Family Violence Services (for both women and men)

Pormpuraaw Healing Centre (Qld)

What is it?

Pormpur Paanth is an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation providing a range of community development and family wellbeing services to residents of Pormpuraaw in Queensland's Western Cape York Peninsula. The Pormpur Paanth Aboriginal Corporation's primary focus is on family violence and on how both local and outreach services impact upon remote communities. It provides child care services, child safety services, a women's shelter, and various capacity-building and wellbeing programs.

The Healing Centre delivers:

  • A Family Wellbeing Program for men, women, youth and elders in collaboration with both local and outreach services
  • A counselling service for residents of Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama and Lockhart River (neighbouring Aboriginal communities).
  • A men's group
  • An alcohol rehabilitation centre
  • Referrals to the Local Justice Group, police, courts and clinics, and council and outreach services such as health services, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Services, psychology services, the Queensland Department of Corrective Services and Youth Justice Service Centres.

Background to development

The Pormpuraaw Healing Centre was established in 2004 after Pormpuraaw imposed its own alcohol restrictions in 2003. It was established to address community issues such as family violence and substance abuse.

Based on the model established at Pormpuraaw, four Wellbeing Centres were established in Aboriginal communities in Far North Queensland in 2008, as part of the Cape York Welfare Reform Trial in Aurukun, Mossman Gorge, Hope Vale and Coen.  The Wellbeing Centres are designed to meet the social and emotional wellbeing needs of people affected by or involved in drug and alcohol misuse and related family and domestic violence issues. They provide a range of drug and alcohol, mental health, domestic violence, grief and loss and general counselling services. Families and individuals who aren't meeting ‘parental and community responsibilities' are referred to the facilities by the Families Responsibilities Commission, set up as part of the Cape York Reform trial.  The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland) has been contracted to set up and run the Wellbeing Centres.

Links to further information

Pormpuraaw Community Justice Rehabilitation Centre Prospectus (2009


Family Wellbeing Counselling Training Certificates II and III (National)

What is it?

The Family Wellbeing Training Course was conceptualised as providing Aboriginal people with the skills required for early intervention in family violence. It is a strength-based program which looks at building skills and resilience, rather than just focusing on family violence. 

Graduates receive a Certificate II or III in Family Wellbeing Counselling, which is a nationally recognised qualification. Completion of a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment allows graduates to teach the course themselves.

Background to Development

The Family Wellbeing Counselling Training was developed in 1993 by a process of consultation with Aboriginal people in the Riverland, SA, many of whom were members of the Stolen Generations. During the consultation process, people described the skills they had used to deal with social and emotional wellbeing issues, such as grief and loss, family violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse.

People gave their knowledge generously and asked that it be put into a training course so they could complete the training themselves and be officially recognised as having a counselling qualification.  A Technical Group was formed for this purpose to ensure that cultural protocols were followed correctly.

Built from people's stories of survival, Family Wellbeing Counselling Training seeks to empower people to take greater control over the conditions influencing their lives through an integrated process of building confidence and optimism, personal values, and life and counselling skills in a supportive group environment.

The Family Wellbeing Counselling Training has resonated with many communities around the country and has been delivered to a wide range of participants over 15 years.  Recently, the SA TAFE Family Wellbeing Counselling training has been incorporated into a broader 'Rekindling Family Relationships Program' in the Riverland in SA where it is still being delivered by its founder Jane Nelson. 

Why is this promising practice?

The Family Wellbeing Program takes a flexible approach to working with communities. Although now rolled-out nationally, it is not 'one size fits all' and there is sensitivity to individual community needs. Cultural protocols and obligations play a major role in how communities are engaged. There is time to establish trust and establish good communication. Further information about the Family Wellbeing Program is available here.

Links to further information:

The Certificates II & III in Family Wellbeing Counselling are available through the TAFE system in the following states and territories:

South Australia:

TAFE: Adelaide, Berri, Ceduna - 

Northern Territory:

Alice Springs: Tangentyere Council

Batchelor College


Rekindling the Spirit (NSW)

What is it?

Rekindling the Spirit is a community organisation run by Aboriginal people that supports Indigenous men and women to find their own path of empowerment through spiritual, emotional, sexual and physical healing. The organisation provides programs and support for Aboriginal families affected by abuse in the Lismore region of New South Wales. Services include counselling (individual, couple and family), men's group, women's group, support for families with children (at home and in groups), camps/retreats, Bringing Them Home counselling, Stolen Generations advocacy and support, crisis response, and support for Aboriginal people looking for work.                   

Aboriginal community-based offenders from Lismore and Tabulam with family violence issues are supported to participate in the Rekindling the Spirit program.  Rekindling the Spirit assists family violence perpetrators to take responsibility for their offending and provides an opportunity for behaviour change. Rekindling the Spirit also provides a range of support services for Aboriginal families who are victims of violence. The program expanded during 2004 to 2008 with the development of a parallel program for female perpetrators and their families. 

The vision of Rekindling the Spirit is "a world where Aboriginal Communities are free from social injustice, substance misuse, family violence and child abuse".

Background to Development

Greg Telford established Rekindling the Spirit in 1998 following his own personal experience of similar problems to those addressed by the organisation.The program was developed to provide education on the vital role that Aboriginal men have in raising their children, and to provide support programs for young people affected by, or at risk of, physical, emotional or substance abuse. The Rekindling the Spirit Project received a National Child Abuse Prevention award in 2001.

Links to further information