This year’s report shows that child protection systems continue to fail Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, with the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering out-of-home care continuing to rise, exposing them to ongoing harm and trauma.


  • 22,328 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children currently in out-of-home care 
  • 10.5 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children represent 42.8% of the total number of children in out-of-home care but only represent 5.98% of all children in Australia. 

The Family Matters report presents Aboriginal-led solutions to what is working best for our children and communities. It includes case studies from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations that offer culturally safe wrap-around supports that ensure our children grow up healthy and strong in family, connected to culture and kin.

Current trends indicate that the National Agreement on Closing the Gap’s Target 12 (to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031) will not be met. The data presented in the Family Matters report highlight the need for transformative change and highlight the solutions that need systematic support and sustainable funding. 

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual campaign that began this year on 25 November. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women ran through to International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

This year, the UN marks the 16 Days under the theme “UNiTE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”.

Throughout this period organisations across Queensland acknowledged and highlighted the achievements of those working in the DFV sector in Queensland.

Read Nat and Kim’s story below:

Nat and Kim, Nawamba House, Mt Isa.

Nat and Kim work at Nawamba House, which provides accommodation for women and children experiencing domestic violence in the Mt Isa region.

Working at Nawamba House, they use a client-focused approach which empowers women to be decision makers for themselves and their children.

It’s important for them to be able to incorporate human rights into the work they do, and ensure that women are aware of their rights.

“Activism is an integral part of the service we provide to women and children at the women’s refuge.  All informed decisions are made taking into account women’s choices, and those women are the masters of their own life.”

“As an activist service, when working with our women we are actively working with women to ensure that they are informed to make their own choices for themselves and their children.”


QIFVLS CEO Wynetta Dewis was again pushing for policy reform this month when she attended the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Group hosted by the QLD Government Minister for Justice, Yvette D’Ath. 

This group, set up to work with the state government in codesigning Queensland’s framework for action, is reshaping the state’s approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic and family violence.

Central to this is the development of a framework to oversee and track progress on addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander DFV as part of a dedicated reform program undertaken by the Queensland Government.



The ID Muster was rolled out across Saibai, Thursday Island and Bamaga over five days in early November with much success. Led by Errol and Bernadette, the QIFVLS team engaged with 185 new contacts including some with multiple cross referrals.

QIFVLS hosted this event that brought together a range of associated organisations including (births, deaths and marriages and Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa). It was therefore very satisfying for the team to see such a strong response from the Torres Strait Island communities and NPA region travelling to seek help with birth, death and marriage certificates, drivers and boating licences, and with traditional Ailan Kastom practices.


Charismatic, wise, caring, quirky. These are just some of the words used to describe Aunty Bino, an unmissable personality who has been woven into the QIFVLS tapestry since 2013. Our Communities Matter (OCM) spent time with Aunty B, as she is affectionately known, to find out a bit about her life’s journey.

OCM: Aunty Bino, where were you born and raised?

AB: I’m a Gungulu woman, from Mount Morgan in Central Queensland – inland from Rockhampton. It’s quite a big area, part of the Gungulu nation people. There’s east and west side, three of us groups have combined to form a kind of super group. Our neighbours on the western side of the Dawson have joined with us for our native title application.

OCM: And how’s that going?

AB: We didn’t get the determination back in June but we are in the process of appealing, which should happen early next year. We’re just waiting for all the respondents to get back to us. We’ve been given leeway to have input into the final appeal process and personally I think we’ll be successful.

OCM: So what was life like in your early years Auntie B?

AB: I was brought up Catholic in Mount Morgan, a little mining town. All our mates were Irish and our fathers were miners. We did a lot of work down on the properties – our neighbours were all pastoralists, cow-cockies. We would earn extra money cotton picking and they’d be droves of us mob working with our parents. We would set up tent cities and as I was one of the older girls so I was kind of like the camp steward, making sure they had a feed and fires were made. Dad had three brothers and there 10 or 12 children in those families and it would just be a community. Our mothers had young babies and they were swapping us around with the breast feeding and tag-teaming with the parenting. It was a good life, we weren’t rich but we had a lot of help from the nuns. It was just a small town and we didn’t know racism or any of that kind of thing.

OCM: You said you ended up having five kids of your own, starting when you were just 17. Through your twenties, were you working as well, or concentrating on being a mum?

AB: I’d first started work back when I was 15 at an orphanage not far from Rocky. It was the one that was mentioned in the Institutional Child Abuse Commission. The difference between me and the young women that were being abused was that mum and dad used to come down to pick me up every fortnight and I’d go home for the weekend with them. Looking back, I can see that abuse was happening. There was a lot of favouritism, but I have very fond memories, with great bear hugs from the nuns and the priests and they helped me out when I was having some issues with my husband later on.

I was a mum through my twenties when I was married to my first husband, who was a mine worker at the smelter. We had the five kids and were living on a pittance. I just had the desire to bring myself and my kids, and him, up to a better place in life. I got work at the meatworks outside of Rocky. We weren’t employed, we’d just go down there at 5:30am and sit under the tree and they’d pick you out of a pool of people to work for the day. I would do that for four or five years before I went back to do my Year 12. Achieving that kind of gave me self worth. I thought, I can do this.

We were making connections all over the the place at this time, and this one fellow from the CSIRO said to me that what they really needed was lab assistants. So I enrolled in a two year biology certificate before I swapped across to to social studies the next year. I broke up with my husband just after that and moved down to Brisbane with my family. I said ‘stuff it’ with these little certificates, I’m going to do a degree at Uni.

OCM: You were in your thirties when you finished that, where did your degree take you?

AB: Prisons. My first social work was at Boggo Road Women’s Prison. My office was an old sewing room they cleaned out for me right next to the real hard-arsed inmates. It was there that I helped set up ‘Sisters Inside’ with Debbie Kilroy (now Debbie Kilroy, OAM). The girls used to tease me by saying: “Who’s the most stupid here, you or us? It must be you, because you’re choosing to come here every day to be locked away”. From there I ended up in Head Office doing program development and policy stuff with my own little research team. I was out visiting prisons and training program officers, which included mainstream programs like anger management. Doing that, as well as the program delivery for a long time, burnt me out in the end.

OCM: And how did you become involved in QIFLVS?

AB: I left Corrections to go into Mental Health, based in Emerald before they sent me over to ‘Bilo’ in a little house on country out there. In that period I was also sent to Theodore to help with social work after the floods of 2011. Working in Mental Health is a high risk job and was starting to feeling burnt out again so decided to have a year’s hiatus. Towards the end of that period I had a chance meeting with one of the psychologists that I knew from QLD Health who encouraged me to get back into the workforce. A position came up with QIFVLS and I saw it as a way to work with my community. After I’d been there a while, I was talking to Barry Doyle and suggested that it was time for QIFVLS to reconsider the way it had been operating, to look at more of a wrap-around service that included case management – and to cut back on the legal jargon when talking to indigenous clients.

OCM: What are your hopes for the future at QIFLVS?

AB: At the moment there is sort of a two pronged approach between the case management and legal work. I would like to see more integration between the two, where they work as one. I would also hope to see more therapeutic intervention; improving our client’s wellbeing, helping them plan for the future, working out what they need right now to feel better and getting them closer to their values in life.

OCM: Personally, what does Aunty B like enjoy doing on her days off?

AB: I’m a weaver. Actually I do a lot of stuff. I sew, I cook and do community work – particularly with our kids at the moment as they try to manage the transition into high school.

OCM: Thank you Aunty Bino


‘Tis the season for awards!

We end the year with some fantastic recognitions for members of our hard working and dedicated team.

QIFVLS board member Aunty Henrietta  was recognised for her outstanding work as a Global Indigenous rights advocate and trailblazer for cultural heritage preservation at the 2023 University of South Australia Alumni Awards.

Our congratulations go to QIFVLS’ Principal Legal Officer Thelma Schwartz on her nomination for the Dame Quentin Bryce Domestic Violence Prevention Advocate Award.

Also to Taylah McCarthy, short-listed as a Finalist in the Pro Bono/Community Lawyer category of the National Lawyers Weekly ‘30 under 30’ Awards 2024.

And to finally the team who attended the 2023 Women in Law Awards. Congratulations to Indigenous Lawyer of the Year Finalists Thelma Schwartz and Sarah-Jayne Reid, and to Law Student of the Year Finalist Makayla Smith.




QIFVLS offices celebrate the Christmas Spirit

When it comes to any ‘best office’ awards, things can get pretty competitive at QIFVLS. Check out the effort the teams put into decorations to celebrate this years festive season. Congratulations go to Rockhampton this year for taking out the win, and to all the offices for their fantastic efforts.

A Merry Christmas to all our QIFVLS team

Wishing you and your families a safe and joyous festive season. We’re looking forward to a well-earned break and returning in the New Year refreshed and energised… but until then, it’s the season to indulge. And remember, Christmas calories don’t count!



Are you in search of an rewarding profession that will take you on journeys through the breathtaking landscapes of Queensland? One that promises not only career advancement and skill enhancement, but also attractive perks, substantial travel allowances, and one-of-a-kind professional adventures? Are you drawn to a career that enables you to make a positive difference in the lives of others?

Look no further – your new career awaits you! At QIFVLS, we are dedicated to combating Family and Domestic Violence within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. Our methods encompass education, advocacy, legal reform, court support, and casework assistance. By focusing on early intervention and prevention, our aim is to empower individuals impacted by Family Violence to regain control over their lives. We are in search of outstanding and dynamic individuals who can join us in achieving this mission.

If you envision yourself fitting into this scenario, we encourage you to see what’s available here.

Please consider making a personal or corporate donation to help our teams deliver the services that are so vital to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Watch the video below for one example of how some of the donations made to QIFVLS is utilised to make the lives of people in crisis better. left to rightWyneettA Merry 

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