Indigenous People’s Experiences and Expectations of Health Care Professionals When Accessing Care for Family Violence: A Qualitative Evidence Synthesis

Publication Name

Trauma, Violence, and Abuse


Although many Indigenous peoples demonstrate resilience and strength despite the ongoing impact colonization has on their peoples, evidence suggests poor experiences and expectations of health care professionals and access to health care. Health care professionals play an essential role in responding to family violence (FV), yet there is a paucity of evidence detailing Indigenous people’s experiences and expectations of health care professionals in the context of FV. Using a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies, this article aims to address the following research question: What are Indigenous people’s experiences and expectations of health care professionals when experiencing FV? The inclusion criteria comprised a qualitative study design, Indigenous voices, and a focus on expectations and experiences of health care professionals when FV is experienced. Reviewers independently screened article abstracts, and the findings from included papers were subject to a thematic analysis. Six studies were included in the final meta-synthesis representing studies from Australia, the Americas, and New Zealand. Three themes were identified. Health care professionals need to center the Indigenous person in the care they provide and demonstrate cultural awareness of how history and culture influence an individual’s care requirements. Health care professionals also need to ensure they are connecting for trust with the Indigenous person, by slowly developing a rapport, yarning, and investing in the relationship. Finally, Indigenous peoples want their health care professional to work on strengthening safety from culturally inappropriate care, institutional control, and potential lack of confidentiality associated with tight-knit communities.

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Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



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