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Ochre Ribbon Day and the impact of violence on children and young people

This morning I was privileged to speak at the Aboriginal Family law Service’s Ochre Ribbon Day morning tea at Crown Perth.

The Ochre Ribbon Day campaign has been running since 2015 in order to raise awareness about violence affecting Aboriginal communities and spread the message that it needs to stop.

Part of my role as Commissioner for Children and Young People is to give priority to, and have special regard for, the interests and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

My recent consultation with young people in contact with the youth justice system involved a significant number of Aboriginal young people.

Problems at home – mainly involving family conflict and violence – was one of the key issues these young people identified as a factor that led to their involvement in crime.

These young people spoke of having to steal to survive after escaping violent homes, and of having no refuge from violence within their families.

This is clearly an issue we need to better understand and overcome if we want to create a better future for Aboriginal children.

We must have conversations with Aboriginal children and young people on this issue and use what they say to help reduce violence in homes and communites.

I would like to thank the Aboriginal Family law Service for the generous invitation and the opportunity to speak on this important issue.