Enhancing access to family dispute resolution for families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

AFRC Briefing No. 18 – November 2010


One of the key principles informing good practice with culturally and linguistically diverse communities is to acknowledge diversity within and across-cultural groups, and to tailor services appropriately (Page, Whitting, & Mclean, 2007). The concepts and language we use to talk about cultural diversity can tend to work against that very objective. The CALD acronym referring to cultural and linguistic diversity tends to homogenise ethnic minority communities and to erase that diversity. However, as this is the term currently used in Australia, and it has informed policy and data gathering frameworks, I will continue to use it in this paper (Commonwealth Interdepartmental Committee on Multicultural Affairs, 2001; Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 1999). The cultural groups most often disadvantaged and marginalised from mainstream services are those whose English language proficiency is limited, and whose cultural norms, values, beliefs and practices are collectivistic in orientation (Sawrikar & Katz, 2008; Luckett, Blignault, & Eisenbruch, 2006). It is these cultural groups who are the main focus of this discussion.