The children of Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (ATIs) are one of the most under-resourced groups in society, according to the new study by researchers from the University of Sydney and Griffith University.
The study, which is published in the journal Australasian Journal of Developmental Psychology, found that the majority of people interviewed believed that ATIs did not have a strong sense of belonging.
The report was conducted with the help of more than 1000 people, including parents and grandparents, and found that ATI children were more likely to believe that they had been discriminated against than their non-Aboriginal peers.
The results, based on the research of a large sample of more then 500 ATIs, found the following:There is an extremely high rate of racial discrimination in the workplace, with Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander employees and other Aboriginal and non-Aborigine staff being subject to higher levels of racial abuse and discrimination than non-ABIS workers.
There is a large gap between what ATIs and non ATIs believe about their own ethnicity, with only one-third of respondents believing that ATIS children are at the top of the socio-economic ladder.
The research also found that Aboriginal and NT adults felt more connected to Aboriginal and other Torres Strait Islander people than other Australians.
“These findings highlight the importance of understanding the cultural and social context in which ATI people live, particularly as this may be particularly important for ATI families,” the report states.
“The current focus on how to bridge the gap between Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples in Australia, and to make better use of their experiences, will only serve to exacerbate the existing inequalities in Australia.”
The study’s authors, Professor Daniel Pomeroy and Dr Rebecca Smith, also found a significant lack of awareness of the social, economic and social challenges faced by the ATI community.
The authors state that, in the short-term, the study provides valuable information about the ATIs living situation, but, in a long-term future, it could inform how we better support them.
“It is crucial to recognise that this is a long term and multi-generational project,” they say.
“This research is a first step to understand how Aboriginal and Aussies can benefit from this knowledge.”
If you or someone you know is in need, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
“Read the full report here.