Community-led solutions to prevent Aboriginal child injury
Aboriginal Community-led interventions are likely to be the most effective means of preventing child injuries, but there has been little research or evaluation to show what works best.
This project evaluated a community-led child injury prevention program in partnership with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in Walgett, NSW.
This work builds on a research partnership between UNSW and the Dharriwaa Elders Group, Walgett called ‘Yuwaya Ngarra-li’, meaning ‘vision’, which aims to improve the wellbeing, social, built and physical environment and life pathways of Aboriginal people in Walgett through evidence-based programs, research projects and capacity building.
Co-producing this research with the Aboriginal community and other partners will ensure it is relevant, acceptable, feasible and effective.
Community-led solutions to prevent Aboriginal child injuryProject title
What is the issue?
Aboriginal children have higher rates of injury than non-Aboriginal children, particularly in remote areas. Serious childhood injury can have lifelong implications. Many of the risk factors that give rise to childhood injuries are the same as the risk factors for chronic disease.
Aboriginal Community-led interventions are likely to be the most effective means of preventing child injuries, but there has been little research or evaluation show what works best.
The highest risk of injury is during early childhood and adolescence. Targeting young parents aged 15 to 24 therefore offers a good opportunity for engagement and improving health literacy around injury prevention.
How is the project addressing the issue?
This project involves a rigorous evaluation of a community-led child injury prevention program in partnership with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in Walgett, NSW.
It is the result of a partnership between the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd (WAMS), the Dharriwaa Elders Group, Walgett (DEG), the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Kidsafe NSW and the University of Wollongong.
WAMS is an Aboriginal community-controlled health service that has been providing a broad range of holistic health services for 33 years and now employs more than 100 staff. The DEG is an Aboriginal community-controlled charitable organisation that supports local Elders to resume leadership roles, keep active and healthy, promote local Aboriginal cultural knowledge and identify and develop the Walgett Aboriginal community. This work builds on a research partnership between UNSW and DEG called ‘Yuwaya Ngarra-li’, meaning ‘vision’, which aims to improve the wellbeing, social, built and physical environment and life pathways of Aboriginal people in Walgett through evidence-based programs, research projects and capacity building.
We will establish trusted relationships with young parents and learn of the supports they need, which may include driver licence support programs, parenting, budgeting, nutrition, education or employment services. We will then deliver health promotion around childhood injury prevention to groups who are engaged through a variety of information sessions and vocationally focused programs on these topics of interested.
This is a mixed methods study with three phases:
We will undertake qualitative research with young parents and community stakeholders to understand the health literacy of the community and identify service providers who are engaging in child safety and parenting, educational and employment services, and the role of family, community and other providers to support them. This research will be led by experienced Aboriginal investigators.
A community-led intervention will be developed, informed by a literature review of effective interventions and stakeholder and community interviews. The program will be delivered through the existing supported playgroup Goonimoo (run by WAMS), and WAMS’ Children’s Services (a combination of staff from the Aboriginal Maternal Health Strategy program, Health Checks for Children, New Directors Mothers and Babies).
Research staff working in partnership with the Yuwaya Ngarra-li team will work alongside the Aboriginal Health Worker to evaluate the program. The evaluation will describe and evaluate the project and its outcomes, articulate the supports identified by parents/caregivers during the project as valued by them for increasing their child’s safety, opportunities to improve the program, and identify long-term services and other measures that would provide improved safety and reduced hospital emergency presentations for children in Walgett.
Relevance for practice
This project provides a unique opportunity to develop a robust evaluation framework around a community-led program. Co-producing this research with the Aboriginal community and other partners will ensure it is relevant, acceptable, feasible and effective.
If the program is found to be successful, further funding will be sought to trial and evaluate implementation on a larger scale.
What are the expected outcomes?
The project will enable the development of culturally safe co-produced program and provide evidence on its feasibility and acceptability.
News and media
Other news and media
- The Koori Mail, 15 January 2020. Pool Day is cool way to learn about child safety (PDF 3.3MB)
- Smith T, Townsend A, Anderson M. Safety 2020 Conference. Abstract accepted but conference postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19.
- Smith T and Anderson M. Community-led solutions to prevent Aboriginal child injury. Australasian Injury Prevention Conference, Brisbane, 27 November, 2019.
Dr Rona MacnivenUNSW Sydney
Nellie Pollard-WhartonUNSW Sydney
Christine CorbyWalgett Aboriginal Medical Service
Associate Professor Ruth McCauslandUNSW Sydney
Peta MacGillivrayUNSW Sydney
Wendy SpencerYuwaya Ngarra-li: Dharriwaa Elders Group partnership with the UNSW
Amy TownsendGoonimoo Mobile Children’s Services
Dr Patricia CullenUNSW Sydney
Professor Kathleen ClaphamUniversity of Wollongong
Dr Kate HunterThe George Institute for Global Health
Christine ErskineKidsafe Australia
Tara SmithWalgett Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Child Injury Educator
Madeleine PowellUNSW Sydney
Melanie Andersen Melanie Andersen has finished working with the Prevention Centre.UNSW Sydney
Sallie CairnduffUNSW Sydney
Professor Rebecca IversUNSW Sydney