This seminar presents the findings from three years of doctoral research. The multidisciplinary research draws on criminology and applied anthropology to develop an intercultural concept of Indigenous community safety. The research fieldwork was undertaken in 2016 and includes 19 semi-structured interviews and 55 questionnaires in a remote Arnhem Land community. This concept of Indigenous community safety: 1) embraces the strength based elements of kinship, dreaming and ceremonies 2) identifies neighbourhood problems which need to be addressed for the community to improve safety and wellbeing 3) develops a solution orientated approach for changing unsafe behaviours.
This seminar aims to engage key government and non-government stakeholders in a dialogue about the practicalities of this community safety model. Findings suggest that neighbourhood problems - including gambling, interpersonal violence, substance misuse and youth delinquency - pose considerable challenges for personal safety. Flow on effects of these neighbourhood problems cause social stress and compromise employment and educational opportunities. The data suggests that strategies for addressing these challenges need to build on Kunwinjku values as the foundation for enabling healthy, respectful relationships. Strength-based solutions are required to engage elders and young people in a process of transgenerational learning according to the practices of Bininj law.
Simone Georg is currently a PhD scholar at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. In the past three years, she has presented at several international and local conferences in the fields of criminology, public policy and Indigenous studies. Prior to undertaking a PhD, Simone worked in various policy roles across the Australian Public Service including in Indigenous Affairs, remote service delivery and housing research.