterday she was hopeful the card could be rolled out across the Kimberley, the Pilbara and the Goldfields, estimating that about half of the 52 councils in her electorate had expressed an interest in signing up.

“I know it is not popular with everybody, but we are in government and we need to make these decisions to improve people’s lives; if we don’t make changes, nothing changes,” Ms Price said.

Cashless Debit Card Trial – Overview

The Commonwealth Government is looking at the best possible ways to provide support to people, families and communities in locations where high levels of welfare dependence exist alongside high levels of harm related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The Cashless Debit Card Trial is aimed at finding an effective tool for supporting disadvantaged communities to reduce the consumption and effects of drugs, alcohol and gambling that impact on the health and wellbeing of communities, families and children.

How the cashless debit card works

The cashless debit card looks and operates like a normal bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, or to withdraw cash.

The card can be used anywhere that accepts debit cards. It will work online, for shopping and paying bills. The Indue website lists the approved merchants (link is external) and excluded merchants (link is external) for the trial.

Who will take part in the trial?

Under the trial, all recipients of working age income support payments who live in a trial location will receive a cashless debit card.

The full list of included payments is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

People on the Age Pension, a veteran’s payment or who earn a wage can volunteer to take part in the trial. Information on volunteering for the trial is available. Application forms for people who wish to volunteer can be downloaded from the Indue website (link is external).

How will it affect Centrelink payments?

The trial doesn’t change the amount of money a person receives from Centrelink. It only changes the way in which people receive and spend their fortnightly payments:

  • 80 per cent is paid onto the cashless debit card
  • 20 per cent is paid into a person’s regular bank account.

Cashless debit card calculator

To work out how much will be paid onto your cashless debit card, enter your fortnightly payment amount into the following calculator.

Enter amount of fortnightly Centrelink payment Calculate

Money on the card 

Use it for:

  • Groceries
  • Pay bills
  • Buy clothes
  • Travel
  • Online

Anywhere with eftpos except:

  • No grog
  • No gambling
  • No cash

   Note: 100% of lump sum payments will be placed on the card. More information is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

More information

For more information, email debitcardtrial@dss.gov.au (link sends e-mail) or call 1800 252 604

This weeks NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts will  include

Wednesday Job alerts Thursday NACCHO Members Good News

How to submit ? Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media   4.30 pm  day before publication

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : Draft terms of reference for a another comprehensive review of alcohol policy in the #NT

 ” The Northern Territory has the second highest alcohol consumption in the world. Misuse of alcohol has devastating health and social consequences for NT Aboriginal communities.

APO NT believes that addressing alcohol and drug misuse, along with the many health and social consequences of this misuse, can only be achieved through a multi-tiered approach.

APO NT supports evidence based alcohol policy reform, including:

  • Supply reduction measures
  • Harm reduction measures, and
  • Demand reduction measures.

To address alcohol and drug misuse within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the social and structural determinants of mental health must be addressed,

Parliamentary Inquiry into the Harmful use of Alcohol in Aboriginal Communities

On 17 April 2014, APO NT submitted their written evidence to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs on the Inquiry into the harmful use of alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities.

The APO NT submission made 16 recommendations to the committee: SEE INFO Here

Read  NACCHO Alcohol and other drugs 164 Articles over 5 years HERE

RESPONSIBLE ALCOHOL POLICY =

A SAFER COMMUNITY :  NT Government Press Release 10 March 2017

The Health Minister Natasha Fyles today released draft terms of reference for a comprehensive review of alcohol policy in the Northern Territory.

Minister Fyles said the Government was determined to tackle the cost of alcohol abuse on our community and the review will give all Territorians an opportunity to have their voices heard.

“We recognise that, while everyone has the right to enjoy a drink responsibly, alcohol abuse is a significant cause of violence and crime in our community,” Ms Fyles said.

“All Territorians have the right to feel safe, to have their property, homes and businesses secure from damage and theft.

“They also have the right to access health, police and justice services, without having critical resources diverted by the crippling effects of alcohol abuse.

“That’s why Territory Labor has consistently advocated, and implemented, a range of policies to reduce the harm caused by alcohol abuse.

“When last in Government we implemented the Banned Drinker Register (BDR), described by Police as the best tool they had to fight violent crime.

“In Opposition we were clear we would reinstate the BDR and impose a moratorium on new takeaway licences.

“Since coming to Government we have:

  • worked efficiently across agencies to bring back the BDR by September 1
  • imposed a moratorium on new takeaway liquor licences (except in exceptional circumstances) – October 2016
  • strengthened legislation to ensure Sunday trade remains limited – November 2016
  • limited the floor space for take away alcohol stores – December 2016
  • introduced new Guidelines for liquor licensing to allow for public hearings – 2 February 2017

“While some of these policies aren’t popular, their effectiveness is backed by evidence.

“This review is an important chance for the community to have their say and to ensure that all facets of alcohol policy complement our determination to make the Territory safer.

“An expert panel will be commissioned to look at alcohol policies and alcohol legislation, reporting to government on:

  • evidence based policy initiatives required to reduce alcohol fuelled crime
  • ensuring safe and vibrant entertainment precincts
  • the provision of alcohol service and management in remote communities
  • decision-making under the Liquor Act
  • the density of liquor licences (concentration, type, number and location of liquor licences ) and the size of liquor outlets

“Broad public consultation will be undertaken as part of the review, with multiple avenues for interested people, groups and communities to put forward their views.

“I look forward to hearing from not only the loudest and most powerful voices in our community, but also the many women, children, families and communities who all too often bear the cost of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory.”

The review will start in April with a report and recommendations delivered to government in late September 2017.

The government will then develop a response to the recommendations for the development of the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy and legislative reform agenda.

These will be released publicly along with the Expert Advisory Panel’s final report.

To view the draft terms of references go to: https://health.nt.gov.au/professionals/alcohol-and-other-drugs-health-professionals/alcohol-policies-and-legislation-review

Submissions are now being accepted at:  AODD.DOH@nt.gov.au

NACCHO #IWD2017 Aboriginal Women’s #justjustice :Indigenous, disabled, imprisoned – the forgotten women of #IWD2017

 

” Merri’s story is not uncommon. Studies show that women with physical, sensory, intellectual, or psychosocial disabilities (mental health conditions) experience higher rates of domestic and sexual violence and abuse than other women.

More than 70 per cent of women with disabilities in Australia have experienced sexual violence, and they are 40 per cent more likely to face domestic violence than other women.

Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of domestic violence than non-Indigenous women. Indigenous women who have a disability face intersecting forms of discrimination because of their gender, disability, and ethnicity that leave them at even greater risk of experiencing violence — and of being involved in violence and imprisoned

Kriti Sharma is a disability rights researcher for Human Rights Watch

This is our last NACCHO post supporting  International Women’s Day

Further NACCHO reading

Women’s Health ( 275 articles )  or Just Justice  See campaign details below

” In-prison programs fail to address the disadvantage that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners face, such as addiction, intergenerational and historical traumas, grief and loss. Programs have long waiting lists, and exclude those who spend many months on remand or serve short sentences – as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often do.

Instead, evidence shows that prison worsens mental health and wellbeing, damages relationships and families, and generates stigma which reduces employment and housing opportunities .

To prevent post-release deaths, diversion from prison to alcohol and drug rehabilitation is recommended, which has proven more cost-effective and beneficial than prison , International evidence also recommends preparing families for the post-prison release phase. ‘

Dying to be free: Where is the focus on the deaths occurring post-prison release? Article 1 Below

Article from Page 17 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, this week  I think of ‘Merri’, one of the most formidable and resilient women I have ever met.

A 50-year-old Aboriginal woman with a mental health condition, Merri grew up in a remote community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. When I met her, Merri was in pre-trial detention in an Australian prison.

It was the first time she had been to prison and it was clear she was still reeling from trauma. But she was also defiant.

“Six months ago, I got sick of being bashed so I killed him,” she said. “I spent five years with him [my partner], being bashed. He gave me a freaking [sexually transmitted] disease. Now I have to suffer [in prison].”

I recently traveled through Western Australia, visiting prisons, and I heard story after story of Indigenous women with disabilities whose lives had been cycles of abuse and imprisonment, without effective help.

For many women who need help, support services are simply not available. They may be too far away, hard to find, or not culturally sensitive or accessible to women.

The result is that Australia’s prisons are disproportionately full of Indigenous women with disabilities, who are also more likely to be incarcerated for minor offenses.

For numerous women like Merri in many parts of the country, prisons have become a default accommodation and support option due to a dearth of appropriate community-based services. As with countless women with disabilities, Merri’s disability was not identified until she reached prison. She had not received any support services in the community.

Merri has single-handedly raised her children as well as her grandchildren, but without any support or access to mental health services, life in the community has been a struggle for her.

Strangely — and tragically — prison represented a respite for Merri. With eyes glistening with tears, she told me: “[Prison] is very stressful. But I’m finding it a break from a lot of stress outside.”

Today, on International Women’s Day, the Australian government should commit to making it a priority to meet the needs of women with disabilities who are at risk of violence and abuse.

In 2015, a Senate inquiry into the abuse people with disabilities face in institutional and residential settings revealed the extensive and diverse forms of abuse they face both in institutions and the community. The inquiry recommended that the government set up a Royal Commission to conduct a more comprehensive investigation into the neglect, violence, and abuse faced by people with disabilities across Australia.

The government has been unwilling to do so, citing the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguard Framework as adequate.

While the framework is an important step forward, it would only reach people who are enrolled under the NDIS. Its complaints mechanism would not provide a comprehensive look at the diversity and scale of the violence people with disabilities experience, let alone at the ways in which various intersecting forms of discrimination affect people with disabilities.

The creation of a Royal Commission, on the other hand, could give voice to survivors of violence inside and outside the NDIS. It could direct a commission’s resources at a thorough investigation into the violence people with disabilities face in institutional and residential settings, as well as in the community.

The government urgently needs to hear directly from women like Merri about the challenges they face, and how the government can do better at helping them. Whether or not there is a Royal Commission, the government should consult women with disabilities, including Indigenous women, and their representative organizations to learn how to strengthen support services.

Government services that are gender and culturally appropriate, and accessible to women across the country, can curtail abuse and allow women with disabilities to live safe, independent lives in the community.

Kriti Sharma is a disability rights researcher for Human Rights Watch

 

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How you can support #JustJustice

• Download, read and share the 2nd edition – HERE.

Buy a hard copy from Gleebooks in Sydney (ask them to order more copies if they run out of stock).

• Send copies of the book to politicians, policy makers and other opinion leaders.

• Encourage journals and other relevant publications to review #JustJustice.

• Encourage your local library to order a copy, whether the free e-version or a hard copy from Gleebooks.

• Follow Guardian Australia’s project, Breaking the Cycle.

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