Aboriginal men take on violence

By Neda Vanovac

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

In the face of shocking domestic abuse statistics in the Northern Territory, indigenous men from the Tiwi Islands to Alice Springs have signed a memorandum of understanding to say enough is enough.

In front of Parliament House in Darwin, they declared their intention to fight family violence by entreating other men to tackle the problem.

"Aboriginal men have been disenfranchised since colonisation," said Des Rogers, deputy chief executive of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

The group, drawn from five regions, has been galvanised by NT Chief Minister Adam Giles' announcement last month that he wants to be an ambassador for the effort.

"I believe some Aboriginal men need a greater supportive framework in place to help them break away from welfare, stay out of the justice system and avoid alcohol abuse," he said.

Indigenous men's campaigner Charlie King said the commitment had buoyed the group.

"You try to get men to fix men's problems and they can do it; you try to fix it from outside, it doesn't get fixed," he said. "We want to change the attitude of men to say, 'this is unacceptable behaviour, this is not what men do'."

Rogers said indigenous men were often left out of community programmes.

The group have declared their intention to bring men together to reduce family violence, and engage with educational, medical and social support providers.

"We think the Territory can lead the way here ..." King said.

He will convene a forum of men's groups representatives in Darwin next month.


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