Yamatji leaders call out violence at Community Respect Equality Summit, responding to Our WATCh presentation

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Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
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Mount Magnet community leader Carol Minney, Desert Blue Connect Aboriginal liaison officer and GRAMS health promotions officer David Batty at the CRE Summit.
Camera IconMount Magnet community leader Carol Minney, Desert Blue Connect Aboriginal liaison officer and GRAMS health promotions officer David Batty at the CRE Summit. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

A panel of Mid West Aboriginal leaders says it’s everyone’s job to call out violence against Indigenous women, who are disproportionately victimised by intimate partners.

At a Geraldton social service summit yesterday, Desert Blue Connect Aboriginal liaison officer Marika Yarran said: “I ring the police if I hear a woman getting flogged. I do not just ignore it.

“It’s not just up to us Yamatjis. It’s up to you wadjulas (white people) too.”

According to the Change Your Story Report, produced by national violence prevention outfit Our WATCh, three in five Indigenous women experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of a male partner.

Senior practice adviser Audrey Walker said: “People often see that as being only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who perpetrate the violence, which is simply not true.”

Ms Walker joined the summit via Zoom, explaining the report and its proposed solutions, like addressing Australia’s colonial legacy and entrenched gender inequality.

Ms Yarran, WA Centre for Rural Health researcher Carole Minney and Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service’s David Batty — all local community leaders, public health professionals, First Nations people and domestic violence survivors — sat on a panel to discuss the report.

As well as calling out violence, Mr Batty said pulling down “silos and working together” was an important step in the right direction.

For Ms Minney, helping Indigenous women into leadership roles and building a culture of community kindness was crucial to progress.

She said she was proud to have encouraged Cr Cecilia Kelly, who moderated the panel, to enter local politics in Mount Magnet.

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