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Indigenous crisis ignored, forum told

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 4 March 2004


The Central Zone Commissioner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission has criticised health and child welfare workers for using culture as an excuse to ignore domestic violence, substance abuse and child abuse amongst Aboriginal communities.

Alison Anderson has told a Northern Territory social issues forum in Darwin that many people living and working in the Territory have become callous and hardened to the poor living conditions of Indigenous people.

"Some professionals say that they can't intervene in the act of violence against a woman or the abuse of a child because it is part of Indigenous culture or customary law," she said.

"Our culture is not to be manipulated or used as a smokescreen to cover up the abuse of our kids or violence against women."

She says despite legislation making it mandatory for professionals who work with children to report abuse, the Northern Territory has the lowest reporting record of any jurisdiction.


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