• The Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) international conference is organised in conjunction with Our Watch and WESNET (Women’s Service Network) (AAP)Source: AAP
The Prevalent & Preventable conference, organised by The Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) looks to highlight emerging and novel ways to lower levels of violence against women and children in Australia.
NITV Staff Writer, Ross Turner

The Point
21 Sep 2016 - 1:58 PM  UPDATED 21 Sep 2016 - 5:09 PM

Every week, at least one woman is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia. Over 300 thousand experience violence from someone other than a partner every year.

Aboriginal women are 34 times more likely to die from assaults from somebody they know. About 90% of assaults on Aboriginal women go unreported, so the official figures of women experiencing violence are far from accurate.

Prevalent & Preventable is an action-focused conference requiring “presenters and participants to focus on the hard questions, and propose and discuss possible solutions.”

The conference will focus on innovative work which may be lesser-known or overlooked.

The aim is not just showcasing current practices and research, but discussing alternatives to prevent violence against women, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, often with limited services and infrastructure. Conference workshops will take into account how discrimination and marginalisation play a role, as well as focus on how children and young people can become agents of change.

Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in Victoria (FVPLS), is one of the keynote speakers partaking in the conference. FVPLS Victoria advocates for improvements in the way the community, the legal system and authorities respond to and address family violence and sexual assault.

Ms Braybrook’s presentation discusses the disproportionate rates of violence Indigenous women often face and how the system is failing them.

She told NITV:  “I’ll be sharing the story of Ms Dhu as well as the experiences of other women. I’ll also be talking on various statistics such as how women are the fastest growing prisoner population.”

Ms Braybrook explains 90% of women in prison have a history of being affected by family violence. 80% of them women are young mothers, whose children are being removed from them due to ‘primary forms of violence.’

“There are huge gaps in the system for women’s support… This extends across the all sections of the community for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. There really is a basic lack of services,” she says.

Ms Braybrook argues solutions depend on culturally-appropriate, safe services for women.

“When it comes to addressing violence to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women the FVPLS is best placed and our reach should be expanded to assist women living in remote, urban and rural areas.”

However, these vital services are insufficiently funded. “9 out of 14 services are in their final year of funding this year,” she says.

In March, the FVPLS released their ‘Solutions on Addressing Family Violence’, a document based on 14 years of experience working at the frontline with victims and survivors of family violence.

The report intends togive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women a voice, as they are often silenced by violence and by the system… (as well as) enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to build resilience towards preventing family violence through strong culture and strong identity.

Ms Braybrook hopes these solutions will help “shape policy to influence systemic change.”

She told NITV:We need people to be resilient. We also need to see more policy work made from people on the ground, (as well as more) experience for case workers to be able to better handle people’s enquiries. These are also some of the solutions that I will be putting forward in my keynote address.”

The Prevalent & Preventable conference is being held 19-22 September in Adelaide.