AIFS seminar series presentation

10:00 am - 11:15 am, Tuesday 11 June 2013, AIFS Seminar Room, Level 20, 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne

An introduction to Australian Indigenous psychology
Implications for responding to violence in Aboriginal communities

Victoria Hovane

Listen to the presentation audio (MP3 11.1 MB) | Read audio transcript

Victoria (Vickie) Hovane is an Aboriginal woman from Broome in the Kimberley region of WA. She has family links to the Yinjibarndi group in the Pilbara and the Kitja and Goondiyandi groups of the Kimberley. She holds a First Class Honours Degree in psychology and is nearing completion of a PhD (Forensic Psychology) to inform a cultural dimension in current psychological theories of sexual offending. She is a current sitting member of the Advisory Panel to the WA FDV Death Review Committee, the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA) Reference Group, and an interim Steering Committee member of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association.

Vickie is an experienced researcher and practitioner having been involved in a number of work settings, research projects and advisory roles, including working with victims and offenders, and being involved in research with offenders (DUCO Project, development of Indigenous Risk Assessment tool, establishing norms for violent offender populations using the STATIC-99); the WA Aboriginal Healing Project; the Violence Against Women Advisory Group for the National Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children; Evaluation of the Kalgoorlie Community Court; the Kimberley Diocese Child Protection Research Project; and the Evaluation of the Cape York Welfare Reforms:  Family Responsibilities Commission. She has also recently participated in expert roundtables on Early Childhood, Cultural Models & Traditional Healing, and Mental Health, to inform the development of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.

Vickie provides annual lectures to post-graduate psychology students on Aboriginal cultural values, principles and working effectively with Aboriginal people in relation to mental health issues.  She has conducted training on suicide prevention in Aboriginal communities, and training for non-Aboriginal mental health professionals throughout WA, in QLD, the ACT and NSW on working respectfully with Aboriginal people. She was recently an invited Keynote Speaker at the 2012 Indigenous Psychologies: Our Past, Present and Future Conference hosted by University of Auckland, NZ.


Indigenous psychology is an emerging field. It is described as attempting to extend general western psychology to accommodate consideration of the psychologies of culturally diverse peoples who live within culturally diverse settings.

The need for such reorienting of psychology reflects broader calls for culturally relevant frameworks that better meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in the context of the experiences of colonisation and the imposition of a foreign culture on the First Nations peoples of Australia.

This seminar will provide an introduction to the concept of an Australian Indigenous Psychology that is grounded in Aboriginal Law, its core values, principles and practises. A Social & Emotional Wellbeing Framework (SEWB) and Aboriginal Survival Model of Reciprocity will be used to describe the connections between culture, and mental health and wellbeing amongst Indigenous Australians.

Particular emphasis will be placed on how this approach may be used to inform policy and practice in responding to violence including child sexual abuse and FDV in Aboriginal communities.

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