Domestic violence is a universal problem that affects all communities – in fact one in three Australian women have experienced violence. But the challenges of settlement in a new country increases the risk of domestic violence for refugee women.
Sadly, refugee women are staying silent about domestic violence. They are less likely to report domestic violence, staying silent due to cultural expectations and a need to ‘keep the family together’. They are afraid to speak out and unsure where to turn.
Refugee families arrive in Australia full of hope, ready to embrace freedom, opportunity and a brand new life but domestic violence can get in the way of family happiness.
The Australian Refugee Association (ARA) is located in Underdale and trains volunteer Community Educators to work with refugee communities on the frontline to build stronger, safer families. The volunteers work hand in hand with ARA, educating community members about domestic violence prevention, and stopping violence before it escalates. But government funding for this program has now ended – putting family happiness and safety in jeopardy.
ARA needs to train another 10 Community Educators in the next 12 months at a cost of $25,000, so has launched a campaign to raise the funds needed to keep their Building Stronger, Safer Communities (BSSC) Program going. It helps change lives and rebuilds relationships by working with refugee men to create change, and with refugee women and children to get the help they need.
In the past two years more than 267 people from 20 different communities have directly benefited from 27 community led information sessions, events and consultations with ARA and other supportive agencies. Importantly, there is a ‘ripple effect’ after these events, with information flowing on through word of mouth and communication by respected community leaders.
Find out more about the work being done by the Australian Refugee Association at https://www.australianrefugee.org or visit their fundraising page to donate to their Community Educators’ appeal to stem domestic violence.
Credit: “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” cover image by Sidney Sims