Intersectionality Matters: A new resource for preventing violence against women

MCWH is thrilled to launch the Intersectionality Matters: Guide to engaging immigrant and refugee communities to prevent violence against women.

An earlier version of this resource was developed for Women’s Health Services in Victoria.

Based on positive feedback, the guide has been broadened to address a wider audience. The Intersectionality Matters Guide aims to help people and organisations develop violence prevention approaches, strategies and activities in a way that meaningfully engages immigrant and refugee communities.

The Guide is divided into three parts: how to approach prevention, essential ingredients for meaningful violence prevention, and prevention in practice. The guide can be downloaded here or contact MCWH if you would like to order a copy.

Free cross-cultural ‘carers’ training for health and allied professionals in the City of Monash

Want to improve your support of carers from a CALD background?

Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) is offering it’s Beyond Cultural Competency course to professionals in the City of Monash who want to improve their support of carers from refugee and immigrant backgrounds.

The two-day workshop will:

  • help identify potential ‘hidden’ carers in your work;
  • enhance understanding of CALD carers and the unique barriers they face in accessing support services;
  • explore the concept of intersectionality and how we might apply it to our practice;
  • identify best practice principles including cultural and linguistic appropriateness, access and equity and collaboration;
  • offer professionals the opportunity to reflect on their practice, and develop strategies to improve their work with immigrant and refugee communities.

It is aimed at supporting professionals from:

  • General Practices (General practitioners, nurses, admin staff)
  • Respite Care Providers
  • Community Legal Centre
  • Centrelink
  • Local Council
  • Community Health Services
  • Schools or playgroups
  • Other relevant carer support or community organisation in the City of Monash

Currently two courses have been scheduled:

  • 27 October & 3 November (location TBC)
  • 9 November & 16 November (location TBC)

To register your interest or for more information please contact our training team on 1800 656 421 or training@mcwh.com.au.

Media Release: Multicultural women’s health organisation and aged care provider partnering for the primary prevention of family violence

Five women standing in the Southern Cross Care offices, from left to right.

We are proud to be launching our new project in partnership with Southern Cross Care (Vic)! Equality@Work is the first workplace prevention program in Australia to address gender inequality and other intersecting forms of inequality which make immigrant and refugee women particularly vulnerable to family violence and other forms of violence against women.

The project is funded by the Victorian Government through the Community Partnerships for Primary Prevention Program.

A violence prevention program by a community-based organisation for women of immigrant and refugee backgrounds and a not-for-profit aged care provider has been given a boost, thanks to a grant from the Victorian Government through the Community Partnerships for Primary Prevention Program.
The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) and Southern Cross Care (Vic) were delighted to receive a grant for their partnership project, Equality@Work, which aims to develop and implement a workplace model specific to immigrant and refugee female employees to prevent family violence and other forms of violence.

The partnership project will build on the existing relationship between the organisations. In 2013, Southern Cross Care (Vic) introduced a women’s health education program across the organisation followed by a women’s leadership program, both facilitated by MCWH.
“We are proud to partner with Southern Cross Care again, to build on previous and current initiatives that will further empower women and give them a stronger voice in the workplace,” said Adele Murdolo, Executive Director of MCWH.

“Female workers from immigrant and refugee backgrounds are a growing and increasingly dominant cohort within the Australian aged care workforce. As such, they are of critical importance to the sector’s viability in terms of addressing the need to care for Australia’s multicultural ageing population, which is expected to quadruple by 2050,” said Adele.

Executive Manager of Workforce and Culture at Southern Cross Care (Vic), Danielle Rose, said the grant will enable the organisation to further develop its gender equality and violence prevention model.

“Women account for over 88 per cent of our total workforce of 1400 employees, of which, more than 60 per cent are from an immigrant and refugee background,” she said. “Through our partnership with MCWH, we want to provide opportunities for women from a non-English speaking background to take a leadership role in championing gender equality and violence prevention, and to be involved in the engagement and development of a shared action plan that is meaningful to them.”

“As an accredited White Ribbon Workplace, we are committed to ending the cycle of violence against women. We will be engaging our White Ribbon Ambassador to assist in the promotion and facilitation of the project within the organisation,” said Danielle.

The Equality@Work project has commenced on 1 July. The model will be co-designed with staff at two locations – Southern Cross Care (Vic)’s community services office in the north-west region and the aged care home in Springvale. Once the model is developed, it can be adapted and implemented across all Southern Cross Care locations in Victoria. The project is expected to be completed in 12 months.

New international evidence on violence in immigrant and refugee communities

ASPIRE Flyer 2015 SEP with sites
A review of international evidence published today has confirmed that migration helps make immigrant and refugee women more vulnerable to men’s violence against women. Violence occurs in all communities and cultures across Australia, but immigrant and refugee women face structural disadvantages that exacerbate and intensify their experiences and makes it harder for them to act.

The comprehensive review of international and Australian research finds that factors such as immigration policy, temporary and dependant visa status, along with social isolation and economic insecurity flowing from the settlement process, all play a role in making women more vulnerable to violence.

The State of Knowledge report, prepared by the Analysing Safety and Place in Immigrant and Refugee Experience (ASPIRE) research team, finds that perpetrators of violence are enabled to use women’s precarious, dependant and temporary visa status to wield control and power, and to restrict women’s access to services and knowledge, including about their rights and entitlements.

Chief investigator, Dr Cathy Vaughan from the University of Melbourne states, “the literature indicates that this synergy between the system and the perpetrator means that immigrant and refugee women endure violence for longer periods before seeking help, and require more contacts with the service system before getting the help they need.”

The Review also finds that immigrant and refugee women experience the same kinds of violence as all other women, but that in addition they appear more likely to experience multi-perpetrator violence from extended family and community members. Co-investigator, Dr Adele Murdolo from the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health states, “there seem to be key points at which our system makes immigrant and refugee women more isolated and dependent, which increases the power that others have over them, and limits their options for safety.”

Download or read the report online.

 For more information or to arrange an interview, contact an ASPIRE spokesperson

 Dr Cathy Vaughan, University of Melbourne: 0417 116 468
Dr Adele Murdolo, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health: 0438 823 299

The ASPIRE research project, funded by the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), is a partnership between the University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania and the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health.

Our Voices, Changing Cultures Project published in Australian Mosiac magazine

MONIQUE

Monique Hameed is the Project Officer for the Our Voices, Changing Cultures Project currently being run at the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health. This fantastic project works with young same-sex attracted women from culturally diverse immigrant and refugee backgrounds running theatre workshops around themes including mental health and wellbeing. Monique has written a fantastic article on her experiences running the project, and reflects on the difficulties in traversing  the homophobia and transphobia from within cultures whilst also navigating racism and religious intolerance from within LGBT communities. (Starting from Page 23)