Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victim/survivors of sexual violence

Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victim/survivors of sexual violence

Challenges and opportunities for practitioners

Annabelle Allimant and Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski

ACSSA Wrap No. 9 — February 2011
Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victim/survivors of sexual violence

This Wrap aims to raise awareness of the circumstances of refugee and immigrant women who are survivors of sexual violence as they establish new lives in Australia - the lifetime journey that may haunt them, the continuing trauma they may suffer, and the personal and systemic barriers they meet in accessing support.

More than two decades of practice knowledge from the Immigrant Women's Support Service (IWSS) in Queensland informs this paper. IWSS has a history of 24 years of direct service delivery to women and their accompanying children who are from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB), who have at any time in their lives experienced domestic and family violence and/or sexual violence. In this Wrap we:

  • bring to light the issues faced by counsellors and women victim/survivors as they traverse two cultures;
  • define some of the expectations and assumptions that women encounter when they attempt to access support services;
  • discuss how this can result in exclusion and discrimination for some women; and
  • suggest good practice for service providers in relation to effective cross-cultural service provision for CALD background women who have been subjected to sexual violence.

This Wrap is primarily of interest to workers in the sexual assault and domestic violence fields. However, it will be of value to practitioners who provide support to refugee and immigrant women in a broad range of service areas including health, housing and education.

Authors and Acknowledgements

Annabelle Allimant has been a member of a multicultural NGO's Board and was the Director of IWSS for a number of years. She currently works within the Mater Health Services in Brisbane.

Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski is the coordinator of the Sexual Assault Program at IWSS.

Publication details

ACSSA Wrap
No. 9
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, February 2011.
6 pp.
ISSN: 
1833-7864
ISBN: 
978-1-921414-56-5
Suggested citation:

Allimant, A., & Ostapiej-Piatkowski, B. (2011). Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victim/survivors of sexual violence: Challenges and opportunities for practitioners (ACSSA Wrap No. 9). Melbourne: Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

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