Personal story

Evaluation summary: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LDATs

body painted pregnant belly
body painted pregnant belly

Broome Local Drug Action Team ‘Beautiful Bumps’ program

The Local Drug Action Team program is made up of over 30% of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander LDATs, so it’s vital the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) understands how the program is working for these varied communities.

The ADF recently commissioned a study that interviewed primary contacts of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander-led LDATs.

The positive and informative results will be used to drive change in the Local Drug Action Team program, and to guide the ADF in better supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to implement effective community-led prevention activities.

Why was this research undertaken?

There are currently 23 active LDATs led by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander controlled organisation and 45 additional LDATs with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander controlled partner organisation. To inform its work, the ADF commissioned Kantar and Gilimbaa to undertake qualitative research to assist in the evaluation of the LDAT program.

The qualitative research comprised of 14 in-depth interviews with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations who lead LDATs within their respective communities. The research was conducted during June and July 2020.

Interviewed LDATs reported that the program was making a positive difference. They reflected that it creates new community networks and brings together people and organisations to work towards a positive future.

Building positive community initiatives

Interviewees’ fundamental motivation to be part of the LDAT program is to address important issues in their communities. They identified the LDAT program as relevant because it empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve their lives, as it is holistic and works at a community level to change attitudes.

The resources and support provided by the program also factored in interviewees decision to become an LDAT, and the program gave an opportunity to build on existing positive initiatives in local communities.

Key findings from the research included:

  • LDATs are able to develop programs attuned to the needs of the community and are community owned.
  • The programs had contributed to building connectiveness and belonging, strong partnerships, and positive outcomes.
  • The application process and Community Action Plans (CAP) were viewed positively.
  • LDATs have strong and positive relationships with their Relationship Managers at the ADF.
  • Interviewees value the support they receive, as well as the willingness of Relationship Managers to understand cultural and community needs. This includes undertaking face to face meetings and visiting the community and LDAT activities/events.
  • The ongoing, flexible and responsive support was valued, and this included: answering questions; discussing project ideas; feedback and guidance on applications and planning; provision of information and resources.

Driving change into the future

Interviewees reflected on a number of challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LDATs and offered some key recommendations for the program.

Challenges included the impact of Sorry Business, COVID-19 and access to venues and staff from the lead or partners organisations due to competing priorities or lack of resources. Sorry Business refers to the period of cultural practices and protocols associated with death or grief in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Key recommendations included simplifying the application process and language used to make it more accessible, and facilitating the sharing of experiences and what’s working amongst other LDATs, to assist in the development and planning process.

body painted pregnant belly