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The Indigenous Violence in Australia: Reasons and Forms

The pain and agony of racial discrimination still lingers in the lives of the aboriginal communities of Australia. Compared to the other people in the same country, the indigenous people continue to suffer due to inadequate availability of basic necessities. Poverty and unemployment has led most of the youths into crime and substance abuse. With no appropriate person to address their plight, the children and the women become the most affected. Cultural beliefs and ties have continued to bind these communities and hindered them from being free. The government on the other hand has been slow in addressing the issues of these people. They have taken them for granted and also blamed them for their poor living conditions.

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Racism is a term used to define the unfair treatment between people of a different racial background, such a term may however be redefined to the unfair treatment shown towards a people that are lowly regarded in the society. Despite the similar territorial boundaries that the people of the same country share, the resources are not equally distributed. There is always a disparity between the remote community and the rest of the citizens (Hodge, 2006). This group of people are neglected and hence live a life full of frustrations. It is usually for such reasons that high cases of crime, violence and abuse are reported. Even with the reported cases, the action of the government to protect these people is slow.

Australia is one nation in which cases that relate to criminal offences and violence have received a lot of attention from the media. If properly utilised, it is through this media that the cases can be addressed (Howe, 1998). The main problem is that the media can not be trusted with the statistics; it seems to either overlook some serious cases or provide information that is contrary to the exact happening. When it comes to reporting crimes, the indigenous community is not given the much needed attention. The reason for this is that the remote areas where these people stay are not well supplied with the necessary amenities for it to be accessible by the media. The people are neglected and their needs taken for granted.

The lifestyle of the indigenous community is characterised by a frustrated group of people that live for each day and behold whatever befalls them. To them the future has no meaning and they live simply because they found themselves alive. They are not have access to good health care facilities, the water they drink is not pure and they are generally congested. They have come to accept the state of their conditions simply because they have no one understanding enough to report to, if they get an opportunity to do so, little is done to assist them. (Donnan, 2009)

Due to such frustrations of life, there is a lot of violence and abuse in the aboriginal Australia. The young unemployed people that are faced with the responsibility of taking care of the family will always resort to substance abuse to escape such duties (Donnan, 2009). The out come of such intoxications is released on the children and the women. There are therefore many reported cases of negligence on the children and the women. From a critical analysis of the statistics recorded on the life expectancy age, infant mortality rate and the rate of infectious diseases, it was discovered that the percentage of victims in aboriginal communities exceeds at a larger extend from the non-aboriginal people. Despite the effort of the media to provide coverage of these cases, there is usually fear among the victims of the consequences that will befall them if the exact cases are reported. Due to the cultural beliefs and norms most of the victims choose not to narrate their ordeals.

In recent years, the plight of this indigenous community caught the attention of the media and consequently the state government. A lot of funds have since been poured into projects that are to ensure peace and stability amongst the people (Meadows, 2001). Despite the various blames pointed on the indigenous communities’ inability to boldly resist the norm, there has been a big disparity between the white Australians and the indigenous community. Most of them are not educated and therefore not informed on matters concerning their rights. The housing and health facilities of these communities are at stake and most of them are unemployed. Even though funds are being supplied to provide for the basic human rights of these communities, the funds have not been adequate due to the increasing number of the people and inflation (Broome, 2005). For such crimes to be completely eradicated, more funds have to be invested in ensuring that the community based health centres are adequately equipped with health facilities, better houses need to be established, employment opportunities for the youth to avoid idleness that subsequently leads to crime and lastly ensure that the communities are access to educational facilities where they will be informed of their rights.

With the implementation of the following short term proposals, the situation of the indigenous people can be brought under check; the public should come out and support the government to increase funding to this community, infrastructure and other important services should be provided, the indigenous leaders should be included in decisions pertaining to development projects, educating the community on the dangers of substance abuse which is the main cause of crime and the construction of houses to minimize congestion.

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For the long term plans to deliver the community the government should; ensure that there is maximum representation of the needs of the remote community in parliament, with a regular supply of the needed funds, promote independence in the community by establishing training programs to the young people, the indigenous people should be given scholarships to study in remote areas with the aim of improving the area, the indigenous people should be supported to take courses in the areas of education, governance and health to adequately equip them for community responsibilities.

The cases of child negligence have been on the rise in these communities. Due to the inability of the children to speak and express themselves, most of such cases are either never reported or reported when a lot of damage has already been done. The parents’ of these children may either be unable to protect them or be the main abusers. The main reason why the parents behave this way is because of the situations and circumstances that they are exposed to. They may wish to provide for their children the best treatment but the resources are not adequate. They therefore expose them to both emotional and physical pain to relieve them of their own pain.

The government of Australia has laws that offer protection to the child. It is mandatory for the state to offer the much needed help to the children who are facing abuse or neglect of any kind (Rowse, 2002). Despite these laws being active, the aboriginal children continue to suffer with no one to adequately address their issues. The media has been on the forefront in exposing these issues to the public, yet the government has not treated these cases with emergency. Some cases are however never reported because the people have lost confidence in the justice system and the media; they usually feel that reporting their cases may only tarnish their public image and receive no help from the concerned. The parents also fear to report the cases of their children’s abuse thinking that the children may be separated from them.

There is also a tendency of the community to deny that what their children are going through is abnormal as most of them were brought up in similar conditions. Some of the children are usually abused by their close relatives and they are therefore advised not to report the cases. The community also feels that reporting the cases may lead to the arrest of the perpetrator which is viewed as betrayal. The family of the abused may also fear the consequences of them reporting the perpetrator who may retaliate. Reporting of the case may also bring shame to the family and community, a dignity that the concerned don’t want to loose. The communities don’t also have a clear understanding of child abuse and neglect; they view them as the responsibilities that the children have to undertake. They are ill informed of the legal procedures that are needed to address the cases of child abuse. This community is geographically isolated and they do not have reporting centres.

The highest percentage of child abuse is neglect (Dickson, 2005). This usually consists of the parents’ inability to provide to their children the basic necessities of life i.e. adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, hygiene and supervision when playing. This however may not be blamed on the parents who may not be in a position to provide these facilities. Next to neglect is emotional abuse, most of these children are required to adequately perform certain tasks in the community, if such standards are not met and appreciated they are emotionally confused and disturbed. Third in the rank is physical abuse, these mostly happens to them when they fail to meet certain demands of the family or the community.

Sexual abuse is the last and probably the most tormenting form of abuse that a child could be exposed to. This may come in several forms but the girls are the most affected. The children who are sexually abused may not understand what is happening to them; they are violently assaulted and threatened in case they report the matter. Most of the abusers are usually under intoxication which makes the ordeal even more violent and painful. Some of them may also be abused by the very people that they rely on to provide for them the security and protection that they need. Such kind of abuse affects the child’s psychology and emotional wounds that may not be easy to heal. Most cases of sexual abuse and assault are never reported and those that are reported are probably discovered when the girl becomes pregnant. The parents who may realise that their child has been assaulted may fear to report the cases because they want to protect the child and the family name. With no action, the child may continue to suffer such abuse from the assailant with no one to run to.

Another kind of sexual abuse that is mostly ignored and viewed as normal by the community is early marriages, the girl child is usually at risk as she may have no say when the decision is passed by the community elders. Girls as young as twelve years are forced to take up responsibilities of mothers and wives despite their immaturity and inexperience (Dalton, 1996). When the appropriate suitor is found for them, they are not given any chance to bargain. One of the main reasons why the parents of this children resort to such a move of marrying off their daughters at an early age is because they want to reduce the burden of taking care of many children. By marrying off their daughter, they will have fewer children to take care of and also gain some token as a bride price from their prospective in-laws. The reproductive health of these young girls is put at risk as they understand little about it.

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As much as this lifestyle is common and normal to the aboriginal communities, it is unheard off among the white Australians. It is no wonder that when they hear of such, they think it is only a fairy tale. When such few cases are reported among them, they will do all that they can to help the victims and make sure that the same never recurs. For the aboriginal, nothing much may be done, they live as outcasts in their own country. The journalists who manage to penetrate these areas and talk to the people may not get the complete information from them. However they are the people that can help heal these communities from neglect.

What is required of them is to take the correct statistics and bring out a clear picture of exactly what happens in these communities. The media is the only channel that can be trusted to provide fair information on the pain and agony of these communities (Rowse, 2002). It may not be easy especially to get a victim of sexual abuse to boldly narrate their experience and how they feel about it unless it is done with a skilful approach. Many young people in these areas are miserable and frustrated and they are only looking forward to someone who can listen to them and help them out. With thorough investigation it may be discovered that involvement in crime and substance abuse is simply because they desire to release their pain and agony.

It has not been easy for the government leaders to stoop low and look unto the needs of these people, most of them have never led such a lifestyle and therefore ignorant about it (Reid, 2003). It is only the media that can decide to stand strong and expose these communities to the public so that they realise the urgency of their needs. In exposing these cases, the media should not only do it once because it is usually forgotten and life goes on. When such episodes are repeatedly aired, it will catch the attention of the public and the leadership who may sympathise and help their own. The media, using their interrogative skills, may also be able to assist the police in getting the assailants and criminals to face the law.

The media may provide the best alternative for justice in these communities because of the calculated steps they take to find out how and what led to a certain occurrence. They are in a better position to also gather all the evidence that may lead to the arrest of the criminals. The reason why crime has continued to be reported in these communities is because the criminals are never confronted, it becomes a normal lifestyle to them (Carson, 2007). Most criminals in these communities are known yet feared by the people. They are a constant threat to the security of the areas, when such are taken and rehabilitated, they may be given the skills that will provide them with an alternative that legally earn them a living.

When dealing with indigenous violence, the criminal investigation office should understand that. Most of the crimes done are not mainly driven by one’s desire to become rich or achieve anything. Most of them are driven into it by frustration and substance abuse. Most of them feel that by harming somebody, part of their pain may be relieved and by harming many, much of it will also sublime. Such conceptions are the ones that make them persist in their crimes (Phillips, 2003). When it comes to such cases, it may therefore be of no help simply punishing the offenders without taking them through cancelling. They need to be interrogated to find out how they got into the crime, at what age and the situations that they were facing.

Another reason that drives the youth into substance abuse and crime is because they have nothing to do. With a lot of energy within them, they may look for a means of flexing their muscles of which they find crime and drugs to be the most appropriate way. Once the background of their behaviour is established it may be easier to provide them with appropriate cancelling and support (Nowra, 2007). Most of the time the criminal justice becomes so hard on the assailants of indigenous violence without offering them with any assistance to completely get out of it.

Most of the victims of indigenous violence are the children and the women. They are the ones to bear the consequences of their drunken husbands and fathers. Several policies have been enacted to ensure that the women and the children are protected from such kind of assaults. Several women organisations have come up to defend and protect them (Attwood, 2005). They are aimed at enlightening the women on their rights and encouraging them to speak out whenever they are found in such a situation. Even though most women look at it as a better alternative to solve their issues, most of them are not bold enough to report the violence in their home. They are required to report such happenings to the community elders who will provide them with solution. In most cases the solutions are never to their favour and so rendering the intervention meaningless.

In order to offer workable solutions to these individuals, the government and other organisations should collaborate with the community elders with the hope of making them change the way they look at family violence. They should be able to suggest solutions that will not only benefit the victims but also make the man behave responsibly. It has generally been assumed in such communities that whenever a family faces instability it is the woman rather than the man to be held responsible (Neill, 2002). These makes the men to persist in their reckless behaviour knowing that whatever excuse they present, the case will turn out to their favour. To change such policies of the community may not be easy as the elders feel they have all the authority and wisdom to defend their people.

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When strategic measures are employed in educating these elders, they would be the channel that the government and other organisations can use to deliver these communities from pain and torture. When it comes to addressing the issues of child abuse, the best solution is to get the children into schools where the teachers concerned are to be trained on dealing with them (Broome, 2005). Children that have been abused may show resistance towards any social activities. They feel neglected and abandoned and therefore need a person that truly befriend them and make them narrate what happened to them. Most of them that are sexually assaulted are usually threatened never to reveal the matter or face dire consequences. Such children may therefore find it hard to reveal the truth unless assured of their total security.

In conclusion, we find that the aboriginal communities need a lot of help from the government and the general public. It may not be easy for them to accept the help even when it is available due to the lifestyle that they are now used to. Changing such communities to make them behave like the others is not a change that can be achieved suddenly. It requires a lot of diligence and persistence on the part of the government and other organisations. They need to be first made aware of what is required of them with an assurance that if they submit they will be helped. No matter how many more years it takes before they are completely transformed, the first steps begin now. When all the leaders, communities and organisations come together for the sake of these people, they will feel loved and consequently their lives will change. (Neill, 2002)


Attwood B. (2005): Telling the truth about Aboriginal history: Allen & Unwin pp12-15.

Broome R. (2005): Aboriginal Victorians: Allen & Unwin pp17-19.

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Dalton T. (1996): Making social policy in Australia: Allen & Unwin pp45-48.

Dickson J. (2005): Will the circle be unbroken: University of Toronto Press reprint pp56-58.

Donnan H. (2009): Transgressive Sex: Berghahn Books pp12-16.

Hodge R. (2006): Border work in multicultural Australia: Allen & Unwin pp14-19.

Howe A. (1998): Sexed Crime in the News: Federation Press pp16-18.

Meadows M. (2001): Voices in the wilderness: Greenwood Publishing Group pp25-28.

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