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“We are so Traumatised – it’s just natural
for us now”…
Lyle Swan

In Australia Aboriginal Peoples find it very difficult to secure safe and affordable accommodation in the general rental markets,  and as a result Aboriginal Land Councils across Australia are able to provide limited housing to Aboriginal peoples who cannot access mainstream housing options.

  • Only 28% of Aboriginal families own their own home compared to 67% of all Australian families.

  • 31% of Indigenous people rely on public rental housing in comparison to 6% of the non-Aboriginal population

  • Aboriginal people are 20 times more likely to be homeless than other non-Aboriginal people.


Aboriginal Peoples find it more difficult to find employment than other non-Aboriginal people.   Issues that affect our ability to gain employment may be the fact that we may not have the educational qualifications required to apply for many jobs, or we are not comfortable in working in mainstream positions where we are at risk of discrimination, or employers not understanding our family responsibilities regarding childcare, funerals and family responsibilities.

  • The unemployment rate is 38% for Indigenous people, compared with 8.7% for the general population.

  • The average individual income for Indigenous people is 45% lower than that of  the general population.


What is transgenerational trauma ?


 As a result of discrimination experienced by Aboriginal Peoples, transgenerational trauma is only compounded further when services that are considered basic and essential to other non-Aboriginal Australians are often not available to Aboriginal Peoples.


(following statistics – Australian Bureau of Statistics)








“As Aboriginal People we deal with funeral after funeral and we don’t get chance to get on top the grief as an individual.  We still carry grief and it eats away at us and down the track causes mental health issues, but it’s our soul that is breaking”… Haley Hoolihan


Indigenous people represented one in seven people in prison (14%; ABS 1998) and one in seven deaths in prison custody (14%). In 2011, Indigenous people represented just over one in four people in prison (26%) and one in five deaths(21%). Therefore, the number of Indigenous people in prison appears to have increased at a faster rate than the number of deaths of Indigenous prisoners.

Since 1979–80, there have been 238 deaths of Indigenous persons in prison custody, representing 17 precent of all deaths to occur in this setting.

In 2010–11, there were:

  •  85 total deaths in custody (21 Indigenous persons; 25%)
  • 58 deaths in prison custody (12 Indigenous persons; 21%)
  • 26 deaths in police custody and custody-related operations (8 Indigenous persons; 31%)
  • one Indigenous death in juvenile detention.

(Deaths in custody Monitoring Report 20)

Based on the above information, healing and wellbeing programs have been identified by government as playing a major role in supporting Aboriginal Peoples to address the issues that lead to disadvantage.


Aboriginal Peoples often do not seek medical advice for many reasons, such as lack of money to attend medical appointments and inability to pay for required medication, lack of transport to attend doctor’s appointments, lack of respect from mainstream professionals, and a fear that if they are hospitalised that they may die in hospital.

  • The life expectancy for Aboriginal people is 15-20 years less than the general population
  • 30% of Aboriginal people have been diagnosed with Diabetes
  • Infant mortality rate is 3-5 times higher than that of the general population
  • General hospital admissions are 57% higher than non-Aboriginal people.


Aboriginal young people find it difficult to attain successful outcomes in our educational system.  The reason for this is that an enclosed classroom and the methods used within our education system are not conducive to our traditional ways of hands-on learning.

Another issue is the fact that many Aboriginal parents have not had good experiences when they were at school and therefore find it difficult to encourage their children to be subjected to similar negative experiences.

  • Only 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children complete schooling compared to a national average of 77%.

    • 2% of Indigenous people have tertiary degrees compared with 12% of all Australians.
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