Aboriginal community responses to alcohol-related harms

April 2019

PhD Scholar:
Ms Annalee Stearne

PhD Supervisors:
Professor Steve Allsop, NDRI, Curtin University
Associate Professor Michael Wright, Curtin University
Professor Anthony Shakeshaft, NDARC, UNSW

Project description: 

Why does this research need to be done?

Northern Territory (NT) residents experience significant levels of alcohol-related harm. There have been many responses to address alcohol, from a community level through to initiatives led by the federal government. Given that Aboriginal people comprise more than a quarter of the NT population, whether intentionally or unintentionally, alcohol policies from all levels of government have targeted Aboriginal peoples in the NT. Often these policies ignore or undermine community-led responses, despite the evidence for the effectiveness of such community-driven action. There has been little or no recognition of the efforts and approaches that Aboriginal communities have taken to respond to alcohol issues and how these can contribute to more effective overall strategies.

How is this research being done?

This research will embed a culturally safe process to ensure transparency and accountability. It will work closely with local Aboriginal community leaders and researchers. This includes convening an Aboriginal Community Reference Group, which will include key Aboriginal people from NT who will provide guidance throughout the project.

This research has three components:

  • A systematic review of existing theories of community change as relevant to reduction of alcohol-related harm.
  • A timeline of alcohol policies in NT since 1978 with a focus on their context.
  • Interviews with Aboriginal community members and other stakeholders to prepare a series of case studies of community responses to alcohol harms, and to contribute to a framework for quality practice to addressing alcohol-related harms in Aboriginal communities.

What difference will this research make?

This research will give a voice to Aboriginal communities in NT to share their experiences and expertise in identifying challenges and designing and implementing effective local responses to alcohol-related harms. It will also develop an evidence-based framework to help develop and implement policies designed to bring about change at the Aboriginal community-level.

This research is funded by the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol.