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Cultural safety encapsulates the relationships that we need to foster in our communities, as well as the need for cultural renewal and revitalisation. Security: ‘I am going to write a note to Johnny’s family and ask the Aboriginal Health Worker (AHW) to deliver and explain it.The creation of cultural safety in our communities will be the focus of the case studies in the next part of this Chapter. I will check with the AHW if any issues were raised when explaining the procedure to the family and if transport is sorted out.Cultural security on the other hand, speaks more to the obligations of those working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure that there are policies and practices in place so that all interactions adequately meet cultural needs. I will ask to see if the AHW can be in attendance at the appointment.’ Cultural security directly links understandings and actions.Whatever words you use, cultural safety and security requires the creation of: In other words, we need to bullet proof our communities so they are protected from the weaponry of lateral violence. So we should be saying that ‘this is here for everyone’ and that ‘this is a peaceful place’ and once you come on this land putting those cultural boundaries in that used to be [there]’. Policies and procedures create processes that are automatically applied from the time when Aboriginal people first seek health care.In this Chapter I will be taking our strategies to an even more practical level, looking at how we can create environments of cultural safety and security to address lateral violence. This means cultural needs are included in policies and practices so that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have access to this level of service, not just in pockets where there are particularly culturally competent workers.
The concept of cultural safety is drawn from the work of Maori nurses in New Zealand and can be defined as: [A]n environment that is safe for people: where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. ‘If it’s free from politics it would be safe but it’s just going to get sucked into the same politics... It shifts the emphasis from attitudes to behaviour, focusing directly on practice, skills and efficacy.
The VACCA undertook research through surveys and interviews with Victorians (predominately Indigenous) to unpack the concept of cultural safety. The role for government and other third parties in creating cultural safety is ensuring that our voices are heard and respected in relation to our community challenges, aspirations and identities. The first part of this Chapter has looked at the concepts of cultural safety and security.
Some of the responses to questions exploring the concept included: ‘Feeling safe in the knowledge that you’re listened to, that your contribution to the community is important, just as much as anyone else’s’. In this part I will be looking to the community level to celebrate some of the approaches that are already making a difference in addressing lateral violence on the ground.
We are kicking goals, opening doors and breaking through the glass and brown ceilings.
And, yet, the times when we wholeheartedly and unanimously celebrate these achievements are relatively few.