Cultural Safety

Communities for Children Bendigo have made a commitment to ensuring that we increase the levels of cultural safety that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children experience when they interact with our agencies or participate in our programs/activities. Underpinning each of the four outcomes areas is the need to embed Aboriginal cultural safety in all Communities for Children Bendigo activities and projects, together with specific actions to further build cultural safety and competence. After consulting with the Bendigo District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC) and other key local stakeholders, a range of strategies have been developed to support workers and organisations to increase cultural safety.

As a Communities for Children team, we share the belief that we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the impact Australia’s historical (and current) policies and practices have had, and continue to have, on the health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we work alongside.

The Communities for Children Cultural Safety Working Group has initiated and supported the following initiatives:

  • Development and implementation of a Cultural Safety Self Reflection Tool across several organisations (the tool is based on the St. Luke’s Cultural Safety Self Reflection tool)
  • Supported the development of the NAIDOC Week Children’s Day, which is now a highly anticipated annual event with over 1000 attendees
  • Ensured that all workers employed by Communities for Children have a strong understanding and commitment to cultural safety and have undergone Cultural Safety self-reflection (which includes having an ongoing commitment to increasing their knowledge and awareness of cultural safety).

What are the Cultural Safety Self Reflection Sessions?

In 2013, in consultation with local stakeholders, C4C developed a Cultural Safety Self Reflection tool and self reflection sessions for agencies and workers. We are able to facilitate self reflection sessions based on the tool to early years organisations.

The aim of the self reflection sessions is to provide individual workers, teams and agencies/organisations with an opportunity to reflect on their own values and beliefs about cultural safety, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and Australian history. It also provides a series of prompts that can be used to initiate practical changes that, hopefully, will lead to an increase in cultural safety.

The self reflection sessions are 2 x 2hr sessions delivered a week apart (using a self reflection tool as a guide). Pre-reading is provided to participants and this reading is discussed in the sessions.

The self reflection sessions should be viewed as a starting point, not an end point. Hopefully it will prompt individual workers, teams and organisations/agencies to build on what they are already doing well and make a commitment to continue to make further positive changes. The goal is to ensure that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (and the ACCOs) we work alongside feel safer and more empowered by our presence in their lives.

You can read the Cultural Safety Guidelines 2015 here

If you or your organisation are interested in finding out more about Cultural Safety please contact us:

Melissa Rockes
C4C Bendigo Manager
p:  5440 1100 (Reception- Anglicare)

Geoffrey West
Family Harmony Program Manager – Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC)
p: 5442 4947 (Reception- BDAC)

Jenna McMillan
C4C Early Years Access Worker –  BDAC
p: 5442 4947 (Reception- BDAC)