Working with community

For anyone working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities, there are a number of national and community-based ethical guidelines, protocols and principles of practice to guide them [17982]. Health practitioners, allied health professions and those providing health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to be particularly aware of the historical, cultural and contemporary experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As with all health programs, any planned interventions should be developed with the target communities, be delivered sensitively, be tailored to community needs, and not be forced, or perceived to be forced, upon communities. A major success factor is community involvement in (and, ideally, control of) all stages of program initiation, development, implementation and evaluation [31633][29765]. Program implementation methods should build confidence among collaborating Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health agencies.

To work effectively with communities, health workers and policy makers need to be:

  • aware of culture
  • skilled with Indigenous concepts
  • advanced in theories of justice and human rights
  • able to work without racism or other prejudices [27487].

Organisations and individuals must be committed to these objectives and should seek to gain cultural competencies.


Key resources


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Communities Gathering to Live as One by Melanie Robinson

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