On 9 September 2019, International FASD Awareness Day, an inquiry was referred to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee into effective approaches to prevention and diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and strategies for optimising life outcomes for people with FASD.
Individuals, organisations, and institutions across Australia made submissions which explored the breadth of the impact of FASD on Australian communities. NOFASD Australia reviewed all submissions and extracted a series of quotes which define themes that arose across the submissions.
In today’s blog, we explore the theme of FASD in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- FASD is mistakenly considered an Indigenous health issue because research in Australia has focused on at-risk communities following initiatives led by matriarchs in Aboriginal communities;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have been disproportionally affected by FASD because of the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with the ongoing impacts of colonisation, dispossession of land, culture, and language, and social and economic exclusion;
- Stigma regarding use of alcohol in Aboriginal communities is false as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are 1.3 times less likely than other Australians to use alcohol at any time;
- Strategies to reduce alcohol consumption that have been developed and implemented by Aboriginal communities have been successful in reducing alcohol-related harms and should be used as a guide for the broader Australian community; and
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians can access culturally informed FASD resources here.
The final report from the Senate inquiry was released on 17th March 2021.
Stay tuned to the NOFASD blogs for a summary of the findings.