On 1 July 2021, Baptist Care SA began working with Aboriginal women and their children who are experiencing or are vulnerable to domestic, family, and sexual violence through a new pilot program. Marni-Padni – Pukulpay anama, means Journey safe, Safe Journey in both Kaurna and Pitjantjatjara languages.
Designed by Aboriginal women, the program connects vulnerable women and children to critical support services, including safe accommodation, health and mental health services and family violence counselling.
Many of those assisted are visiting Adelaide from remote communities.
With a focus on returning people to country who wish to go, other supports include connecting clients to case management and housing should they wish to remain in Adelaide.
Of the 63 people supported to date, 16 have returned to their communities, with a further eight pending.
Many who wish to return home initially travelled to support hospitalised relatives and were impacted by changing COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Program data has shown that people who become stranded in and around Adelaide are remaining for an average of 10 months, during which time they are couch surfing, staying in overcrowded dwellings or rough sleeping.
To date, Safe Journey has worked with people from South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
The six-month pilot is also collecting people’s stories of lived experience to help increase understanding of how to best support this group in a culturally responsive way.
The program, funded by the Department of Human Services, works closely with the Department, SA Housing Authority, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Department for Correctional Services, Aboriginal Community Services, Wardli-ana and the Sobering Up Unit.
This project is supported by the Department of Human Services.