Intimate partner violence in Australian refugee and immigrant communities: Culturally safe strategies for practice

Intimate partner violence in Australian refugee and immigrant communities: Culturally safe strategies for practice

Alissar El-Murr, Adele Murdolo and Cecilia Barassi-Rubio

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

Cropped shot of two people holding hands in comfort

This webinar was held on Wednesday, 27 March 2019. 

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube Channel.

The audio, transcript and presentation slides are available under Event Resources on this page. 

A list of resources related to this topic is available on our post-webinar forum.

Intimate partner violence is the most commonly experienced form of family and domestic violence used against women in Australia. It takes place across all cultures and faith groups, including in refugee and immigrant communities. There is an emerging body of research investigating how services can better meet the needs of these culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

This webinar discussed the emerging research on how service providers can ensure appropriate support is available to this client group. 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. 

This webinar is of interest for those working with CALD communities, particularly refugee communities, and practitioners seeking a greater understanding of the intersecting systemic and social issues affecting service engagement. 

This webinar built upon findings of a recent CFCA paper that brought together research and practice-based strategies to support women from refugee backgrounds:


Featured image: © GettyImages/PeopleImages

About the presenters

Alissar El-Murr

Dr Alissar El-Murr is a Senior Research Officer at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Alissar trained as a social scientist and has expertise in violence against women, public health policy and programming, and qualitative methods. Alissar has worked in academic settings, and in non-government organisations focused on culturally and linguistically diverse communities and the prevention of violence against women and their children. At the Institute, she is currently undertaking research that explores the support services available to victims/survivors of violence in Australian communities.

Adele Murdolo

Dr Adele Murdolo is from an Italian migrant background and has led the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health as its Executive Director for 17 years. She has a PhD in History and Women’s Studies, and her research and publication areas include women’s health, violence against women and feminist history and activism in Australia. Adele is a passionate speaker and advocate for building the status of immigrant and refugee women through research, practice and policy. As Executive Director, she provides strong leadership, expert advice and input into policy.

Cecilia Barassi-Rubio

Cecilia Barassi-Rubio is the Director of the Immigrant Women's Support Service (IWSS), a specialist domestic violence and sexual assault support service for migrant and refugee women. IWSS has a long history of providing specialist services since 1986. It offers domestic violence and sexual assault responses from an integrated model of service delivery. 

Cecilia has been the IWSS Director for the last 10 years. Prior to this role, she worked in policy and program areas with the Violence Prevention Team (Queensland Government) and other program areas in Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich. Cecilia was the inaugural court support worker at the Brisbane Magistrates Court, employed by Legal Aid Queensland. She is a migrant from Chile. Her practice is driven by compassion, feminist principles and a commitment to social justice.