Roebourne has become notorious as one of the most socially dysfunctional towns in Australia, blighted by alcohol and drug problems, and rampant child abuse. But in the face of this, a group of people are fighting to save the Pilbara town from itself.
The town of Roebourne has been blighted by social problems, but the community refuses to give up. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)
On any given night, Violet Samson’s home acts like a de facto safe house in Roebourne.
She will have upwards of eight or nine people — family members and other children — squeezed into every available space in her small three-bedroom unit on one of the town’s main residential streets.
“Bring ’em in. Can’t chuck them out in the street. Keep them here for sleep, give them a rest and sleep and a feed,” the senior Ngarluma elder and great-great-grandmother says.
She is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep families together and protect children who are otherwise at risk from alcohol, drugs, violence and sexual abuse in the streets or in the overcrowded homes of broken families.
“That’s why I’ve got to be strong sometimes. Drugs came into my family. Separated the mother and father’s family. I have to pick up the pieces, looking after the children,” she says.
She is one of many women across Roebourne who do the same thing — try to keep the children safe and give them a place to…
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