AbstractFamily violence is identified as a major public health issue, with Aboriginal women at greater risk than non-Aboriginal women. Over 70,000 Australian women sought homelessness services in 2016-2017 due to family violence. This qualitative research explored family violence from the perspective of Aboriginal women in medium term crisis accommodation in the Northern Territory who are likely to have needed to use one or more support services following a family violence incident. From a public health perspective, the aim was to inform service providers so that improvements can be made. Stories from women were used to build up a picture of the support services they perceive as available to them, the perceived relevance and usefulness of these services, their reported utilisation of these services, any barriers to accessing these services, and their perceived gaps in support services.
The stories were collected using face-to-face interviews with six Aboriginal women with the assistance of an Aboriginal Co-Investigator. Each story was analysed to produce a concept map to illustrate recurring needs amongst the participating women and form the basis for thematic analysis. The recurring needs included: a need for: ensuring personal safety; assistance with planning for immediate future; support relating to engagement with children and/or the welfare of their children; and support workers to assist meeting these needs. The women also identified and sought support to manage alcohol and other drug use.
Thematic analysis was then used to describe the nature of these needs and confirm whether needs were being met. It was found that women’s needs were met and that of prime importance was that the accommodation available gave women access to somewhere safe and free from violence. Women particularly described the value of skilled support workers who were able identify their needs, assist with navigating the services available in the sector, and coordinate the support women needed to plan for securing public or private housing.
These findings may be important for a small jurisdiction like the Northern Territory with a significant community need but high turnover of staff and limited services and resources. Having a designated coordinator as an approach to support women following a violent incident could be considered as a model for efficient use of resources and to see women better supported than other models that involve multiple support workers. The research also identified the value of working with Aboriginal women to inform service planning and design.
|Date of Award||Jun 2018|
|Supervisor||Robyn Aitken (Supervisor)|