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Domestic and Family Violence Service 'Atunypa Wiru Minyma Uwankaraku' - Good Protection for all Women

Extract of Performance Report January to June 08

FaHCSIA Project Name: Family Violence Services for NT Communities of Finke/Imanpa /Mutitjulu &Docker River / and women and children from NPY Lands who visit or temporarily reside in Alice Springs. - ICC PFA NO. 8768

Note: this is one of four sources of funding for the NPY Domestic and Family Violence Service alone. This Service is one of several service delivery areas within the organisation.

Family Violence Regional Activities Program (FVRAP) Performance Indicators:

A. Using quantitative and qualitative reporting, describe how the project activity/activities address family violence in indigenous communities

The primary focus of NPYWC Domestic and Family Violence (DV) Service is the safety of women and children on the NPY Lands of NT, WA, and SA, an area of 350,000 sq. kms. While the Service operates across three states, funds from FAHCSIA are used for work done in NT. This Service is unique in the area that it covers, and arose from the need expressed by indigenous women for full access to the criminal justice system and for practical assistance when domestic violence occurs. The Service has a model of working that targets 3 key areas:

  1. Providing assistance and advocacy for individual victims of DV that prioritises their safety within a case management framework.
  2. Providing and facilitating community education regarding DV and sexual assault within NPY communities, police, justice, health and other relevant workers.
  3. Building links and developing guidelines within other organisations and services to improve responses to DV.

1. Provided Case Management and advocacy for family violence clients

This Service focuses on assisting victims of violence (primarily women) by accessing the criminal justice system, undertaking safety planning, and engaging in case management.

From January to June 08, the total number of clients from NT was 165. From July to Dec. 07, the total number of clients was 130. This represents an increase of about 21% for this half year. It is speculated that this might be reflective of increased reporting rather than an increase in the amount of domestic violence. The reason for this speculation is because of the breakdown of figures below:

Location July-December 07 Jan. to June 08
Alice Springs 72 23
Mutitjulu 26 53
Imanpa 3 16
Finke 8 28
Docker River 8 34
Other places 13 11
TOTAL 130 165

As can be seen, the number of clients from remote communities has increased whereas the number of clients from Alice Springs (mainly town camps of Old Timers, Little Sisters, Karnte and Ilparpa) has decreased. The decrease in Alice Springs numbers may well be attributed to the Federal Government NT Intervention, as too may the increase in reports from communities that were previously under-policed. Another factor in increased reporting could be the better service provision to the 4 remote communities by the DV Service.

These figures show a significant shift from the previous half year where 55 % of our NT clients were from Alice Springs (mostly in Town Camps) and the other 45 % were from remote communities. This half year only 15% of clients were from Alice Springs and 85% were from remote communities.

This half year, NT clients comprise 32.6% of our total client numbers. During this half year the total number of different clients that NPYWC DVS provided a service to from across the NPY Lands was 291. The total number of different clients from NT was 95. Some of these clients presented on numerous occasions.

Below are two case studies that give an insight into the type of work done by this Service in addressing domestic violence.

Qualitative Case Studies:

a. Case Study 1

One client we have been working with over several years is often assaulted by her partner when alcohol is involved. The client has previously had a NO CONTACT Domestic Violence Restraining Order but it expired several months before. She had not wanted to apply for a new order at the time. She and her partner had come into Alice Springs from a NT remote community and were staying with relatives in a town camp. Consumption of alcohol occurred one evening. The client was assaulted by her partner resulting in extensive bruising to the right eye and possible damage to the eye itself. Police attended the incident and took the client to the dry out centre. No report was taken by police as the client was not sober.

The client contacted NPYWC Domestic Violence Service the following morning by ringing the Freecall number (she keeps a card in her pocket). A Case Worker picked her up and brought her back to NPYWC for discussion of options (with the client's safety as the primary focus).The client needs were identified as: an appointment at Congress for a medical assessment, emergency accommodation at A/S Women's Shelter, and then transport back to a safe community. The client was encouraged by NPYWC DVS to make a statement to police. She kept deferring this as she had various medical treatments for her eye. The client returned to her community before making a police statement. However, NPYWC advised police of the incident and noted that medical treatment had been received, in case the client wanted to make a statement at a later date.

About 2 weeks later the client returned to Alice Springs to go to the Alice Springs Show.

A few nights later the client was assaulted again by her partner. The woman contacted NPYWC DVS, and she was picked up by a case worker and taken to the Police Station to make a report. The client also made a report about the previous assault as there was medical evidence to support the information given and also previous information passed onto police by NPYWC. During the police interview the client decided that she wanted to apply for a NO CONTACT DVRO. After the interview the case worker organised for the client to stay at A/S Women's Shelter as the perpetrator had not yet been arrested, thus making return to a town camp an unsafe option. Since then the perpetrator has been arrested, was taken to court and sentenced. The NO CONTACT order was granted. The client has returned to her community. She has regularly rung NPYWC to receive updates on the court outcomes for her partner and to discuss a safety plan for when he is released.

This case study highlights a number of factors about the NPYWC DV Service:

b. Case Study 2

One of the DV Case Workers was going to an interagency meeting and saw the client in the Mall. She came up to the Case Worker and revealed that she had been bashed by her previous partner the night before.

The previous partner was well known to NPYWC DVS as he had persistently harassed, threatened, beaten, abducted, isolated and committed a whole range of "jealous" domestic violence acts against the victim over the past 10 years. This client was on NPYWC "most at risk" list. The perpetrator had been released from jail in Port Augusta 3 days prior to an initial incident that happened over a week before. He came straight up to Alice Springs where he knew the victim was located and went to one of the town camps one night and hit the victim over the head with an iron bar while she was lying in bed. This required the victim to have 21 staples put in her head to seal the injury. Several days later the perpetrator saw the victim in the shopping centre and came up to her and bashed her in the head (on the same spot where she had the previous injury).

This woman had a NO CONTACT order in place that was registered in NT. SA, and WA. However, neither of these assaults had been reported to police. On seeing the DV Case Worker, the woman decided to make her situation known. The Case Worker immediately took the client to the NPYWC office and talked with her about what had been happening and the importance of reporting to police. The Case Worker and client then went to the Police Station and statements were taken about the two assaults.

In the opinion of NPYWC DVS this perpetrator has the potential to kill this woman as his attacks have been persistent and vicious over the past ten years. The perpetrator was arrested by police, taken to court, sentenced, and jailed until early 2009.

About a week after the perpetrator was jailed the victim came to the NPYWC office and said that she had been receiving threats from the perpetrator via a public telephone at one of the town camps- "when I get out I will come and get you." So we discussed a safety plan surrounding this date when the offender gets out. We will keep an eye on this date and make contact with the client before the perpetrator is released.

This case study highlights several points about the role of NPYWC and how we do our work:

2. NPYWC DV Service provided and facilitated community education regarding family violence and sexual assault within NPY communities, police, justice, health and other relevant workers.

Case Worker visits and workshops occurred at the following places and times:

The Sexual Assault Worker, Interpreter and Case Worker travelled to communities as a team and presented sexual assault and domestic violence workshops along with doing individual case work. Emphasis in workshops has been on developing skills in identifying all forms of domestic violence, the undergirding issue of power and control evident in domestic violence, the use of DVRO's, and being aware of who to contact when family violence (of any sort) occurs. The sexual assault component of the workshops has focused on getting people to speak up about sexual assault, key aspects of reporting a sexual assault (importance of the first 24-48 hours), and thinking about the effects of sexual assault on victims by reflecting on the videos "The Big Shame" and "Who's the Loser".

B. Using quantitative and qualitative reporting, describe how the project activities advocates for improved services for victims of family violence, including improved collaboration between jurisdictions, levels of government and communities.

The following case study is a great example of the principle of collaboration and how it can work to the advantage of clients.

Case study 3:

NPYWC was contacted by the DPP in regard to concerns that they had for a woman's safety. Police had tried to contact this woman but to no effect. Whenever they went to the particular town camp where she was rumoured to be living, they were met with a wall of silence.

After discussion it was decided that the NPYWC Interpreter / Client Support Worker (an indigenous woman) would go to the town camp in a vehicle that did not have any attributes of "official government vehicle". She went to a little shed where someone said they had seen a woman and she found her lying on the ground inside.

The victim had been severely beaten around the groin and legs, so much so that she could not stand up on her own. The Interpreter immediately helped the woman into the vehicle (as the perpetrator was nowhere around) and brought her to NPYWC. She came in and told her story over a cup of tea and some food (as she hadn't eaten for some time). Then the Interpreter/ Client Support Worker took her to the hospital for medical assistance. It seemed that the victim's leg might have been broken- X-rays revealed that she was very badly bruised but had no fractures. After medical assistance the client was taken to the police to make a report and then emergency accommodation was arranged at the Alice Springs Women's Shelter.

The Police then worked in co-operation with NPYWC to try and ascertain the whereabouts of the perpetrator so that he could be apprehended.

This is a great example of various services working together in the best interests of the client so they can receive a positive response when they have been victims of violence. These efforts might well make the difference between life and death for some clients.

Examples of collaboration between jurisdictions, levels of government and communities during this half year:

The above liaison and interagency activities have been working towards the goals of either:

C. Using quantitative and qualitative reporting, describe how the project activities increased the reporting of incidences of family violence in indigenous communities

As indicated previously the reporting of incidences of domestic violence in NT communities of Finke, Imanpa, Mutitjulu and Docker River and women from NPY Lands temporarily residing in Alice Springs, has increased by 21% in this half year. More people within the remote communities are reporting incidences of violence. This is probably a result of both increased police presence and more contact with NPYWC Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Case Workers. Some factors that may have assisted the increase in reporting:

These activities might have increased reporting by making the Service more visible and accessible.

D. Using quantitative and qualitative reporting, describe how the project activities assisted victims of family violence and sexual assault in Indigenous communities.

Some of the case studies above have described how this project assists victims of family violence. NPYWC has assisted 165 victims of family violence/sexual assault from the NT over the past half year. This figure consists of 95 different victims so some of these clients must have presented several times over the 6 month period. This is not to say that there were only 165 interactions- there were many more than that. However, because client numbers are entered on a monthly basis, one person might have been entered in 3 different months, showing up as 3 victims.

The following statistics have been obtained by dividing the total number of matters handled for the 6 month period in all three states that are covered by NPYWC (NT,WA and SA) and dividing by the percentage of different NT clients of our total number of different clients (32.6%).

The 95 different victims of family violence and sexual assault in NT were assisted in the following ways:

Case Study 4 below describes how the Service assisted a sexual assault victim in the past half year.

This client was sexually assaulted several years ago. NPYWC DVS was involved with the client in seeing the matter through the courts and an outcome was achieved in which two young men were convicted of sexual assault and jailed. During this half of the year, the client has been facing mental health issues (some of which had emerged prior to the assault) and has required support from NPYWC DV Service Sexual Assault Worker and NPYWC Disability Advocate in regard to a range of issues. In particular, at times when the client has been in her home community she has been taunted by the perpetrators family so there has been a need to evacuate her to a place of safety. Then after being in safe accommodation in Alice Springs for a while, the client gets restless and wants to be surrounded by family again and to return to country. So assisting the client to find a place where she feels safe and feels a sense of belonging and able to participate in activities has been a high priority for this year. During this time the DV Service has also assisted the client with a Victim of Crime Compensation claim.

11.8.08
Jill Steel
Manager Domestic and Family Violence Service,
NPY Women's Council

Information that may be of specific interest to the NTER Review Board

NPY Women's Council Domestic Violence Service Client Numbers.

No. of clients per quarter from 3 states as per SAAP data from 1.1.07 to 30.6.08

 
NT
SA
WA
 
3 month periods No. % of total No. % of total No. % of total Total no. clients
1.1.07-31.1.07 79 27.7% 159 55.8% 47 16.6% 285
1.4.07-30.6.07 81 29.3% 135 48.9% 60 21.7% 276
Average per qtr 80 28.5% 147 52.3% 54 19.2% 281
1.7.07-30.9.07 67 24.7% 155 57.2% 49 18.1% 271
1.10.07-31.12.07 64 27.6% 129 56.1% 37 16.1% 230
1.1.08-31.3.08 74 28.8% 141 54.9% 39 15.2% 254
1.4.08-30.6.08 91 32.1% 141 49.8% 51 18.0% 283
Average per qtr 74 28.4% 142 54.5% 44 17.0% 260

It is interesting to see the consistency of figures and percentages of total number of clients that come from each jurisdiction. It is historically the case that the APY Lands in SA has the largest number of clients by percentage. The Ngaanyatjarra figure/percentage may increase with the presence of a full-time DV staff member at Warakurna (since August 2008.) There are about 6000 people across the region. Approximate population: APY Lands 2700; Ngaanyatjarra Lands 2500; four NT member communities: Mutitjulu, Docker River, Finke and Imanpa: 630.

In July 2008 the DV Manager visited Mutitjulu Community and spoke to a range of Anangu women: older women sixty years or over, women around forty years and younger women in their twenties and up to thirty years. There were separate discussions with each group. Each group indicated that there was at that time not a lot of domestic violence at Mutitjulu and had not been during the past few months. The Police also had this view. The January to June 2008 period however showed an increase in women the DV Service compared to the previous six months. The DV Manager's view is that women are contacting the DV Service at an earlier stage than they have done previously; that is, before the violence reaches a high level of severity.
There are currently only two women from Mutitjulu in the DV Service's 'high risk' category.

The DV Manager believes that NPYWC is able to provide a better service due to a permanent police presence, even though officers change over quite frequently.

Information for NT Intervention Review on domestic violence figures for NPY Communities in NT

Note: extracted from report above.

From January to June 08, the total number of clients from NT was 165. From July to Dec. 07, the total number of clients was 130. This represents an increase of about 21% for this half year. It is speculated that this might be reflective of increased reporting rather than an increase in the amount of domestic violence. The reason for this speculation is because of the breakdown of figures below:

Location July-December 07 Jan. to June 08
Alice Springs 72 23
Mutitjulu 26 53
Imanpa 3 16
Finke 8 28
Docker River 8 34
Other places 13 11
TOTAL 130 165

As can be seen, the number of clients from remote communities has increased whereas the number of clients from Alice Springs (mainly town camps of Old Timers, Little Sisters, Karnte and Ilparpa) has decreased. The decrease in Alice Springs numbers may well be attributed to the Federal Government NT Intervention, as too may the increase in reports from communities that were previously under-policed. Another factor in increased reporting could be the better service provision to the 4 remote communities by NPYWC DV Service.

These figures show a significant shift from the previous half year where 55 % of our NT clients were from Alice Springs (mostly in Town Camps) and the other 45 % were from remote communities. This half year only 15% of clients were from Alice Springs and 85% were from remote communities.

This half year, NT clients comprise 32.6% of our total client numbers. During this half year the total number of different clients that NPYWC DVS provided a service to from across the NPY Lands was 291. The total number of different clients from NT was 95. Some of these clients presented on numerous occasions.

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