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

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

Presenters: Dr Alissar El-Murr Dr Adele Murdolo & Cecilia Barassi-Rubio

CFCA Webinar 27 March 2019

Please note: The views expressed in this webinar are those of the presenters, and may not reflect those of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, or the Australian Government.

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4. Intimate partner violence in Australian refugee communities

Child Family Community Australia

DrAlissar El-Murr

Ethics approval for this research was obtained through the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ human research ethics committee.

5. Who are we talking about?

6. Research design

This project brings together two pieces of work:

  1. Comprehensive scoping review of the available literature, which provides an overview of the underlying issues and relevant factors associated with IPV in Australian refugee communities.
  2. Qualitative stakeholder consultations with organisations of importance to refugee communities in Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria to contribute to the emerging body of literature on promising practice.

7. Forms of IPV and underlying, intersecting factors

Main forms of IPV:

  • Physical & sexual violence
  • Financial abuse
  • Reproductive coercion

Intersecting factors:

  • Acculturation stress
  • Traumatic pre-arrival experiences

8. Barriers to help-seeking

This is a table identifying the barriers to seeking help.

Immigration status
Precarity of temporary visas; access & eligibility for services; FV provisions.

Limited knowledge of rights and services
Distrust of authorities; concerns about consequences; lack of language appropriate information.

Language barriers
English language skills less developed than their partner; lack of language appropriate information; social isolation.

Issues with interpreters:

  • Limited number/availability
  • Limited number of female interpreters
  • Fears regarding confidentiality.

9. Barriers to help-seeking (cont.)

Lack of cultural safety
Reluctance to report due to legal and social understandings of IPV in country of origin.

Fear and distrust of authorities
Past traumatic experiences with authorities (e.g.: systemic violence and persecution) can be exploited by those who use IPV.

Family and community factors
Informal networks of community leaders and friend/family preferred over formal systems of support for IPV; fear of social isolation is a major factor in decisions to report IPV.

10. Promising practice

This is a table showing strategies and practical examples from services.

Community involvement and leadership

  • Training about family violence delivered to CALD communities
  • Training for staff from CALD community leaders
  • Support for women’s empowerment activities
  • Community co-design for research and evaluation
  • Community advisory groups
  • Bicultural workers act as ‘cultural brokers’ for mainstream service providers

11. Promising practice (cont.)

Cultural safety

  • Safety planning underpinned by a strengths-based approach
  • Apply discretionary strategies (often used in family violence services) to mitigate risk of disclosures and support client privacy
  • Address and support the needs identified by CALD women in a culturally safe way as opposed to imposing a service agenda
  • Training provided to workers on how to respond to disclosures from women

12. Promising practice (cont.)

Integrated, trauma-informed care

  • Coordinate with other community services to provide outreach to women at various locations
  • Address and support the needs identified by CALD women in a culturally safe way as opposed to imposing a service agenda
  • Staff draw on culturally safe and empowering strategies in safety planning (underpinned by a strengths-based approach)
  • Address and support the needs identified by CALD women in a culturally safe way as opposed to imposing a service agenda
  • Training provided to workers on how to respond to disclosures from women

13. Adele Murdolo
Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH)

14. Community involvement and leadership

15. Cultural safety and trauma-informed care

16. Primary prevention strategies

17. Implementing culturally safe practices and building capacity

18. Cecilia Barassi-Rubio
Immigrant Women’s Support Service (IWSS)

19. Working with women from migrant and refugee backgrounds in regional/rural areas

20. Training and capacity building

21. Applying cultural safety in practice

22. Intimate partner violence in Australian refugee communities

CFCA Information Exchange - decisions in policy and practice
aifs.gov.au/cfca

Dr Alissar El-Murr
Email: Alissar.El-Murr@aifs.gov.au

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