In late 2010 Carol was appointed as Director of the Safe Families program, an initiative of the then NSW government to lead a whole of government response to tackling the issue of Child Sexual Assault in 5 remote Aboriginal communities of Western NSW, and later extended to include leadership for government effort in other focus communities across the State.
At the time of her appointment the program had been operational for 2 years with few outcomes, minimal acceptance by the community and inconsistent levels of participation and effort across government.
Carol brought a new set of eyes to the program, and with her team and participating agencies, set about re-engineering the program to improve community acceptance of and participation in the program, clarifying roles of key government agencies, raising the profile of the issue, instituting structures across government to sustain systemic change and improving service delivery to children and families.
Yet despite obvious improvements the program continued to be stifled by a range of factors that can be broadly categorised into the following lines:
- Inter-agency conflicts and competitiveness
- Personalisation of issues and polarisation of staff
- Inconsistency of hierarchical commitment
- Reticence to tackle such a sensitive issue
- Division within Indigenous communities about approaches to the issue
- Staffing qualifications and experience
Carol's role in Safe Families ended in 2012 and with it came a declining focus on the issue of Indigenous child sexual assault.
Murawin is committed to working with others to drive change that results in the impacts of Child Sexual Assault in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities being addressed. With this in mind, we facilitate conversations and will host the inaugural Batiba Guwiyal "Extinguish the Flame" conference to bring together academics, researchers, policy makers, service providers, community leaders and other interested parties to stimulate action.