The intersection of Culture, Trauma Informed and Self-Determination Theory: Protect, Connect and Heal 


Ms Sue-Anne Hunter


Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency


‘As a proud Wurundjeri woman, I look to leaders and Elders of my Community for inspiration, strength and knowledge. My Aunties, Sisters, Cousins and Elders have raised me, shaped me and taught me throughout my life. Despite the many injustices inflicted on my people, and while there is still much pain that we face, our mob are continuing to fight injustice and heal together through practicing and strengthening culture’. This presentation will draw from Sue-Anne’s story, the story of the Wurundjeri people and her experience of working for over 18 years with the Aboriginal Community, on behalf of the Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency (VACCA) most recently as the organisation’s Principle Practitioner to illustrate the intersection of culture, trauma informed and self-determination theories which comprise VACCA’s whole of agency approach to healing, Cultural Therapeutic Ways. Cultural Therapeutic Ways places children and families at the centre of the way that services are delivered, with culture as the dorroong-(Woiwurrung)-the heart of program design. Cultural Therapeutic Ways is Aboriginal led and celebrates sovereignty over our wellbeing through a focus on the social determinants of Aboriginal wellbeing, regular opportunities for participation in cultural observances and practices, strengthening of Aboriginal identity and belonging, access to culturally appropriate services and capacity for engagement and relationship building, information provision, self-management, choice, decision making, problem solving, participation, having a say, leadership and advocacy. This presentation will illustrate what self-determination really means for the Aboriginal people and families who access VACCA services and VACCA.

Sue-Anne Hunter is a proud Wurundjeri woman, committed to self-determination, advocating for the rights of Aboriginal children, young people and families and strengthening culture. She has worked at The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) for 18 years and is currently the organisations Principal Practitioner with oversight of all the clinical healing services and is the central point for the development of an integrated culturally appropriate and trauma informed approach to working with Aboriginal children and families.