Sustainable Families: Looking at the Relationship between Culture, Alcohol and Other Drugs and Family Violence

Dr Charmaine Power,
Dr. Charlotte Francis Champion de Crespigny,
Nam H Dang
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Nowhere are the indications of the strength of families more threatened than those in which people are experiencing all the attendant problems related to the harmful use of alcohol and other drugs, and their intersection with family violence. This is often exacerbated in those families whose traditional cultural base has been eroded by forced and violent imposition of values, beliefs and social mores of a more dominant culture. Our aim in this paper is to present a collaborative exploration of common issues Australian Indigenous and Vietnamese families face as they attempt to cope with and support their people with alcohol or other drug problems, including family violence. We draw on data from a small, qualitative study of Aboriginal grandmothers’ family role in relation to addressing drug and alcohol related family violence and recent developments in Vietnam aimed at supporting families with drug problems. The focus of the paper is therefore the erosion of traditional roles of elders associated with harmful drug use of family members, and strategies proposed by elders to re-build families and provide culturally appropriate leadership and responses to addressing drug use problems and violence that have devastated families and compromised their sustainability. The argument emphasises the centrality of cultural and social sustainability of families as a basis for broader social resilience and strength.

Keywords: Families, Culture, Alcohol and other drugs, Family violence
Stream: Cultural Sustainability, Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Charmaine Power

Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Flinders University

Dr. Charlotte Francis Champion de Crespigny

Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Flinders University

Nam H Dang

Project officer, Clinical Policy and Research Division, Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, Adelaide University

Ref: S06P0395