Aboriginal women from Alice Springs Town Camps are calling on all Australians to recognise and support their efforts to make their families and communities safer.

Women from the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group (TWFSG) say they are frustrated by the increasing invisibility of Aboriginal women despite the high rates of domestic violence they face.

TWFSG co-ordinator Shirleen Campbell said women from Town Camps were tired of being overlooked and not heard by the wider community on issues such as family and domestic violence.

“Too many women continue to be hurt and killed and we are sick of it,” Ms Campbell said.

“The TWFSG has been working for more than two years to help reduce and prevent family and domestic violence.

“I know this group of strong women has done and will keep doing some great work but we are frustrated by the continued violence and the way Aboriginal women victims are sometimes ignored, especially in the media.

“We feel like we are invisible and we are sick of it.

“We decided to turn our frustration and sadness over recent violent incidents into something we hope will encourage the wider community to hear and support us.

“We are planning a Women’s Action on Tuesday July 11 in Alice Springs to highlight the Aboriginal women and children and families who are living with, injured by or dying because of violence.

“We want to honour and remember them and make sure they are seen as real people not just statistics.

“We will be marching to the court house lawns where we want to plant symbolic flowers representing all these women and to make them real and visible.

“We will then march on to Anzac Oval where support services will have stands and information and everyone can talk and remember and spend time with their kids and families.

"We are asking Alice Springs and people all around Australia to stand with us women, support our voice and hear our stories.

“Don’t let Aboriginal women experiencing domestic violence be invisible.”

The Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group would like to invite everyone in Alice Springs on July 11, 2017 to join the march. If you can’t join in person, you can show your support on the Facebook Page Tangentyere-Women Alice Springs and Twitter #standwithuswomen #istandwithyou.

June 8, 2017


One of the major Aboriginal-community controlled organisations in the Barkly says it has lost any confidence in the NT Government’s ability to govern the Territory following the fallout from this week’s 4 Corners program.
Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Mr Ross Jakamarra Williams said the Giles Government had shown it was not fit to run the Northern Territory.
“The Chief Minister has conducted himself shamefully since the horrific revelations on 4 Corners by refusing to take responsibility, shift the blame and continuing to try and demonise our children,” Mr Williams said.
“This is a Government that has shown itself to be incompetent, inhumane and disfunctional. We do not trust them to play any sort of role that involves caring for Aboriginal children.
“We call on Prime Minister Turnbull to take responsibility for children who are in detention, in the care of the Government, as we don’t trust the NT Government to not further damage these children.
“We commend the Prime Minister for moving quickly to establish the Royal Commission but ask him to make sure the current NT Government is not involved in setting the scope or Terms of Reference.
This would be a complete conflict of interest.”
Mr Jakamarra Williams said AHAC was calling for a new model of providing services to children in the NT’s juvenile justice system.
“The lock them up mindset of the current Government can’t continue.
“We have seen the harm this is causing, it’s hurting our kids and it’s hurting our community. It’s
doing nothing to make our communities safer.
“There are better ways of caring for our young people and Aboriginal community controlled
organisations must be involved in implementing these.
“There are successful program models that involve young people going bush on country, learning from elders, gaining skills and respect for themselves and others.
“These programs should be supported and dreadful places like Don Dale closed immediately.”
July 28, 2016


Tangentyere Council has called on the Royal Commission into Youth Detention to make sure they hear directly from the services and families at the front line of service delivery to Aboriginal families in the Northern Territory.

Tangentyere CEO Walter Shaw said the voices of people with direct experience of the child protection and youth detentions systems must be clearly heard at first hand.

“Aboriginal people living on town camps don’t need anyone to speak for us,” Mr Shaw said.

“We need to speak straight to the Royal Commissioners so they hear our stories in our words and our voices.

“While it’s important that leaders and peak bodies present their evidence, it is even more important that the mums and dads, aunties and uncles and grandparents get to tell their stories to the Royal Commission.

“Members of the Tangentyere Executive live these experiences with the child protection and youth detention systems every day and they want to be able to tell it straight.”

Mr Shaw said it was important the Royal Commission heard evidence from front line service providers about what programs had been working and the impact of widespread funding cuts.

“For example, Tangentyere runs a range of services aimed at young people in Alice Springs – everything from recreation programs to safe houses to youth patrols.

“We have wide experience in delivering diversion and restorative justice programs but programs have had funding cut or exist in an environment of uncertainty.

“Tangentyere was running effective youth camps, that the Government likes to call boot camps, diverting children from the criminal justice system.

“But the funding was cut.

“Our Access to Education program, designed and supported by Town Camp residents to increase school attendance and improve education outcomes had to be significantly pared back after Federal funding cutbacks.

“Our Safe House that cares for Aboriginal children in out of home care is under threat and currently operating unfunded because the NT Department of Children and Families is trying to hold us to ransom.

“The out of home care system in the Northern Territory is failing Aboriginal children and families by not adequately resourcing kinship care.

“Under-resourced youth services and a failing child protection system lead to more children in detention.


“Town Campers know what works for their children and families. We just want the Royal Commissioners to listen.” 

Tangentyere CEO Walter Shaw, and Town Camp presidents Shirleen Campbell and Robert Hoosan. "It hurts our hearts to see how our kids come out of detention and what is done to them in there" - Shirleen Campbell..Photo from ABC Alice Springs.

Tangentyere CEO Walter Shaw, and Town Camp presidents Shirleen Campbell and Robert Hoosan. "It hurts our hearts to see how our kids come out of detention and what is done to them in there" - Shirleen Campbell..Photo from ABC Alice Springs.


Aboriginal children in Alice Springs who are impacted by family violence will get more support with the launch of a specialist Tangentyere Council program today.

The Domestic Violence Specialist Children’s Service, launched by Minister for Women’s Policy Bess Price, will provide support to young people aged 12 to 17 who are living with family and domestic violence.

Tangentyere Council CEO Walter Shaw said the specialist children’s service will complement the successful work of the Family Violence Prevention Program.

“Tangentyere is proactive in developing and implementing programs that increase safety on town camps and in the wider community,” Mr Shaw said.

“Our Family Violence Program has developed successful strategies to make our communities safer places.

“Town Camp women and men have been trained in identifying family violence and the impacts of violence on women, children, men and their wider community.

“The Family Violence Program has created resources such as help cards, safety plan guides, signs and posters that support anti violence messages and is developing an engagement strategy that has the long term aim of changing attitudes to violence.

 “The new Domestic Violence Specialist Children’s service is an extension of these activities and will give identified young people the skills they need to act safe, be safe and develop healthy relationships.

“Empowering young people and developing self esteem will help break the cycle of violence that faces some of these children.

“Alice Springs Town Campers say No to Family and Domestic Violence and programs such as these give us the tools to live in safety and help our family, friends and neighbours to be safe too.”

Mr Shaw thanked the NT and Federal Governments for their ongoing support for the Tangentyere Family Violence Program.

July 11, 2016

Kitana and Connie Shaw say Tangentyere's Domestic Violence Children's Specialist program is giving them the tools and self confidence to say not to violence.

Kitana and Connie Shaw say Tangentyere's Domestic Violence Children's Specialist program is giving them the tools and self confidence to say not to violence.