Caritas urges holistic approach to address Indigenous violence

Responding to reports of the alarming level of sexual abuse and other violent crimes within Aboriginal communities, Caritas has urged the Government and Indigenous community leaders to take a "holistic approach" to addressing the issue.

"We acknowledge that the images and reports that have emerged in the media have been disturbing. Unfortunately the issue of violence in Indigenous communities is not a new one," said Jack de Groot, CEO of Caritas Australia.

"A holistic approach is needed to address the violence and the complexity of the issues surrounding it. The Government needs to work alongside the community leaders of Indigenous communities and provide adequate resources to support the process," said Mr de Groot.

He stressed that local people must be part of the decision making process and to take responsibility in order to eradicate the issue of violence in their communities. He said that attention also must be focused on the victims of violence.

"Many of the programs supported by Caritas Australia over the years have not only addressed the eradication of violence from their communities, but also assisted those victims of family violence to heal," said Mr de Groot.

The Aboriginal people have endured tremendous suffering over the past 200 years. According to Caritas, policies for the forcible removal of land and many thousands of children from their families, as well as laws forcing segregation, denying access to social welfare and fundamental human rights, have all impacted on their quality of life.

"Many Indigenous communities leaders have spoken on this issue in the past, but their concerns have gone unnoticed. These leaders have acknowledged that it is not the cultural way of the Aboriginal people to commit violent acts," said Mr de Groot.

But Caritas reminded the Australian population that the task of eradicating violence is not just a concern for Aboriginal communities.

It is a huge problem amongst all cultures and communities in the Australian society and the rest of the world with the perpetrators stemming from all classes, ethnic backgrounds and age groups, a Caritas statement said.

Holistic approach needed to address issues of Indigenous violence (Caritas Australia 18/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia

Church attacked on indigenous funding (The Age 19/5/06)

19 May 2006