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First Nations Engagement Principles

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Read our First Nations engagement principles to find out more about how we do our work.

First Nations Engagement Principles (Auslan)



We know that First Nations Australians with disability are disadvantaged by systems such as justice, child welfare, health, education, employment and housing.

These disadvantages can impact their health and wellbeing.

Some First Nations people with disability face additional barriers because of their unique experiences of trauma.

First Nations people with disability can face ‘double discrimination’ where layers of disadvantage make their situations worse.

We want to engage with First Nation people with disability – their families, carers and advocates – across Australia including in remote and very remote areas.

We want to hear first-hand their stories of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Those stories are central for us to carry out our work.

We will make every effort to ensure the voices of First Nations people with disability are heard so that we can better understand their experiences, their issues and the barriers that they face.

We have developed 6 guiding principles for our staff to make sure that we engage meaningfully and respectfully with First Nations People with disability.

And to make sure we put the voices of First Nations people with disability at the centre of our work.

6 guiding principles

Our first guiding principle is applying a disability-led approach.

This means recognising and respecting First Nations people with disability - seeking their viewpoints and communicating in an accessible, culturally appropriate way.

Our second guiding principle is applying a rights-based framework.

This means recognising the diversity and individuality of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - as two distinct cultures and peoples, including different languages, histories and perspectives.

It means respecting a person’s right to participate – or not – in our engagements.

It means respecting a person’s choice to share their stories and experiences in their first language, or other language that they choose.

Our third guiding principle is ensuring engagements are culturally appropriate, safe and trauma-informed.

This means making sure our approach helps people feel culturally, emotionally and physically safe.

It means having respect for, and being able to respond to, First Nations people with disability history, perspective and protocols.

Our fourth guiding principle is supporting a strengths-based approach.

This means ensuring engagement is based on the priorities and aspirations of First Nations people with disability and supports First Nations perspectives.

Our fifth guiding principle is respecting self-determination.

This means ensuring First Nations people with disability choose how they engage with us in a way that they decide.

And making sure our engagement draws on strong First Nations leadership and existing community governance structures.

Our final guiding principle is about being participatory, accessible and responsive.

This means genuinely listening to First Nations People with disability, and building relationships based on trust and respect.

It means acknowledging the important role of Elders, Traditional Owners and Custodians as leaders in their communities.

It means observing community values, norms and protocols.

And it means reaching out and engaging with First Nations people with disability in closed institutions, like gaols or detention centres.

You can find out more about our First Nations Engagement Principles on our website.

Go to ‘Share your Story’ and click on ‘First Nations people’.