Improving Services for Aboriginal Women Experiencing Sexual Violence: Working at the Knowledge Interface

Melissa A. Lindeman, Samantha J. Togni

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Aboriginal women experiencing sexual violence may not always access support services when needed, nor receive the most appropriate support when they do. Recent research suggests place-based, Aboriginal-led initiatives to respond to family and sexual violence in Aboriginal communities offer the best chance for developing effective responses. This article describes an innovative participatory action research project aiming to improve service delivery for Aboriginal women from the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) region in remote central Australia. Over a series of workshops co-researchers worked intensively at the interface of knowledge systems creating a unique and safe space for exploring this issue. The process elicited learnings that have the potential to transform practice and was itself a trauma-informed healing opportunity for participants. The project was led by Aboriginal women who wished to share what was done so that others may benefit from working in this way. IMPLICATIONS Participatory action research can be an effective approach to improving service delivery for Aboriginal women who have experienced sexual violence. By working at the cultural and knowledge interface of Aboriginal and Western standpoints, and utilising contextually relevant means of engagement, deeper understandings of sexual violence and healing are the result for participants. Deeper intercultural understandings have the potential to lead to innovations in service delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-384
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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