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Indigenous domestic and family violence, mental health and suicide

Kyllie Cripps


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented as both victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence (DFV). The relationship between DFV and mental health is complex. For more than two decades, reports and inquiries, government policies and programs and services have attempted to address the complexity of the issue.

Responses to DFV have traditionally relied on the law and the criminal justice system which rarely achieves positive outcomes for Indigenous families and communities. A greater focus on integrated service framework approaches attempts to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians affected by DFV. These approaches provide support in the aftermath of violence, hold perpetrators accountable, and build community knowledge and awareness of DFV to prevent future violence.

This article discusses the complexities regarding DFV and mental health for Indigenous Australians and highlights relevant policies and programs that demonstrate best practice. It also highlights the work to be done to ensure that mental health is effectively integrated to demonstrate better and more culturally safe outcomes.