A recent Alice Springs based summit on preventing Indigenous child abuse convened by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Alliance (NATSICA) has detailed an effective alternative to the Federal Government’s emergency response plan.
The two day historic summit held on the 18-19th July was attended by the nation’s major Church denominations who worked together to devise an innovative and alternative program grounded in traditional Aboriginal and Islander spirituality and knowledge.
NATSICA Chief Executive Officer the Rev Shayne Blackman said that while positive Government intervention was welcome, it was just one part of a complex solution that needed to be under girded by an Indigenous spiritual element.
“Indigenous spirituality has proven to be a very powerful force for empowering Aboriginal people to take responsibility in exercising their right to address the dysfunctional nature of some communities.
“But what we are faced with is a Government ignoring the engagement of Indigenous people in the community development process which is further marred by their superficial military laced approach to the complex issue of child abuse.
“This will only serve to demonize, stereotype and further break the spirits of the Indigenous community.
“The Government needs to engage Indigenous leaders who have a demonstrated capability in this area of concern especially in the implementation of long sighted programs that affirm people, lifts their spirits and inspires them to change the future direction of their communities.
“Only then will people take ownership and responsibility for their actions and this is what the NATSICA Summit policy recommendations have reflected.
“This initially translates into providing adequate long term support for overcoming deep rooted community problems such as alcohol supply, overcrowding and inadequate housing, the high cost of nutritious foods and access to quality education as just some pressing examples.
“Child abuse can be stopped with the right measures and framework in place and I call upon the Government to be mindful and embrace the NATSICA Summit’s recommendations and then act accordingly” said Mr Blackman.
Photo : National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Alliance Chief Executive Officer the Rev Shayne Blackman