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.
Community-led solutions to prevent Aboriginal child injuryProject title
What is the issue?
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 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, however, 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 did the project address the issue?
This project involved a rigorous evaluation of a community-led child injury prevention program in partnership with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in Walgett, NSW.
It was 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 established trusted relationships with young parents to understand the support they needed. We then delivered health promotion around childhood injury prevention to groups engaged through a variety of information sessions and vocationally focused programs on these topics of interested.
What were the outcomes?
The project enabled the development of a culturally safe co-produced program and provided evidence on its feasibility and acceptability.
What is the relevance for practice?
Over the 18-month project, which was disrupted by COVID, floods and a mice plague, the CHIPP project team developed a play-based, culturally appropriate, evidence-based program on Water Safety, Road and Pedestrian Safety, and Home Safety in partnership with Goonimoo playgroup educators and families. Local Walgett staff at Goonimoo and WAMS were trained in swimming and water safety, correct installation of child car seats, and positive parenting. Activities and resources used were documented in manuals for each of these topics as a resource for other Aboriginal playgroups to use in the future.
The evaluation of the program found that the program was feasible, accessible and acceptable to the Walgett community. It also highlighted the importance of a co-design approach to collaboratively develop a program to prevent unintentional injuries among Aboriginal children.
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.