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Little Towns, Big Voices (ATOM Study Guide)

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Little Towns, Big Voices (2016), a documentary written and directed by Fran Dobbie for Earthstar Productions, is an investigation of domestic violence in regional and rural communities across Australia. Through interviews and re-enactments, the documentary explores people's personal encounters with domestic violence and its impact on individuals, families and communities.

There is a scourge eating away at communities, particularly our regional communities. It's almost like a silent killer, and it's unseen a lot of the time, except for the people who experience it, and yet it affects everybody in those communities. – Peter Garrett

Domestic violence is a significant problem in Australian society. Labelled an epidemic by some, current statistics reflect the critical importance of taking action as a society to challenge and change attitudes to domestic violence. Little Towns, Big Voices provides an insight into the impact of domestic violence on individuals and families, particularly for those who live in Australia's regional and rural communities.

In close-knit communities, speaking out is all the more difficult. Victims of domestic violence choose to suffer in silence rather than risk exposing the truth about their situation. This is true of the women who share their experiences of being subject to ongoing situations of domestic violence. While most of the victims and witnesses to domestic violence remain unidentified in Little Towns, Big Voices, Mandy bravely faces the camera and provides a harrowing account of her husband's abusive and aggressive behaviour.

Little Towns, Big Voices highlights how one regional community is challenging domestic violence and creating change for future generations. Heather Blackley, Senior Project Officer at Western Plains Regional Development Inc., is dedicated to protecting the women, and men, who are hurt by domestic violence. So to is Senior Constable Daniel Greef from the New South Wales Police Force. Musician and former Federal Labor Minister Peter Garrett voices his concerns about the damage caused by domestic violence and the urgent need to break the silence that allows the abuse to be perpetrated.

Curriculum links

This study guide to accompany Little Towns, Big Voices has been written for students in Years 10–12. It provides information and suggestions for learning activities in the following subject areas:

  • Civics and Citizenship (Year 10)
  • English
  • Health and Physical Education / Health and Human Development
  • Media Arts
  • Legal Studies (Years 11–12)
  • Sociology (Years 11–12)
  • Psychology (Years 11–12)
  • Community Services (Years 11–12)
  • Human Services (Years 11–12)
  • General Capabilities:
    • Personal and Social Capability
    • Ethical Understanding

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