New hub helps Indigenous group combat domestic violence

23 Nov 2015

With the national spotlight currently on domestic violence, a leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific counselling and mental health training service in Queensland is now better able to tackle the issue with the granting of a new home base in Brisbane by the Indigenous Land Corporation.

The Indigenous-controlled Gallang Place mental health counselling service helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to deal with issues such as domestic violence, grief and loss, anger management, substance abuse, relationships, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.

Gallang Place had operated from leased premises in Brisbane’s West End for 18 years providing services to over 160 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients each year, but it had outgrown the building and needed a secure operational base so it could expand badly-needed services.

The Indigenous Land Corporation provided $2.95m to purchase and refit a large building at 57 Southgate Avenue, Cannon Hill to provide a permanent home for the successful Indigenous mental health counselling service.

Gallang Place has shown great leadership and dedication over the last 21 years to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders with mental health and counselling support.

An ILC spokesperson said the ILC was pleased to be able to buy and grant a new home to Gallang Place because there was no doubt that the work of this organisation is saving peoples’ lives and giving them real support and hope for a better future.

Gallang Chairperson Stephen Corporal said the purchase and granting of the property by the ILC had helped Gallang to grow its service delivery so it was better placed “to help combat domestic violence and other abuse issues”.

“Our new home base also means we are able to support other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organizations such as the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service, The Healing Foundation, and Blackcard Pty Ltd,” Mr Corporal said.

“No single organisation can cope with the challenges many of our people are facing in their everyday lives, so we have a big focus on forming close partnerships to work with a range of groups to support Indigenous  health and wellbeing for individuals and their families in the South East Queensland region.”

“Apart from delivering counselling and wellbeing programs ourselves we also train other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so they can build the capacity of their own organisations and their local communities throughout Queensland to help people on the ground to break the cycle of loss, trauma and abuse,” Mr Corporal said.

To do this, Gallang has expanded its services to include the delivery of accredited training in counselling to Indigenous health workers through a newly-established Registered Training Organisation called Gallang Education and Training (GET).

GET is currently the only provider of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific counselling and mental health training services in Queensland.

GET delivers training modules in the Diploma of Counselling course. GET has also delivered Certificate IV in Mental Health training modules to Social and Emotional Wellbeing staff at Indigenous health services, Link-Up and drug and alcohol services throughout Queensland, such as Palm Island, Woorabinda, Mareeba and Cairns as well as Brisbane.

Granting of land and properties, such as the new Gallang Place building, by the ILC across Australia is assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups to achieve land ownership and help to grow the Indigenous estate.

The ILC has now granted more than 75% of the 251 properties it has acquired to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups,” Dr Casey said.

The grants are helping local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to derive a host of land-based benefits in remote, regional and urban Australia.

This includes things like developing an economic base for future generations, looking after culturally and environmentally significant country, expanding or securing the delivery of much needed Indigenous services as well as providing training and real jobs.

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