your use Committee Coordinators
Workers Growing in
|Practice implications: History|
"The history of Aboriginal dispossession is central to understanding contemporary
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations.” Royal Commission into Aboriginal
Deaths in Custody
For Aboriginal people living today, their experience of living in Australian society with this historical legacy has many significant impacts on their lives. Three impacts with implications for service delivery are:
Implications for service delivery
All staff working with Aboriginal clients need to have a general understanding of the story of Aboriginal history and the impacts of this on Aboriginal people.
The service provider will dialogue with the local Aboriginal community to discover appropriate ways to make the service provider more friendly, welcoming and appropriate for Aboriginal people.
The following practical tips and suggestions could be developed further in dialogue with Aboriginal people and the local Aboriginal community.
1. Service providers need a meaningful understanding of the history and story of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and how it impacts on their lives today, particularly in the communities they are servicing.
2. Service providers need to develop culturally appropriate programs and ways of servicing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Service provision needs to be flexible enough to acknowledge and support different cultural values and beliefs.
3.Encourage Service providers to understand the clients’ needs holistically by considering all aspects of their lives, cultural traditions and commitments so that better outcomes can be achieved.
4. Ensure that your case management process is culturally appropriate. This may include; –
5. Do not expect all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to share information regarding families and culture or local history.
6. If an Aboriginal Worker is available at the Service, ask the client if they would prefer to discuss their concerns with this person but remember, not all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may want to work with an Aboriginal Worker.
7. Ensure that your Service maintains accurate and up-to-date information on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services available in your area, to ensure appropriate referrals.
8. Maintain networks with Aboriginal Workers within Government and non-government services in your area.
1. Do not make assumptions of what knowledge or skills Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may have, based on stereotypes. Every client will present with different needs and expectations and should be assessed accordingly.
2. When working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples it is important to understand the effects of the ‘Stolen Generation’ and how their experiences may impact on their living skills i.e. skills in cooking and other domestic duties. Aboriginal adults, who were removed from their families as children, were often deprived of effective parenting. These children were institutionalized, fostered or adopted. They were often raised in living conditions that were inadequate and received a poor education.
3. It may be useful to offer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples support of a practical type. This can be achieved through a home visiting service where workers and volunteers can offer support to help parents develop their living skills. When planning a home visit you may need to consider;
4. Workers need to be aware that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are not able to read or write well. Be sensitive when asking questions about literacy levels and consider the way you present service information. Written information may not always be appropriate. Provide opportunities for the client to clarify their understanding of the information you are giving them.
Trust of institutions
1. The lack of trust in institutions can often mean that Aboriginal people may not approach or use services that are available; to make use of these services they may need to have a support person with them until they get to know the service.
2. When working with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples it may be useful to share personal information about yourself. e.g. Where you come from and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities you may have worked in.
3. Be sensitive when gaining information and remember that some questions may not be answered.
4. Reassure your client that the information they share with you will be confidential and will not be shared with other family members. An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person can experience shame, discrimination as well as the added burden of alienation and rejection from family and community if confidentiality is broken.
5. Within the workplace, raise worker awareness of Aboriginal culture, its history and the resulting ‘trust’ issues by supporting on-going training.
6. Service providers need to make services welcoming for Aboriginal people. Consider how you organize your office space to show that the Service values and welcomes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples eg. Aboriginal flag, artwork, and posters.
7. Service providers need to foster genuine relationships with Aboriginal organisations. Consider inviting representatives from Aboriginal organizations to participate in your Service planning days and other relevant meetings.
8. Talk to local Aboriginal organisations about days of significance to them. Ask how you can support them by having these days recognised and acknowledged.