Abuse not confined to NT: Kapeen

By JULIA ILES julia.iles@dailyexaminer.com.au

THERE is widespread domestic violence and possible sexual abuse within the Clarence Valley Indigenous community, according to an Aboriginal leader.

Nungara Co-operative manager Trevor Kapeen said rates of reporting abuse were very low and that he mostly heard second-hand accounts.

"Everyone is ashamed, whether it's sexual or domestic abuse, and they don't want to put their hand up and say 'it's happening to me', as someone would say to them 'you're a lying so and so'," he said.

Mr Kapeen, who has lived in the Clarence Valley all of his life, said the issue played on his mind.

"I know for sure that domestic violence is going on," he said.

"And young kids are getting pregnant so it (sexual abuse) must be going on too, whether it was consensual or not, I don't know."

He said domestic violence was a major issue in the Clarence Valley.

"The husband gets stuck into the wife or vice versa and it seems to be due to peer pressure, low self esteem and unemployment," Mr Kapeen said.

"Police come and break it up and take them to the police station, but when asked, the victim doesn't want to lay charges and goes back to the same situation.

"Counselling should be offered as soon as possible and they need to take away the perpetrator so the kids and victim don't have to leave."

Mr Kapeen said the solution needed to be found within the Aboriginal community.

Earlier this week Alice Springs prosecutor Nanette Rogers revealed horrific details of abuse in remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia, including the rape of a seven-month-old baby.

Yesterday Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough visited Northern Territory communities.

He also proposed a summit to address the issues involved and draft a national plan.



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