About Rosemary’s Lived Experience Framework
Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
Rosemary brings nearly 30 years of lived experiences to the Australian Institute for Loss and Grief making it fully equipped to present a deeper and more meaningful explanation that’s not seen as an excuse but an explanation, regarding how and why the shocking statistics amongst Aboriginal communities continue to rise, even after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), which Rosemary served on for 2.5 years. During her time in the RCIADIC she was ‘surrounded’ with death and dying and recalls ‘I didn’t know it could be called losses and unresolved grief’. After her time on the RCIADIC she could identify a major gap in services to the Aboriginal community – not just counselling but more specifically, culturally appropriate loss and grief counselling.
Rosemary’s lived experiences compelled her to study with Bereavement Educational Service in Adelaide (SA) and in so doing two things happened: she experienced a western perspective and learnt how to use loss and grief language. Now she knew the importance of adapting it to explain and not to excuse ‘Aboriginal Disadvantage’! Her Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief ‘showed’ intergenerational suppressed, unresolved grief that has compounded and complicated contemporary losses and suppressed unresolved grief has a lot to answer to in regards to what is commonly referred to as Aboriginal disadvantage.
Bi-Cultural Awareness and Inclusion programs
It was just a matter of time before Rosemary’s Bi-Cultural Awareness and Inclusion programs use the Seven Phases model as her personal ‘case study’. She presents her ‘lived experiences’ as a ‘perfect’ microcosm to vindicate Aboriginal disadvantage. Her lived experiences are ‘evidenced based’ that proves there is life after 1788 and the Stolen Generation experiences whereby we can achieve and maintain Aboriginal prosperity. As with all the programs designed by the Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief the programs are presented without any shame or blame; it brought to the forefront that loss and grief is a human experience, therefore doesn’t discriminate and uncovered respectfully Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal similarities as well as our differences.
Rosemary is proud to acknowledge her non-academic background, however, one of her proudest moments in her life’s work is seeing her Seven Phases model published in academic and non-academic journals. Being from a non-academic background statistics aren’t the centre of attention. However, what it does bring to the forefront is the human devastation relating to these statistics.
The Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief model has attracted much interest from many fields in South Australia and Australia. It has been acknowledged by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, academics, psychologists and psychiatrists including a presentation to third year psychiatrist students in July 18th (2016) in Adelaide. Rosemary realized she had a right, a role and a responsibility to ‘dismantle’ Plato’s misconception that grief is ‘illogical’ and a ‘weakness’, she now knows grieving strengthen and sustains what she calls the innate human ‘Intuitive Intelligence’©.
- SA Government – An SA Health Finalist in Mental Health Excellence and Innovation Awards (2016)
- Shortlisted – Indigenous Governance Awards Program – Office of Reconciliation Australia (2016)
- Outstanding Health Project/Program – Aboriginal Health Council (SA) NAIDOC Health Awards 2016
- Australian Ethnic Award Nomination 2012
- Recipient of Gladys Elphick Award 2011
- Winner: South Australian of the Year 2009 – Community Award
- Telstra Business Women of the Year Nomination 2000
- Zonta Club of Adelaide – Women of Achievement Award South Australia 2000
- ICAM – Living Black. SBS Documentary – Indigenous Unit 1999