16 Days: our work in supporting and protecting Aboriginal women

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16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (16 Days) is an annual international campaign starting on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) which runs until 10 December (Human Rights Day).  

16 Days provides an opportunity for us to talk about family violence in our communities and take meaningful action to prevent violence occurring. We know that Aboriginal women and children are more likely than non-Aboriginal women and children to suffer serious harm as a result of family violence. 

VACCA supports Aboriginal women and families to heal and move forward with their lives. We actively advocate on behalf of women and children to work towards a future free from violence, where they are safe and respected.  

Our advocacy work 

VACCA’s Social Policy team provides strategic advice and input on policy reform initiatives across federal and state governments, advocating for the rights of Aboriginal children and families. Their work ensures that family violence legislation, policy, and practice are grounded in self-determination and is designed to meet the needs of community in Victoria. 
In 2022, Federal Parliament initiated an important inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and children. Many of the women and children we work with have been impacted by violence, and our understanding of what needs to change comes from their experience and knowledge. The purpose of our submission to the 2022 inquiry was to make recommendations for reform that will help address this issue.

Then, and now, we advocate for the Australian Government to: 

  • Establish a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak for the primary prevention of family violence. 
  • Prioritise funding to ACCOs to develop and deliver Aboriginal-led early intervention approaches across the child and family, and family violence service sectors. 
  • Implement the recommendations of the Bringing them Home report and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. 
  • Establish a process for reviewing police reports related to missing and murdered Aboriginal women and children to identify patterns of decision-making and policing, and make recommendations for policing reform

VACCA is contributing to the national family violence policy agenda through our advocacy for a standalone action plan to end violence against Aboriginal women and children, which was released in August 2023. This is the first time that there has been a dedicated plan for Aboriginal communities and was made possible through the collective advocacy of Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations across the country. 

Our programs 

As the largest provider of Aboriginal family violence services in the state, VACCA works holistically with women, men, young people, and children affected by family violence to provide prevention, early intervention and crisis supports. 

One example of our wraparound approach to supporting Aboriginal women and children experiencing family violence is the Bayside Aboriginal Access Point (AAP). An Aboriginal-led service, the AAP is designed to be culturally safe and responsive to the needs of Aboriginal adults, children, young people living in the Bayside Peninsula area who are affected by family violence.  

AAP Journey Walkers walk alongside Aboriginal families to provide culturally responsive services in line with their needs. As a program, it has been successful in supporting women and children in the Bayside area and is the first step towards an Aboriginal Orange Door.   

Find out more about our family violence programs. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.