Djirra is an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation, which provides holistic, culturally safe and specialist legal and non-legal support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience family violence – predominantly women. Djirra also designs and delivers important, community-based early intervention and prevention programs and undertakes policy and law reform work to improve access to justice, strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s resilience and reduce vulnerability to violence.
The vast majority of Djirra’s clients are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children – over 95%. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more likely to have children removed by child protection with family violence being the primary driver of the removal. Our kids are being placed in out-of-home care and taken away from families and communities. Nationally 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in prison are mums. Women, our mothers, must not be blamed for the violence they experience and therefore exposing children to violence – attitudes must change, approaches need to be strength-based and supportive, not punitive.
Making a difference
Djirra’s approach is holistic – we work at the frontline, design and deliver early intervention and prevention programs with a strong focus on building Aboriginal women’s resilience, and create access and opportunities for Aboriginal women and Aboriginal mothers and their children through our Koori Women’s Place. Our focus is strength-based with a strong cultural focus. Everything we do is by Aboriginal women and for Aboriginal women – Aboriginal women’s business.
Aboriginal women and Aboriginal mothers and their children are our priority – their safety and resilience. We must address the high rates of violence and ensure women and children are together safe, put an end to women’s imprisonment and support women to stay out, as well as putting an end to the high removal rates and placement of our kids in out-of-home care. We address these issues holistically. Our Koori Women’s Place is a place where all Aboriginal women feel safe connected with other Aboriginal women, share similar circumstances and never be judged, only supported.
Aboriginal community control must be invested in – our communities, our people must lead our own way. The mainstream way – government-imposed way – has proven to fail. We must stop building industries on our disadvantage – cut the investment into child protection, prisons, youth detention centres. It costs approximately $110,000 per year to keep a woman in prison and about $500,000 per year to keep a child in detention. Djirra could make a real difference with $200,000 – one worker could work with and link women into much needed supports to keep them out of prison, safe and with their kids.
Find out more about Djirra’s programs at djirra.org.au