Author Archives: Tracey O’Driscoll

Facing Father’s Day as a separated parent – 1st September 2017

Some Thoughts for Separated Dads on Father’s Day.

Regardless of your individual circumstances, significant days such as Father’s Day can be difficult for separated dads.  Our feelings and reactions as a dad who may not see his children, or who may have to share the care of his children with their mother, on Father’s Day can quickly become negative if we let them.  A little preparation prior to Father’s Day can make a big difference in helping separated dads not only get through the day but in enjoying it as well.

So, depending on your circumstances this Father’s Day, here are a few tips in helping to plan for the day.


For those dads who may not be able to see their kids on Father’s Day you may consider the following:

  • Prepare yourself mentally – a major part of being without your kids on Father’s Day and getting through it has to do with preparation.  As far as you can, predict what thoughts and feelings you may have on Father’s Day and prepare an ‘escape route’ if that is useful.  This can take the form of planning to be busy with enjoyable activities on the day – think about engaging distracting activities you could plan and fill your day with those.
  • If possible plan to telephone or Skype your kids and plan this with the kids beforehand so they are prepared.  Depending on ages of your kids and their interests there are a range of activities and games that can be shared over Skype and similar technologies.  Again, depending on their ages, you may plan a story to tell them or prepare a list of things to talk about – they will appreciate your special interest in them and what’s happening in their lives.
  • Write a special Father’s Day letter or email to your kids. Tell them how much you love them and about your best memories with them. Talk about your hopes for the future for them and how committed you are to your relationship with them.  Even though you can’t be together, you can still share your feelings with them.  If you have more than one child write to each individually so that they can feel special.

fathers day

 If you will see your kids part of the day the following may help:

  • Have a plan for the day – plan for the time with the kids as well as for the time without them.  For the time with the kids, plan activities that will allow you maximum interaction to make the most of any limited time you have: don’t just sit down in front of the tv or go to a movie.  For that part of the day when you are not with the kids, plan some things to do on your own that are enjoyable and distracting.

Whatever your situation if you are a separated father on Father’s Day, it can take an emotional and mental toll so remember:

  • Plan ahead – this is by far the most important thing a dad can do to make sure you get the most of your time with the kids.  Alternately, planning the day if you won’t be seeing your kids will give you some strategies to ‘get through it’ in good shape.
  • Use technology where you can to help you have contact with your kids on Father’s Day and other days as well.

And don’t forget to:

  • Listen to your self-talk – be alert to signs of self-pity or hopelessness and be prepared to act on these signals to change the self-talk
  • Be prepared to talk to others about your concerns, including speaking with a professional (counsellor or psychologist) if you feel that would be of benefit
  • Be clear about where you have choices and where you don’t, and don’t get stuck ruminating over things you can’t change
  • Commit to looking after yourself – both on Father’s Day and for the longer-term
  • Think about getting fit – being physically fit can really help how we think and feel about things
  • Go easy on the alcohol and/or drugs – they are not the answer
  • Eat well – maintaining a healthy diet benefits us both physically and mentally
  • And remember to speak with your GP if you have concerns about your physical or mental health

Our Languages Matter – Staff NAIDOC Exhibition in Darwin 7th July 2017

On Friday 7th July 2017, Relationships Australia Northern Territory Darwin Aboriginal and Islander Cultural Advisers (AICAs) – Kathy, Eddie, Valarie, Jeff & Ruth – created an exhibition entitled Our Languages Matter for Darwin staff in the Barramundi Room to mark NAIDOC week.

This exhibition allowed the AICAs to share different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories and music, as well as their culture with staff members.


Our Languages Matter featured Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island artefacts including baskets woven from Pandanus from Arnhem land.

These baskets are made when young pandanus leaves are harvested and sliced into fine strips. This is followed by a colouring process, in which the strips are placed in drums of bush dyes, roots and leaves from different plants sourced in the area. Dye is extracted through bashing and crushing techniques, and then added to the water with the pandanus to create vivid colour. After dying, the strips must hang and dried out for at least three to four hours before preparing it to start the weaving process.  These strips are then woven into intricate baskets and mats or rolled into ropes for other designs.

Dilli bags are prepared slightly differently however.  Vines from Banyan trees are gathered and rolled into long thin threads and woven to make the bags. These bags would have been used to carry items for everyday use or for long journeys depending on the size. Sometimes the same colouring as baskets is used.


Coral and turtles, which represented Torres Strait culture, were also featured. The Torres Strait Islands have the world’s largest population of green, hawksbill and flatback turtles.


Murray Island is a small island, to the east of the Torres Strait, just north of the Great Barrier Reef and is where Eddie Mabo was born.

The contribution of Eddie Mabo in campaigning for Indigenous land rights and for his role in a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia which overturned the legal doctrine of terra nullius (“nobody’s land”) which characterised Australian law with regard to land and title was also recognised.


The exhibition also featured information about The Barunga Statement. This statement of national Aboriginal political objectives issued to the federal government in June 1988. Written on bark and presented to Prime Minister RJL Hawke at that year’s Barunga festival, it called for Aboriginal self-management, a national system of land rights, compensation for loss of lands, respect for Aboriginal identity, an end to discrimination, and the granting of full civil, economic, social and cultural rights.


Another display featured spears from the Tiwi Islands. These spears were designed for close combat and would be thrusted into the enemy and this twisted and pulled out. Female spears are smooth on one side and serrated on the other. The male spears are serrated on both sides. Thankfully, these days, the spears are used for art.


Relationships Australia NT staff who visited the exhibition heard a mix of both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal music.

The exhibition also featured a collection of books including Stan Grant’s book, Talking to my Country, a powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity.  Another book on display was Why Warriors Lie Down and Die. This book gives readers an understanding of why the Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land face the greatest crisis in health and education since European contact.

A book on the history of the Kahlin Compound in Darwin and the experiences of the children who grew up there was also on display


Feedback from the staff was overwhelmingly positive with the majority of visitors saying how much they enjoyed it and how sorry they were that the exhibition was on display for such a short time.


9th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations – Feb 13th 2017

A genetic study has found that Australia has the oldest living culture in the world passed down from generation to generation for the past 40,000, confirming they may have the oldest continuous culture on the planet.

By 1911, every mainland State and Territory had introduced protection policies that subjected Indigenous people to near-total control and denied them basic human rights such as freedom of movement and labour, custody of their children, and control over their personal property.

Between 1910 and 1970 many children were forcibly taken from their families when the Australian Government initiated the removal of Aboriginal children under these protection policies. These children were taught to reject their heritage and forced to adopt the non-indigenous culture. Their names were changed and they were forbidden to speak their traditional language.

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 13: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Rhonda Randall and Sharon Mumbler stand proud with their "Sorry" scarf as Kevin Rudd's Broadcast apology to Aboriginal Peoples of Australia at Penrith Council on February 13, 2008 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by David Hill/Newspix/Getty Images)

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 13: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Rhonda Randall and Sharon Mumbler stand proud with their “Sorry” scarf as Kevin Rudd’s Broadcast apology to Aboriginal Peoples of Australia at Penrith Council on February 13, 2008 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by David Hill/Newspix/Getty Images)

Almost every Aboriginal family has been affected by the forcible removal of one or more children across generations. For many Aboriginal people; their family and community are still coming to terms with the trauma which has caused suffering, loss and heartache.

On the 13th February 2008, Australia’s then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tabled a motion in parliament to apologise to the Indigenous people of Australia and in particular to the Stolen Generations for these laws and policies.


The apology included a proposal of “closing the gap” between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians over a range of issues including life expectancy, education and economic opportunities.

“We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendant and for their families left behind”

aboriginal flag




Does the brain hold the key to violence prevention? A reflection for White Ribbon Day by Lucy Van Sambeek. 25th November 2016

White Ribbon Day is all about the prevention of men’s violence against women. Men are key to this prevention project. I see men standing up to say enough is enough. I see men linking arms in solidarity. And I hear of men starting to question the actions of others which denigrate women in public. This is fantastic and necessary. Men must be part of the solution. But the reality is that there are still women and children being exposed to violence at this very moment.
I dream for the day there is no violence. But in the meantime what can we do to prevent the cycle of violence being passed on to the next generation?

If we are talking about real prevention then it begins in conception. It begins in the first 1000 days of the child’s life when the brain is establishing the pathways of connection for life. This is the most critical time in development when a baby growing up in a nurturing, caring, responsive relationship is creating the hardware for a healthy, stable and secure life. It is also the same critical time that a child in a violent family with unsafe or unreliable relationships comes to know what it is like to live with toxic stress.

White Ribbon hand

Science now confirms that events and experiences in the first 3 years is a reliable predictor of the child’s future. Exposure to violence in early childhood increases the risks of the child later dropping out of school, going to jail, turning to alcohol or drugs and even killing themselves.
There is a lot on the line. And to think if we could just keep children safe from violence, they might have the best possible chance of growing up into strong and healthy adults?

This is precisely the kind of work that the Healing Our Children project aims to do. Over the past 16 months HOC has been working on the Tiwi Islands working with groups of women who are pregnant or care for children, who have been exposed to or at risk of witnessing violence. Our group program aims to invite women into a safe and non-shaming conversation about the effects of trauma on children, think about ways they can actively protect children if violent conflict was to occur and explore healing ways to promote recovery, from a neurological and relationship perspective.

white ribbon

It is inside the human brain that the best prevention work can be done and where sometimes irreversible damage can be prevented.

By all means, let’s support and encourage men to continue speaking out about violence against women. Meanwhile, let’s also think of the children. We can stop the cycle by protecting our unborn children and babies from ever knowing what it’s like to feel toxic stress from violence.

For more information about Healing Our Children go to

Thoughts on making your children’s needs a priority – September 2016

A concern that often raises its head above others is when parents, step-parents and de facto partners don’t make the needs of their own children, and the children in the new relationship, a priority. The resulting emotional and physical neglect impacts severely on the child’s ability to build a true sense of identity.

blog about kids needs 2

With the high incidence of separation and engagement in new relationships, the new partners often make each other and their new relationship a priority rather than prioritising the needs of the children. Often the complexity of the changing relationships and roles results in emotional confusion for the children involved and these internal conflicts often manifest as behavioural issues.

blog about kids needs

In our work we often observe the following:

  • A new partner competing with the children for attention.
  • Conflict in the new relationship because of the focus by one parent on the needs of the children
  • Financial conflict because of the financial obligations to children of previous relationships
  • Conflict with former partners because of engagement in a new relationship.
  • Children being used by both the separated parties and the new partner as a way to manipulate each other.
  • An ongoing conflict between the separated parents where the children are used as an excuse to punish each other.
  • One parent using any excuse to make the other party’s parenting style appear wrong whilst looking to gain a custodial advantage over that parent.

Some of the needs to focus on to support children to build a healthy sense of who they are:-

  •  Safety: Both a physical and emotional.
  • Learning support: To build the ability to engage in learning.
  • Trusting relationships: Love and connection that is emotionally safe.
  • Predictability: Patterns and routines that are stable and predictable where transitions         are well  managed.

Each child is a unique and valuable developing human being. You teach them their worth in the mirror of your relationship with them. They deserve the best.

Are you doing that?

Family Relationship Centre marks 10 years in the NT

cake cutting

A mediation service designed to assist families going through separation has marked ten years in the Northern Territory. Set up as one of the first fifteen Family Relationship Centres in Australia, the Darwin-based service has been run by Relationships Australia NT since it was established by the Australian Government following changes in the Family Law Act in 2006.

Group shot 3 yes

These changes meant that from July 2007 onwards, family dispute resolution was compulsory in all suitable cases prior to applying to the courts for orders. The development of engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients has been extremely important and Northern Territory staff have lead the way with research and modelling for best practice in mediation with Aboriginal families. Relationships Australia marked the tenth anniversary of the Darwin Family Relationship centre with a special lunch on Monday 29th August, featuring guest presenter acclaimed clinical child psychologist, family therapist and research consultant Professor Jennifer McIntosh.

Jenn Speaking good one

Professor McIntosh outlined the latest research on divorce and its impact on children in her presentation ‘Children’s Outcomes in conflicted Family Separation and Pathways of Prevention: the Current Evidence’ This presentation outlined current research on the complex relationships between divorce and conflict exposures in childhood, and life-course outcomes, and emphasised the place for timely intervention in supporting parental focus and responsive co-parenting through child inclusive practice.

frc 10 year anniversary 005


Professor McIntosh also held a one day Young Children in Divorce & Separation workshop with child-inclusive teams from Relationships Australia NT and Anglicare Resolve. This program, developed by Professor McIntosh and Children Beyond Dispute, provides information about early development and targets the important developmental considerations for separated parents. It also provides insights into the complexities for children of living in family conflict and separation, the range of challenges these children carry with them into the learning environment and opportunities for parents in accompanying the child through the separation journey.

frc 10 year anniversary 024

Andrew Harkin’s Body Centred Trauma Work – September 2016

Andrew Harkin is a clear thinking practitioner with decades of experience as a GP and psychotherapist in Ireland, Europe and America. He now works at a clinic in Western Australia. He is devoted to body centred practice, a bottom up collection of practices that can be used to complement existing top down therapies to support integration for clients who experience hyper or hypo arousal. Andrew is committed to helping clients learn more about their symptoms and use body work to help shift trauma. He works to help them expand their window of tolerance and increase the quality of their daily lived experience.

Andrew Harkin pictured here with RANT CEO, Marie Morrison

Andrew and Marie

He presented a 3 day training Darwin in early March 2016 Working with Trauma – An Advanced Therapeutic Workshop for Counsellors. On the first day Andrew covered the theoretical frameworks, understandings on which we could then base some more practice centred ideas. He is a unique practitioner in that he has the education, experience, and knowledge to scientifically prove why and how previously thought ‘alternative’ therapies including tapping, meditation and mindfulness tangibly help clients. He skilfully lead us through exercises we could practice first for ourselves, then with our clients.

As a body centred trauma practitioner, his focus is on symptoms and evidence. His favourite question is How do you know that? He then investigates further…What in your body tells you? Where exactly do you feel it? How does it feel? What would you describe it as? Pain, emptiness, pressure? Heavy or light? dark or bright? Round or square? Smooth or rough? In this way, he helps the client very specifically describe the sensation in the body where the trauma is being held. This awareness helps the body begin to know how to heal itself. The body work can help the client to start to integrate the traumatic experience without having to talk about the trauma itself.

Andrew is a charismatic and dynamic presenter with a humour all his own, from fire fighting stories to bird metaphors. Clinical staff attending said the training was “inspirational” and exceeded their expectations. Participants said they enjoyed the opportunity to look at trauma through a body centred lens. Useful learning included the biology of trauma, symptom tracking, mindfulness, experiential exercises and the window of tolerance as a tool for work with clients. One participant noted

“I will pay more attention to what is happening in my body as well as the body in front of me in the counselling room.”

In addition to relevant theory, the training was full of practical tips and suggestions for ways to work with clients living with the effects of trauma. Clinical staff spoke of deep insights and a fresh understanding of the value of body work. Many expressed their enthusiasm for Andrew to come back to present phase 2 work for us. Bringing Andrew to Darwin to share his knowledge with us was a valuable exercise and we would recommend Andrew Harkin to any other Relationships Australia.

Darwin staff cultural tour August 2016

The Aboriginal and Islander Cultural Advisors (AICA’s) from RA NT lead the Darwin staff on a cultural tour of Darwin which included places of importance to the Larkaia People, the traditional owners of Darwin.

’The aim of this tour was to educate non Aboriginal staff about the intergenerational trauma experienced by Aboriginal clients by taking them to see places like the old Kahlin compound & site of the Retta Dixon home. We wanted the staff to feel and see these places and to remember these stories – to give staff an understanding of how angry, sad and frustrated the residents would have felt – and to help staff engage with Aboriginal clients on a deeper level‘’ – Valarie Tambling, AICA.

The first stop was Police Paddock. It is now the site of Stuart Park Primary School. The AICAs told the staff about how in the years before the Second World War, this site was used to home many of the Immigrants who had built the railway in the early days of Darwin. Police Paddock was also used to home married Aboriginal families and the conditions were harsh. There was no electricity or sewage and the huts were built from bush timber and sheets of iron. No legal right or title to the land was given to Aboriginal people living in Police Paddock

The second stop was Silas Roberts Hostel for Aboriginal people on Packard Street is named after a man who was highly respected by both cultures. Silas was a missionary-educated man from Ngukurr who was the first Aboriginal person to be made Justice of the Peace, and Special Magistrate. In 1974, He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in recognition of his services to the welfare of Aboriginal people as well as being elected as the first Chairman of the Northern Land Council – which is the building we are currently working in, 43 Cavenagh Street! Silas was known for always putting up people in his house and giving support, guidance and cultural advice to them.

Silas Roberts

(The Yirrkala Bark Petitions being viewed at Parliament House by Silas Roberts (on the left) then Chairman of the Northern Land Council and Galarrwuy Yunupingu (on the right) then Manager of the Northern Land Council in1976)

The next stop was the Darwin Oval. The Oval is now the open space along the water’s edge on the esplanade, but right up to the 1950’s it was one of the most important recreational areas for Aboriginal people in Darwin. At that time in the NT, AFL was the only sport at the time where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people could play against each other. AFL was a source of pride for Aboriginal men, who were very talented on the pitch and could showcase their skills in front of their families and friends. In those days, footy was a way for Aboriginal men to release their frustrations towards the white men who they felt were their tormentors off the pitch

darwin oval

We then visited the site of the Retta Dixon Home. In the 1930’s a missionary couple founded the Retta Dixon Home. It was home to part-Aboriginal children, single mothers, and some adult women. Many of the children there had been forcefully taken from their Aboriginal mothers. The government at the time had a policy of assimilation meaning that ‘’half-caste’’ children would learn to be white. There has been a Royal Commission into the sexual and physical abuse which was carried out by the staff towards the residents of Retta Dixon.

Pictured below in the 1930’sRetta Dixon in the 1930s

The Site of the Retta Dixon home today:Retta Dixon today

Laying flowers

The next stop was the Gurrambai trail in Rapid Creek. Gurrambai is the Larkaia word for elbow, which is the shape of the creek’s mouth. It’s an important place for the Larakia people with two sacred Baynan trees as well as Old Man Rock who sits out at sea – just north of Rapid Creek. Larakia people believe that if Old Man Rock is disturbed it will cause a natural disaster.

Eddie McKenzie (AICA) explained that Gurrambai has been a source of water for thousands of years and known as a good hunting and fishing area for Aboriginal people. In the late 1800’s the early missions used the creek for irrigation and since the arrival of Europeans in the 1930’s, it has been a popular spot for picnics and swimming.


After lunch, the AICA’s had prepared a number of group activities for the staff to complete. We designed these activities to see what information had been retained by the staff and how they could use it to better communicate and engage with Aboriginal clients. The staff were split up into groups and given a question to think about so for example ‘’What are some of the important things to be aware of when speaking with an Aboriginal client’’ The groups were asked to present their answers to the whole group at the end. That was the end of our tour.

end games

‘’I had a wonderful day, I now know so much more about Darwin’s history and most importantly – how many of these changes have affected our Aboriginal people – both in the past and in the present. I can’t thank the AICA’s enough for a great and meaningful excursion! Thank you!’ – Janet Langley, Children’s Counsellor when asked for feedback on the cultural tour.

Neighbour Day (March 24th 2016)

When Neighbour Day was founded by Andrew Heslop in Melbourne back in March 2003, who would have thought that his message would take on such momentum and that by 2016 a community group in Alice Springs, 1000s of kilometres away, would embrace his inspiration and encourage their own community to take the message even further.

The concept for Neighbour Day was developed by Andrew Heslop after the remains of an elderly woman, Mrs Elsie Brown, were found inside her suburban home.

Mrs Brown had been dead for two years – forgotten by her neighbours, her friends and her family. While Andrew did not know Mrs Brown he was appalled by the apparent ease in which the world had left her behind. Neighbours had watched piles of mail, store catalogues and newspapers build up at her front door but they did nothing.

Thirteen years later, Relationship Australia has assumed responsibility for the day and community groups around Australia have developed an annual celebration to build better relationships with the people who live around us, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

Relationship Australia NT recently received this letter from a community group in Alice Springs reporting on their Neighbour Day event – congratulations and thank you for the amazing contribution you have made in spreading the Neighbour Day message.

“On Sunday evening, on the 20th March, at the Lyndavale Park in Larapinta, a combined Harmony Day/Neighbour Day event was held, where over 110 local Larapinta residents attended.

Harmony Day, which falls on the 21st of March, celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity, and is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.  Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community, bringing together the people next door, across the street or on the next farm for a cuppa or a BBQ, and is celebrated on the last Sunday of March each year.

The Larapinta event was a ‘free’ fun filled family event with games and activities and a chance for locals to connect on a new level.  There was also an opportunity to be involved in tree planting, with a special thanks to go to the Alice Springs Town Council for donating 20 trees, and doing all of the preparation work for the planting, and having the park looking in great condition for the event.

People from all ages and walks of life attended. There was great food from a range of cultures shared, including a BBQ (with thanks to the Larapinta IGA for their support with this). Many people met for the first time, and new friendships have begun. There is interest in doing further events this year as well a desire by a number of people to see a community garden developed in Larapinta.

The event was the result of a combined volunteer effort, but did not require planning on a huge scale, nor did our event require major resources or funding. Such events can be as simple as a bringing a chair and a thermos for a morning tea; or contributing some food towards a BBQ.

Whatever shape an event takes, they are well worth it – as these events help break down barriers and build connections between people, thus contributing towards a sense of belonging and community.

The official date for the celebration of National Neighbour Day is this coming Easter Sunday, the 27th of March, but a Neighbour Day event can be held on any day. Several further events in Alice Springs will be occurring over the coming weeks, and there is still time for more events to take place.

We encourage Alice Springs residents to think about whether they can get involved with an existing event planned for their neighbourhood, or to plan an event if there isn’t one already. We encourage you to talk to some neighbours to work with you, so you don’t have to plan it all on your own.

There is still plenty of time to plan for, or register an event. Visit where there are many resources to assist you.”

‘The community you want starts at your front door’.

Sarah Carmody, Chris Hawke & Jonathan Pilbrow

Larapinta Locals

A Remote White Ribbon Day Reflection – by Lucy Van Sambeek. November 2015.

White Ribbon Day was celebrated one month earlier in Wurrumiyanga, maybe it has something to do with the chances of finer weather than November, when the rains start bucketing down on the Tiwi Islands. The morning began with a brisk one kilometre walk from the new shop at one end of town to the beach park at the other. Contingents of Strong Men chanting ‘no more violence’ in Tiwi language competed with the pleas of students from Xavier College seeking peace, calm and togetherness for the community.

RANT march with banner

Like a tsunami gathering pace down the main street, the noise drew people out of their houses, and some of them even got swept up into the excitement by joining the procession. Others couldn’t be coaxed and I was left wondering what stopped them from supporting the ‘No  More’ cause?

Group shot under tree with banner

At the conclusion of the walk, there were a number of strong speakers including Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu, Charlie King of the NoMore campaign and the coach of the Tiwi Bombers Football Club, who have just finished developing their policy, outlining the clubs stance on domestic and family violence. When the men linked arms indicating their commitment to treating women with respect and Tiwi dance broke out, there were goosebumps all round.

RANT staff using resource

This gathering was an opportunity to introduce the community to the Healing Our Children (HOC) project. Together with Tiwi staff Patricia Munkara and Cynthia Portaminni, we created a yarning space in the shade of a huge tree and invited community members to explore the brand new talking tool kit –It Takes A Forest To Raise a Tree –hot off the printing press. The tool kit will be used in a new group support program next year, for women with young children who are living with or at risk of violence. Designed as an early intervention and prevention tool, it aims to reduce the number of children being exposed to violence by increasing women’s protective behaviours towards their children. RANT also promoted a series of learning workshops coming up in November, which will train volunteers in the community to be peer mentors in the HOC project.

Cynthia in the middle of something

Sadly though, even on a day like today, no-one is immune to exposure to violence. Last night, one of our very own staff members was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a female family member.

Driving home from the event, we also came upon two young men on the street fighting, one armed with a long metal pole. The rest of the community ran towards them like magnets. Unfortunately, the children were in tow, following their role models. As my heart sank, the police arrived and the crowed eventually dispersed, and then I was suddenly jolted awake by Cynthia bellowing in her strong Tiwi way at those walking away from the scene “No more violence…we’ve had enough…no more”. Those words, chorused only just hours before, were echoed again across the community in the moment when it was most needed. Small children were also heard murmuring ‘No Fighting’ as they walked home with their parents. ‘No more violence.’

It takes a forest