EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Preventing coercive control for migrant and refugee women
This project is designed to lead the development of the evidence-base on the specificity of the domestic and family violence (DFV) experience among migrant and refugee women, with a focus on coercive control. Coercive control is an area of policy that is attracting increasing attention across Australia and elsewhere, with specific interest in the value of criminalising this practice specifically (or, as the case in Tasmania, criminalising related behaviours such as intimidation and emotional abuse). Coercive control is understood to be a key feature of DFV with research (e.g., Ptacek, 1999; Stark, 2007) pointing to the long-term, ongoing and pervasive nature of practices that are often not physical and compound to have a devastating and controlling impact on the individual. What is less well known about coercive control is the extent to which it may manifest in specific and particular ways in different communities, including among women who identify as migrants and refugees.
Recent research has demonstrated that migrant and refugee women experience specific forms of DFV (e.g., Segrave, Wickes, & Keele, 2021, Boxall & Morgan, 2021) but there is limited research specifically on coercive control. This research seeks to contribute to understandings of how these practices may be identified, understood and responded to by those who are the target of such actions but also by the wider community. Ensuring there is clarity in understanding is an important first step as this can help to inform efforts to prevent these practices.
The project is designed to achieve the following aims:
to review the extant research on coercive control for migrant and refugee women; and
to explore experiences and understandings of coercive control with a sample of men and women from migrant and refugee backgrounds across Victoria.
This research has two key phases:
Phase one: Expert desk review
Phase two: Qualitative research with migrant and refugee women and men
Phase One: Review of knowledge
We undertook a comprehensive desk review (approx. 12,000 words) of existing academic and grey literature on migrant and refugee women’s experiences of coercive control and prevention. We found that while research on coercive control against migrant women is emerging, evidence on the effectiveness of prevention efforts remains limited.