Principle 6: Resilience and hope make a difference

Effective healing should build individual and collective resilience and offer hope. Through the building of resilience, individuals learn how to cope in times of adversity, including by developing healthy, supportive relationships and by connecting to Aboriginal culture and community.

Resilience supports people on their healing journeys from prevention through to crisis and long-term recovery. When resilience is centred on Aboriginal culture, it helps to shape and enhance traditions, beliefs and familial relationships which are necessary factors for healing.

Effective holistic healing approaches should enhance the individual and collective ability to cope with stress and overcome adversity. By building resilience in this way, people are empowered to be in control of their own lives. They will be equipped with the tools to create their own positive outcomes. Healing practices that focus on strengthening the resilience of individuals, families and communities are key to ensuring positive impacts are long-term.

Service design characteristics

As First Nation peoples, resilience is already deeply embedded in Victorian Aboriginal communities. Holistic healing approaches must further build upon this strength to ensure that resilience is cultivated within individuals and families who are experiencing family violence.

The following characteristics underpin the embedding of resilience in the context of designing holistic healing approaches:

  • Aboriginal people’s pride in culture builds resilience.
  • Recognise and strengthen the resilience of individuals, families and communities to deal with adverse events.
  • Provide opportunities and choices for healing.
  • Promote and be explicit about what healthy relationships are across all types of relationships in community.

What does this look like in practice for?

Aboriginal people who need healing are provided with:

  • Support and equipped with tools, resources and strategies that build resilience and positivity.
  • The opportunity to participate in yarning circle to support individuals and families to build resilience.
  • Provided with access to workshops and community events that build individual and collective resilience.
  • Linked with community resources that support them to be resilient and strong.
  • Empowered to develop positive life choices.

Aboriginal organisations and communities:

  • Promote the affirmation of positive cultural identity and pride in Aboriginal peoples’ resilience and cultural identity as core to healing.
  • Facilitate culturally safe spaces for Aboriginal people to share stories of resilience with people experiencing family violence and people who use violence to change behaviours and attitudes.
  • Deliver flexible service options to build resilience including, for example to: conduct healing camps for young people; life skills programs; spiritual guidance workshops delivered by Elders; and initiatives that build an understanding of family violence and prevention on an ongoing basis.
  • Utilise both western and traditional approaches to build resilience, such as the use of ceremony.
  • Support their Aboriginal workforce to be safe and build their resilience to undertake family violence work.


  • Ensures that all funded holistic healing initiatives include approaches that build resilience across Aboriginal communities.
  • Promotes to the broader community, acknowledges and celebrates the resilience of Aboriginal people.
  • Engages the community to build on community strengths and resilience as a source of healing.

Reviewed 21 January 2020

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