Urbis, in partnership with Karen Milward, was commissioned by Respect Victoria to undertake a research project to document the evidence base for effective Aboriginal-led family violence primary prevention initiatives in Australia and specifically Victoria. The report was prepared for the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum. Dhelk Dja connects Aboriginal community members to the Victorian Government, so that they can address family violence issues together.


  • Establish a baseline of what we know about effective primary prevention programming for Victorian Aboriginal women and families, and more broadly Australian First Nations people – what works best, in what settings and for what specific forms of violence
  • Synthesise the evidence to highlight effective and/or best practice principles or guidance for prevention of violence for Aboriginal women and families
  • Identify gaps in the evidence base or knowledge and where additional research is needed.


The research method for this project included a comprehensive desktop review of existing evidence relating to the primary prevention of family violence in First Nations communities in Australia and other comparable jurisdictions, as well as consultations with sector stakeholders to supplement the published evidence.


Evidence regarding effective prevention of Aboriginal family violence is still emerging and while there is limited documented evidence related to primary prevention of Aboriginal family violence, there is valuable prevention knowledge held within communities. There is a growing focus on knowledge translation and collaborative research to address these gaps and turn research findings into practical actions.

Common features of effective First Nations prevention approaches identified in the review include:    

  • Holistic, involving the whole family
  • Designed and delivered by the community
  • Cultural strengthening and reconnection to Aboriginal culture
  • Strengths-based
  • Engaging men and boys

Certain enablers were identified as supporting effective First Nations prevention approaches, including:

  • Long-term funding 
  • Strengthening workforce capacity 
  • Culturally safe service delivery
  • Ongoing investment in monitoring and evaluation

Our report identifies several barriers to effective prevention approaches in First Nations communities. These include challenges for communities and implementing agencies in accessing data and evidence collected through research, monitoring and evaluation conducted by non-Aboriginal people or people outside the community. They also included the ways that funding and partnerships with government or other prevention agencies were structured, such that there was inadequate attention to self-determination.

Full report linked here