Barbara O’Neill, Aboriginal Support Worker

‘Untold Stories’ Barbara O’Neill’s DVD and presentation at the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference will provide a unique perspective on the impacts of ageing on Aboriginal people.


Barbara O’Neill is a Dunghutti woman born on the Gadigal Country of the Eora Nation. She is currently working as an Aboriginal Support Worker at the Junction Neighbourhood Centre (Maroubra). Her presentation at Together Making Change draws on research she did in her recently completed Post-Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Trauma Recovery and Practice at Wollongong University. Currently Barbara is completing a Post-Graduate Diploma in Counselling at the Australian College of Applied Psychology.


In an interview with Seniors Rights Service O’Neill discussed the impact of complex inter-generational trauma stemming from the ongoing affects colonisation and dispossession. “Elder Abuse increases the pain and trauma of the loss of place in communities that our elders and older people have endured due to the historical context of colonisation and genocide,” she said. “Many older Aboriginal people have direct experience of genocide, missions, stolen children, stolen wages, racism and apartheid. Is it any wonder elder abuse is underreported when the lived experienced is mistrust of authority, especially police and government departments?”


Barbara also says that giving community recognised elders a role in addressing elder abuse would ensure effective community-led responses. “Let local elder groups sort out the reasons for the abuse in their own unique community. Listen to older people and take seriously why this problem is in their community. Responses have to come from within the community.”


Listen to an interview with Barbara O’Neill where she discusses what can be done to support elders and prevent abuse of older people in Aboriginal communities.
And register now at Together Making Change and join us in finding solutions that will prevent elder abuse in our communities.