On Wednesday 2 March WACOSS and the Department of Communities co-hosted a webinar aimed at assisting regional service providers prepare for living and working with COVID-19. The slides from the presenters are uploaded for your benefit below:
These region-specific resources are handy for residents to keep on hand in the event that there is a COVID-19 outbreak that significantly impacts the Pilbara.
The City of Albany has adapted and published their own COVID-19 care plans.
SFV recently completed a Lotterywest-funded project considering the impact of COVID-19 on access to family violence services during the initial COVID-19 lockdown and the subsequent pandemic environment. One of the key findings was that public information, as well as service provider information focused on health and hygiene information, as well as information on service restrictions, etc. Very little information was found on websites regarding being safe in the home during a lockdown or quarantine.
More generally, although some services include a plan for addressing family and domestic violence within their COVID-19 response plan, unfortunately many don’t. We strongly advocate that all community services consider whether any changes or reduction to their service delivery will impact on the safety and wellbeing of adult and child victim-survivors, or whether it might impact on informal accountability mechanisms that support men not to use violence.
To address this, SFV have created several resources, which are available on our website for agencies to use:
Please note that resources have been developed to be Kimberley-specific, as per the project funding. The brochures use the Blurred Borders resource from Legal Aid, and are designed to be culturally safe for First Nations clients. The brochures meet a very specific need, which is a sensitive one, however we hope that they will be helpful for service providers to guide their work with clients to improve safety of women and children in their home during a quarantine or lockdown.
This research project was led by the University of Notre Dame with the help of a number of different organisations and individuals from the across the Kimberley.
As the lead authors state: “This paper should be required reading for all agencies which are meant to be keeping Aboriginal people as safe as possible from the continuing ravages of COVID-19.”
Really proper dangerous one, published in 2022, highlights the fundamental failures that will continue to limit government’s ability to protect Aboriginal people in the Kimberley from future iterations of this persistent pandemic. Levels of poverty, poor health and overcrowded housing, the lack of essential infrastructure, communication failures and inadequate Aboriginal administrative and governance structures (coupled with an unwillingness to empower Aboriginal organisations), are all just as bad now as when COVID first visited.
The authors argue there is little evidence that the government has been stirred to make the investments in infrastructure and the like that will be necessary to withstand the disaster that will beset Aboriginal people in the Kimberley if the pandemic really takes hold.
While Aboriginal people across the Kimberley were largely untouched by the first wave of COVID, it was not so much by good government management as by good luck. Aboriginal communities cannot continue to rely on good luck, especially as Western Australia prepares to open its borders and as the Omicron variant presents new threats.