Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong People, Strong Families
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Primary prevention is key
- 4 Address intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through primary prevention, including holistic healing strategies, and by strengthening connections to culture, language, knowledge and identity.
- Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children
- 6 Value and engage the expertise of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men, communities and organisations to lead in the creation and implementation of community-led solutions to build and manage change.
- 9 Address both the immediate impacts and deep underlying drivers of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through collective action with governments, service providers and communities.
What are we doing?
This is an Aboriginal-led Victorian Agreement that commits the partners to work together and be accountable for ensuring that Aboriginal people, families and communities are stronger, safer, thriving and living free from family violence.
- The Victorian Government committed $28.7 million between 2018-19 and 2021-22 for Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families, which includes the implementation of Community Initiatives Fund projects and the establishment of the Dhelk Dja Aboriginal Family Violence Fund.
What have we achieved so far?
- The 2019 – 2022 Dhelk Dja 3 Year Action Plan was endorsed by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in November 2019. This plan details the actions and investments which will give rise to the 10 Year Dhelk Dja agreement.
- At the August 2021 Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, the Aboriginal Family Violence Industry Strategy was endorsed. The Strategy aims to: grow and expand the Aboriginal family violence workforce; ensure a self-determining, valued and empowered Aboriginal family violence workforce; enhance workers’ employment and study skills; ensure a skilled and equipped Aboriginal family violence workforce; increase cultural safety in the workplace; recognise Aboriginal culture and cultural strengthening as protective factors against violence; enhance Aboriginal family violence workforce health, safety and wellbeing; ensure the Aboriginal family violence workforce is appropriately remunerated, and support recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
- Work is underway to map all Aboriginal-specific family violence prevention initiatives and investment across Victoria to provide the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum with a strategic overview across both Aboriginal and mainstream prevention programs to support targeted investment in prevention and early intervention activities.
- The 2021-22 State Budget provides funding for the construction and operation of a new Core and Cluster Refuge to be established in Horsham. This is in addition to the two Aboriginal refuges being established in Shepparton and Warrnambool.
- As announced to the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in May 2021, the Dhelk Dja Family Violence Fund provides $13.8 million in funding to more than 45 Aboriginal-led initiatives and services. This funding supports Victorian Aboriginal organisations to deliver culturally appropriate, Aboriginal-led tailored responses across victim survivors and people who use violence, including for women, men, children and young people.
- The Orange Door Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan was endorsed at the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in May 2021. The Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan focuses on actions to improve access and equity for Aboriginal peoples as they can experience systemic barriers when accessing family violence and other specialist services such as child and family services.
- The Aboriginal-led evaluation of the Preventing the Cycle of Violence Aboriginal Fund and Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund was completed in September 2021. The final report is to be tabled at the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in November 2021.
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 16 per cent of total COVID response funding in 2020-21 was allocated directly to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to support a range of family violence and sexual assault service delivery, as well as to support agencies to adapt to COVID safe operations and service delivery.
What is next?
- The first of three Aboriginal Access Points will be established by June 2022 with the remaining two established by late 2022.
- Development of a 10 Year Investment Strategy in partnership with the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum ahead of the 2022-23 budget cycle.
- Review and update of the Indigenous Family Violence Primary Prevention Framework aligned to Dhelk Dja 10 Year Agreement ensuring the voices of Aboriginal children and young people and Elders are embedded in system transformation work.
- A second Dhelk Dja 3 Year Action Plan will be developed for 2022-2025.
What difference will we make?
Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 2018-2028 is the key Aboriginal-led Victorian Agreement that commits Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal services and government to work together and be accountable for ensuring that Aboriginal people, families and communities are stronger, safer, thriving and living free from family violence. Aboriginal self-determination in a family violence context is a systemic shift from government and the non-Aboriginal service sector, that requires the transfer of power, control, decision making and resources to Aboriginal communities and their organisations by:
- investing in Aboriginal self-determining structures, including but not limited to the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, Dhelk Dja Regional Action Groups and Aboriginal community organisations, to lead governance, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of family violence reform including policy and program development, services and initiatives for Aboriginal people
- transferring decision making for policy development and program design by prioritising funding to Aboriginal communities and their organisations
- investing in community sustainability, resourcing and capacity building to meet the requirements of the new reforms
- growing and supporting the skills and knowledge base of the Aboriginal workforce and sector to support self-determination
- ensuring that government and the service system is culturally safe, transparent and accountable
- ensuring that community have access to culturally informed, safe service provision and programs by the non-Aboriginal service sector.
This initiative will contribute to the National Outcomes that Indigenous communities are strengthened.
The vision of the Dhelk Dja Agreement is that Aboriginal people are culturally strong, safe and self-determining, with families and communities living free from violence.
This long-term outcome will be achieved through action under five strategic priorities:
- One: Aboriginal culture and leadership
- Two: Aboriginal-led prevention
- Three: Self-determining Aboriginal family violence support and services
- Four: System transformation based on self-determination
- Five: Aboriginal-led and informed innovation, data and research.
The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework was published in Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, which outlined Victoria’s priorities in preventing and responding to family violence, why they matter, and what constitutes success. The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework is a whole of Government framework and is intended to ensure Victorian family violence reform efforts are focused on the actions that make a difference. The Victorian Government is progressing development of the framework, including through indicators and measures. In time, measurement and monitoring of Victorian family violence outcomes may also support reporting for the National Plan.
The Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum meets three times per year to monitor progress against the Dhelk Dja Agreement and other key priorities.
The Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan enables the effective monitoring and evaluation of the Agreement over ten years.
Evaluation of Aboriginal-led prevention projects funded under the Preventing the Cycle of Violence Aboriginal Fund and the Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund will build the capacity of the Aboriginal Community Controlled family violence sector to build a stronger evidence base for longer term investment and support.