Join the conversation – Intimate partner violence in Australian refugee and immigrant communities: Culturally safe strategies for practice

Join the conversation – Intimate partner violence in Australian refugee and immigrant communities: Culturally safe strategies for practice

27 March 2019
Cropped shot of two people holding hands in comfort

This webinar focused on what works to meet the needs of women from refugee and immigrant backgrounds who experience intimate partner violence.

This webinar discussed the emerging research on how service providers can ensure appropriate support is available to women from refugee and immigrant backgrounds. It included an outline of practical strategies to support community involvement and leadership, cultural safety and trauma-informed care. The webinar also discussed what works to help implement these strategies, with a focus on current examples of practical strategies to address challenges to service delivery in rural and regional settings.

A full recording of the webinar and related resources, including slides, audio and a transcript, is now available.

The full recording of the webinar is also available on our YouTube Channel.

Related resources and further reading


Are there any similar services provided for migrant women in Adelaide?
Yes, the Migrant Women's Support Program provides services specifically for migrant women in SA.
Adele Murdolo
Could you expand on the specifics/ give examples of "wrap around services" for refugee women and children?
Check out the work that is done by the Murdoch Children's Research institute in Victoria - they provide a great example of provision of wrap around support to refugee families and have written widely about the use of community consultations, bicultural workers, and cultural safety in their approach.
Alissar El-Murr
Hi there. I was hoping to follow up re working with Men who are refugees around men's/fathers identity and the power/gender dynamics we have seen in working with fathers if possible.
Check out the work of Samual Muchoki, who does some work around the challenges facing men regarding their identities and intimate relationships. His work predominately focuses on refugee and immigrant men from the Horn of Africa. The Multicultural Centre for Women's Health in Victoria is also involved in primary prevention pilot programs targeting men from refugee and immigrant backgrounds - check out their website for more info.
Alissar El-Murr
What kind of things should child protection consider when conducting its risk assessments? How should child protection maintain cultural safety with limited FV outreach support services for CALD women and children?
While the challenge of under-resourcing can limit what you are able to do in this area, there are a couple of achievvable things you could do to make your response culturally safe. For example, providing contact details of ethno-specific and refugee/immigrant support agencies, having a list of female interpreters to call on, and ensuring that you are providing language appropriate information.
Alissar El-Murr
Is it possible to share the reference to the report mentioned that was produced by an academic from the Flinders university on the immi barriers? Thank you.
Marie Segrave and Lana Zannettino are the researchers I mentioned in the webinar, doing great work on violence against women on temporary visas. Their work is available on the Internet, and for names of specific reports, check out the reference listed at the end of the CFCA paper Intimate partner violence in Australian refugee communities: Scoping review of issues and service responses.
Alissar El-Murr
Is it possible to access the presentation/webinar conducted by Jatinder Kaur as mentioned in this webinar in the last two slides?
It can be accessed here:
Alissar El-Murr
Hi this is Pauline, how can organisations involved with qualified CALD people in their workplace because working with these people may be important to addressing the issues of any violence and as someone mentioned before?
A culturally diverse workforce strengthens an inclusive response to people from refugee and immigrant backgrounds. Involving community leaders and partnering with ethno-specific agencies can also work in positive ways to address family and domestic violence.
Alissar El-Murr
Do you think it is harder for individuals who are experiencing family violence in regional area to recover than urban areas?
As Adele mentioned in the webinar, it can be really difficult for women from refugee and immigrant backgrounds who also live in rural areas, to access support for family and domestic violence. There are also less services in regional areas, which can be a huge issue as well.
Alissar El-Murr
Hello. What are the speakers thoughts about respectful relationship education for young people in CALD communities as a primary prevention measure? I'm currently involved in reviewing recognised & accredited programs i.e Love Bites Program. Are there particular issues we need to be aware of when working with young people from CALD communities or are there any recommendations of other appropriate programs they may be familiar with?
Respectful relationship education as part of primary prevention work is incredibly important. The same kind of strategies for promising practice mentioned in the CFCA paper can be incorporated into this kind of education for young people from refugee and immigrant backgrounds. For example, providing language appropriate information when needed and involving community leaders in endorsing this kind of education in their communities.
Alissar El-Murr
How can service providers best inform women from CALD backgrounds that FV is not acceptable and to empower them to seek support (despite all the barriers)?
Providing culturally appropriate and language appropriate information can be really useful. Meeting with community leaders and providing them with information to then distribute to others in their community is also a good way in.
Alissar El-Murr
I find working in the health sector, that cultural competency is greatly talked about, but very limited informed discussion about what this means, Cultural Safety features even less in mainstream health education and practise. How can deficits be overcome. Management needs to take responsibility.
You're right, management taking a lead is really important. Culture is just one aspect of a person, but is really important to recognise in service dleivery. It's also important to recognise in institutions. Practitioners can ask managmenet for approval to attend training courses or seminars etc, but at the end of the day, it needs to be built into part of how the institution and the workers interact with clientele; ie: part of systems.
Alissar El-Murr
Are women outside the Brisbane contact IWSS (there) for assistance if the women live outside that catchment area?
The Immigrant Women's Support Service abides to catchment areas but with flexibility to ensure access to support when required. Therefore, if the women reside outside the catchment area, we'll assess on a case by case basis with a view to provide the support ourselves (within the limitation of being outside the catchment area, ie. support may be offered only by phone if travel is an issue. However we can make referrals as long as the person resides in Queensland) or make a facilitiated referral or provide the details of another relevant service.
Cecilia Barassi...
How do you support women with children or advocate on their behalf when it comes to working with child protection agency in your state?
The protection of children is an essential part of supporting children affected by domestic and family violence. We have an organisational policy that is expliained to clients on engagement in relation to limits of condifentiality. We explain the need for protection children of further harm and advise clients of the process of reporting to relevant authorities. We can assist with the reporting whilst we provide resources and information to the protective parent. This may be in the form of accommodation in a women's refuge or access to other support. Our policy seeks to ensure we raise awareness of the impact of violence on children and to protect the children from further harm by assisting with reporting or making a report if required. We discuss these matters with the protective parent and offer options, which also include reporting ourselves.
Cecilia Barassi...
Do you find interpreters are used enough and are they used well?
We work with interpreters on a regular basis and have a policy that informs on the procedure for engaging interpreters. In February 2018 we hosted a professional development activity for interpreters working in domestic violence settings. This year, we are running a similar session but focusing of interpreting in the context of sexual violence. We value the role of interpreters and we see them as contributors to the success of our work.
Cecilia Barassi...
There are many issues of concern when interpreters are needed in family and domestic violence cases. Some of these include lack of availability of suitably trained interpreters, inconsistent use of interpreters, insufficient support of debriefing provided to interpreters after they have attended family violence situations. Please see the attached fact sheet. Our key recommendation is that a specialist team of specifically trained and supported interpreters be available in each state for family violence cases. You may also wish to look at the following fact sheet on interpreter use and family violence
Adele Murdolo

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