Always Was, Always Will Be.

This NAIDOC Week, we celebrate and acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original custodians and caretakers of the land. They have occupied, nurtured and cared for this country (and the many countries and nations within it) for over 65,000 years. 

DVNSW acknowledges the strength, courage, stories and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We recognise as allies that real change means our voices should not be leading, that we need to listen, learn and embrace the world’s oldest living culture.  

We watched on with disappointment that federal government voted down a motion to hang the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in the Senate chamber during this year’s NAIDOC week. Governments need to continue recognise and amplify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions, they need to build meaningful trust, and acknowledge that the ongoing injustice embedded within systems continues to cause trauma, harm, inequality and injustice.  

We know through our work at DVNSW that there are disproportionately higher rates of violence experienced by Aboriginal women, families and communities and that this is directly connected to discriminatory policy and practice.  

Aboriginal women’s experiences of sexual, domestic and family violence are deeply interlinked with experiences of colonisation, genocide and dispossession of land. Only when these factors are considered will we be able to reduce levels of harm and hurt.  

It is not too late for us to do this work. The solutions have been shared. We just need to listen.  

Aboriginal controlled responses remain at the forefront of solutions and will continue to be prioritised here at DVNSW – as well as ensuring Aboriginal controlled organisations receive the funding they deserve.  

As allies, we will continue to walk alongside and behind the DVNSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Steering Committee as they strive for change, and we thank them for their ongoing drive, will, patience, effort, knowledge, experience and passion to make a difference. 

#AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe 

Delia Donovan is the chief executive of Domestic Violence NSW. 

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