Indigenous presentation stole the show at Global Domestic Violence Conference

Hughie Pepper
Hughie Pepper pictured centre


Hughie Pepper is a young Koorie man from the Gunai Kurnai area. He is currently employed by Latrobe Community Health and is also a Koorie Court Diversionary Worker for his local area. Hughey’s high standing in the community led to him being appointed as coordinator of the highly successful Young Aboriginal Men's Shed Project in Morwell, an initiative which grew out of the concerns of community members for disengaged Koorie youths. Hughey’s commitment to the program has ensured that the Men’s Shed has been a great success. He is a much admired role model within his community.

Following the successful staging of the Global Domestic Violence Conference (GCA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it was decided that a national indigenous conference be organized in Australia.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation by Mr. Hughie Pepper, an Indigenous Australian and Dr. Chris Laming of Monash University whom presented a keynote on 'Engaging Australian Indigenous Men to Stop Violence'.

Hughie Pepper is an Aboriginal man of the Gunnai Kurnai people of Gippsland.

He is a community leader, enormously respected. Hughie is the 'go to' person, highly regarded by both mainstream and indigenous workers alike, because of his integrity, genuineness and ability to quietly get things done. By developing programs in conjunction with others whilst taking a holistic approach to combating domestic violence within his community, Mr. Pepper outlined his work that bridges and links two worlds, the Koorie and non-aboriginal people in his area. In his presentation, he further outlined the work within the Regional Indigenous men's behaviour. Furthermore, his work as case manager based at the Latrobe Community Health Service proven to be a leading factor in combating domestic violence within the whole region, working and facilitating men's behaviour change groups for more than ten years.

Because of his Aboriginality and his status, based on who he is and how he is, Hughie Pepper has been able to challenge those men in the Aboriginal community who are abusive. It was quite clear from Mr. Pepper's presentation and soon become apparent that he is a role model for young men and boys and demonstrates how he straddle two worlds, whilst keeping his sense of humour and his feet on the ground. Delegates at the conference were impressed with the presentation, the approach that Mr. Pepper's team and community were taking to overcome domestic violence in his area.

Indigenous people from throughout Australia should take pride and feel proud of the many of successful projects to overcome family violence in the country. From an Indigenous point of view, Australia is one of the leading countries in overcoming domestic violence, placing Indigenous Australians at the full front of the battle. One of the things that emerged from the conference was the need for further development of the global coalition's network and to further engage indigenous input into the coalition. To this end, a series of smaller conferences will be held throughout the world, devoted to indigenous domestic violence issues within local communities.

The 2011 National Indigenous Australian Domestic Violence Conference is scheduled to be held at the Sea World Resort in the Gold Coast.

Planning is in the early stages however, the date will be on 17-19th of May 2011. The conference will focus on increasing awareness of programs being delivered throughout Australia and some parts of the world. One of the special guest speakers will be Ms. Maria Liza Edubas from the Philippines who is the chairperson of the Global Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCA-DV). Furthermore, a guest speaker from New Zealand and Thailand will also be speaking at the conference.

To ensure grassroots community programs are highlighted, no less than 50 percent of the conference proceedings are and is devoted to community groups. Papers are now being called for with the first closing date on the 25th of December 2010. To further ensure the continuous success of the conference, an Australian Indigenous working group is being established to advise the coalition on correct adherence to cultural equilibrium. Furthermore, two (2) Indigenous Australian applicants are being sought for to form an international working group for the establishment of a world-wide Indigenous conference which is being planned in 2013. At this point in time, no country has been chosen for this event and as such the working group would be responsible for nominating and choosing for the first ever international Indigenous Domestic Violence. Ms. Liza Edubas, the chairperson says Australia or New Zealand stands a strong chance of hosting the next global event because of the
involvement of Mr. Pepper's team and other delegates from Australia.

For more information on the 2011 National Indigenous Domestic Violence Conference in Australia, please visit ica-dv.webs.com or send us an email at sosmedical@ymail.com