A review of Indigenous led approaches to addressing domestic, family and sexual violence

The challenge

Addressing domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV) is an urgent national priority in Australia particularly within First Nations communities where such violence is shaped and compounded by the economic and social injustices of colonisation and racism. Over decades there have been attempts to address DFSV in First Nations communities and there have been lessons learned about the injustices, inadequacies and inappropriateness of applying mainstream (i.e. colonial) logic to addressing DFSV within First Nations contexts. In more recent times, there has been growing recognition of the key elements that must characterise policies and initiatives in this space if they are to be effective, namely:

  • culturally responsive and trauma-informed approaches
  • healing that embeds culture, country, and community
  • self-determination and cultural governance
  • inclusive engagement with First Nations men and boys
  • a commitment to genuine co-design
  • transformation across government and mainstream organisations.

Project overview

The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) is working with Deakin University to develop an advocacy package based on evidence of the effectiveness of Indigenous led approaches to addressing DFSV. This package aims to better educate stakeholders about culturally safe approaches to family violence and challenge assumptions about the factors associated with violence against women, and the solutions, being fundamentally the same in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.


  • A review and synthesis of relevant research in Australia (and internationally, where relevant) that identifies the particularities of DFSV in First Nations communities compared to mainstream experiences, framed within the context of (de)colonisation.
  • Key messaging – DFSV for First Nations people is different – to help counter views that family violence in First Nations communities stems from gender inequality and patriarchy.
  • Content for an AMSANT DFSV Policy Brief, PowerPoint, and Fact Sheet with this key messaging from a First Nations perspective.

Project team

Professor Amanda Keddie (Chief Investigator – Deakin University)

Maria Delaney (Social Change Agency)


Completed June 2024


Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT)



sexual violence, domestic violence, family violence, Indigenous approaches