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Your practice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultations should help you learn about and respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, family and communities.

They should be purposeful and have meaning to your practice with families. Consultation can be far and wide. Consider how you may sensitively and confidentially consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, communities and professionals.

The following questions will help you plan your consultation about AOD use:

  • What is the history of alcohol or drug use in this community? Family?
  • What pain and suffering has the community or family recently experienced? (Think about children who may have recently been taken from the community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who may have been placed off land and country or in non-Indigenous placements, or other government intervention.)
  • What are the traditional ways of healing and recovery that may be important to this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family and community? How can I support that here with their AOD recovery?
  • How do I talk about AOD use with women, men and children? What are the rules I need to know about? What words should I call alcohol or drugs? Should I use the same names Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use or would this be offensive?
  • How should I explain the way AOD use is hurting them and their child?
  • How can I be most useful to this family in helping them reduce risks from AOD use and increase safety for children?
  • How can Elders, leaders and community help this family?
  • What Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD services, workers and treatment programs are available? What can they tell us about engaging and working with this family? How can they help the parents and family heal and recover? What steps would need to be taken to connect the family with them? What is the best way to talk with the family about this option?

Check your biases and assumptions

Check your bias and assumptions about AOD use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Areas of bias or assumption Reflect on
Cultural differences

How would you describe your own culture and traditions?

What points of connection and difference do you have between your own culture and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures?

What does this mean for how you understand the life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the past and today?

How can you be open in your own mind when hearing things that don’t easily fit with your own worldview about parenting, AOD use or healing and recovery options?

How can you support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through your work with them about AOD use?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities who use alcohol or drugs

What have you seen in the media about alcohol and drug use amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities?

How did this make you think and feel?

What are your thoughts on controlled and prohibited alcohol use in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

What are your perceptions of the level of alcohol and drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities?

AOD use as a response to oppression, violence and social injustice

What do you think about intergenerational trauma and the way it impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities today?

Why do you think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use AOD in a harmful way?

What do you think and feel about when someone says AOD use is a response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ past and ongoing pain and suffering?

How do these thoughts and feelings help or hinder your work to reduce risks of problematic AOD use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families?

How does knowing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history influence your work?

 

Note

AOD practice kit: Working with parents and Working with young people sections

Culturally capable behaviours

Working with and across difference part of the Safe Care and Connection kit

Version history

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