The Indigenous Men’s Forum was held in Darwin on 8 and 9 October 2013. Convened by CatholicCare NT at the request of the Hon. Adam Giles, MLA, Chief Minister for the Northern Territory, the Forum followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding earlier in September in an effort to bring males together to discuss strategies for reducing family violence and child abuse.
The Chief wanted to hear directly from Indigenous men about the issues facing their communities. His Government recently established the Office of Men’s Policy to start addressing issues affecting males and the broader community.
Participants came from across the Territory and were present as Aboriginal men, not as representatives of any specific organisation, or community group, but united in their wish to stop family violence and seeing the need to develop strong supports for Aboriginal men.
The first day of the Forum was held at CatholicCare NT. Guest speakers included Dr Howard Bath, the Children’s Commissioner, Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner, and representatives from the Department of Community Services, and Northern Territory Police. Speakers discussed a range of topics, talked about impacts of family violence and child abuse across the Northern Territory, and how important it is for men to play a strong protective role within family and community.
The Forum focussed on the need for representation and support of Aboriginal males – how this might be developed and encouraged, and how best to engage with government and services. Day two of the Indigenous Men’s Forum was held at Parliament House.
The Forum welcomed the Chief Minister’s support and stressed the need to continue engaging with men, agreeing that there are many Aboriginal males who want for safe, secure and harmonious communities and continued development of support strategies for men, by men.