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Body Safety Australia

Yarning ripples: Supporting First Nations strength in preventing sexual violence

Yarning ripples: Supporting First Nations strength in preventing sexual violence

Yarning with Aboriginal communities in rural and regional Australia to understand Elder-guided relationship and community repair after youth sexual violence....

australia > NATIONWIDE > regional
01/07/2024 > 15/09/2024


  • Social inclusion and justice
  • Indigenous communities


  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Young people (6-25)


Yarning with Aboriginal communities in rural and regional Australia to understand Elder-guided relationship and community repair after youth sexual violence.

Sexual violence is an issue experienced across all states and territories in Australia. Through our work we’ve witnessed victims struggling to heal from peer sexual violence after receiving no meaningful resolution from the systems currently in place. We’ve worked with youth perpetrators who don’t understand how to reconcile their actions with family & community values. We know 15–19-year-olds are the cohort most likely to both experience and perpetrate sexual violence. Since the age of 15, its reported 22% of women and 6.1% of men have experienced sexual violence, but we know the true Australian numbers are higher. Peer based sexual assault is a severely under reported crime, as the shame and stigma surrounding sexual violence has created a culture of silence.

As western models are currently failing to create processes of healing & repair for our youth, we must look to the knowledge of our First Nations peoples. We know healing & relationships are crucial components of Indigenous cultural values, with First Nations people using the lens of Elder knowledge and storytelling. The key to unlocking meaningful change for youth sexual violence will be found in ancient Indigenous cultural knowledge within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This project allows BSA’s Head of Education and other First Nations staff members to spend three months facilitating rural and regional yarning consultations with First Nations communities.


This First Nations led project will capture the traditional responses to peer-based sexual violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in rural and regional Australia. The ability to travel outside metro areas is crucial to capturing the variety in culture and lived experience across Aboriginal communities, as different mobs exist outside the western ideas of state borders. Within Victoria alone, there are 11 different registered Aboriginal parties and over 500 Aboriginal territories across Australia.
We understand diversity is strength, so the more diverse Aboriginal voices we can capture, the stronger the outcomes will be. Through deep listening, the team will foster meaningful connections with the community and capture cultural insights. These insights will be added to the already captured evidence from diverse global indigenous communities gathered during Lauren’s Churchill Fellowship.

At the completion of this project, a report will be developed to synthesize the data gathered and stories shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This report, detailing both the international Indigenous and Australian First Nations People’s knowledge, will be used to inform the development of an intervention that can be trialed within community. The project fosters relationship building with community through culturally safe practices of slow yarning, which will allow future extensions of this project to flourish. This project has the potential to play a key role in changing the broader culture around sexual violence and create meaningful healing across all Australian communities.

Profile of Body Safety Australia

Body Safety Australia

Body Safety Australia (BSA) is one of Australia’s leading expert organisations in primary prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA). We promote childhoods free from violence where children enjoy equitable and respectful relationships.

Founded in 2015, BSA’s professional primary prevention educators have facilitated programs around body safety, consent, respectful relationships, inclusivity and positive body image. These programs have reached over 250,000 children and 20,000 parents, carers and teachers. Our programs have been independently evaluated since 2017 and our workforce is the largest and most highly qualified in the field. This expert knowledge has allowed us to consult with individual communities and tailor our programs to meet community needs.

We have a strong commitment to provide all communities with abuse and violence prevention education that celebrates children of all socio-economic status, religions, abilities, sexualities, genders, cultures and/or family structure. Led by our Head of Education, Lauren French, BSA has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) communities around child sexual abuse prevention and strengths-based respectful relationships education.

Lauren is a proud Karajarri (Aboriginal) women, Sexologist, and violence prevention educator who’s always been passionate about finding ways to support and empower First Nations children and families. She is determined to share the very real strengths First Nations communities have in preventing harm and challenge the deficit view of First Nations Peoples in Australia. Lauren is the recipient of the 7News 2023 Indigenous Achievement award (Victoria), an Out for Australia 2023 30 under 30 winner, and has received a 2023 Churchill Fellowship.


Funding sourceAmount
Body Safety Australia (confirmed)$27,500
Funding Gap (uconfirmed)$60,000
Expense itemAmount
BSA Head of Education Salary$30,000
Travel & Accommodation costs (including flights, living expenses & meals, accommodation)$7,000
Travel (Car costs including mileage per kilometer)$7,500
Project Administration costs and BSA overheads (funded by BSA)$8,000
Resources for community stakeholders and yarning participants$8,000
BSA First Nations Team member salary (funded by BSA)$20,000
Travel costs for First Nations BSA Team member (including flights, living expenses & meals, accommodation)$7,000

Support Yarning ripples: Supporting First Nations strength in preventing sexual violence

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