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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

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To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.

Safer Pathways for CALD Women: Capricornia Families are Everyone’s Business


Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours (WIN)

 

What is the project about?

Aims

The aim of the Safer Pathways for CALD Women: Capricornia Families are Everyone’s Business project was to maximise opportunities for CALD women in Rockhampton to receive educational information and resources about domestic and family violence, including its causes and consequences.

Action research focus

The focus of the action research conducted was to:

  • establish the most successful methods of providing information about domestic and family violence and support services within the regional area of Rockhampton;
  • improve upon the delivery and provision of information and resources; and
  • identify the key relationships required to best address the needs, challenges and barriers of CALD families in Rockhampton to accessing domestic and family violence services.

Project activities

  • Interactive information sessions.
  • A women’s group, WAVES, for CALD women to meet others whilst also providing opportunities to connect directly with local service providers or organisations. This group, established in the latter part of the project, participated in activities such as a fitness sessions, yoga, creating domestic and family violence resource packs and arts and crafts. 22 women participated in these activities.
  • Engaging leaders and men within local CALD communities to support awareness of domestic and family violence, promote the importance of having healthy relationships and highlight how each of us has the power to make a positive change in creating safer families and communities.
  • Collaborating with several services to raise the profile of domestic and family violence support in Rockhampton whilst also getting an understanding of knowledge and understanding in responding to CALD women impacted by violence.
  • Direct referrals were made to local domestic and family violence, family support and legal services.

Research activities

  • Feedback from 73 participants was provided after the presentation of domestic and family violence information sessions. Of these 73 participants, 18 were recorded verbally after it was determined that these participants were more comfortable with verbal, rather than written, feedback.
  • Feedback from 31 attendees was provided by participants of the Safer Pathways for CALD Families forum. The forum was held in May 2019 and provided organisations, support services and community members with knowledge, tools and resources to help families from CALD backgrounds access the support they need. In total, 72 people from 36 different organisations or groups attended.
  • Reflective practice after meetings, interviews and information sessions.
  • Keeping a count of the number of women referred from our project to appropriate domestic and family violence service and recording any feedback, if given, about their experiences.
  • Sharing knowledge and learning from similar projects through meetings, workshops and communities of practice.

 

Where was the project conducted?

The project focussed on CALD communities in Rockhampton, primarily those who used WIN’s services or those who had been invited to participate in activities run by WIN.

 

Time frame:

December 2017 – June 2020

 

How has this project impacted communities, organisations and the region?

  • 73 participants of the information sessions were presented with information about:
    • the behaviours of an abusive relationship;
    • support services available for those seeking support or further information; and
    • ways in which we can support someone who is impacted by domestic and family violence.
  • Information packs were made by participants of the WAVES women’s group that provided an envelope of resources that had brochures about domestic and family violence. Feedback provided by one of the participants was that “these packs are a really good idea as they do not show what kind of information is inside.”
  • 13 local men participated in conversations about healthy and respectful relationships and three of these men were involved in a video campaign that was promoted publicly on social media. The three videos were viewed over 8200 times on Facebook.

 

What worked well?

  • Working with a bi-cultural volunteer during some sessions. While the numbers of attendees were not that high within these sessions, anecdotal evidence shows that attendees were more involved during the session and asked more questions. Furthermore, 80% of these participants were involved in other WIN activities that suggests the bi-cultural volunteer encouraged a higher level of engagement than for those who attended a service through an organisation or educational institute. This could be significant when driving change and challenging actions that reinforce the drivers of violence.
  • Flexibility in changing information session content based on appropriateness and feedback received.
  • At the Safer Pathways for CALD Families forum, using the lived experiences of migrant women who had relocated to Rockhampton to provide their challenges and success stories when integrating into the community. This gave practitioners factors and insights to consider when supporting a CALD woman.
  • Collaborations with other services to raise awareness and address domestic and family violence issues. This includes participating in videos to use in information sessions that show participants who they might meet and what support they provide to people impacted by domestic and family violence.

 

What did not work?

  • Hosting an information session at the office during work hours. The timing and location of activities seemed to be a contributing factor to low attendance numbers.
  • Having regular meetings with CALD leaders during work hours. Feedback revealed that such meetings were best held in the evenings or weekends.
  • Over-complicating feedback forms and providing only English text.
  • Change of staffing affecting the momentum of the project and the need to rebuild relationships.

 

What did you learn from the project?

  • Shifting the approach from a domestic and family violence project to one that promoted respectful relationships changed the dynamics in the conversations that were held with CALD people. Talking directly about domestic and family violence often raised barriers. Discussions about hosting an information session about domestic and family violence were declined three separate times with the reason being not knowing anyone with relationship problems.
  • Services and networks within Rockhampton are connected and collaborate well. This has been evident through partnerships at three different domestic and family violence specific events with three separate services that provide domestic and family violence support. The openness of organisations working together, the sharing of knowledge and participation in each other’s events, was also demonstrated at the Safer Pathways for CALD Families forum where local services, along with services outside of the area, attended or presented on the day.
  • Simplifying messaging on feedback forms is important. Anecdotal evidence taken after an information session at an educational institute noted two instances where participants were unable to read the form, but completed it anyway. This might also highlight a need to have access to translated documents to ensure that everyone is able to provide feedback, regardless of English proficiency.

 

Do you have suggestions for policy- makers, educators and service providers?

  • When applying for funding, consider budgeting for translation and interpreting services and staff training for cultural awareness.
  • Invest the time and funds to build relationships with CALD leaders, conduct consultations and engage community members.
  • Consider translating resources into different languages and become knowledgeable in how to use accredited interpreters.
  • At times, it is necessary to seek interpreters outside of the state in order to keep CALD women safe and, where possible, request a female interpreter.

 

Where to from here?

WIN will continue to provide resources and information to all CALD communities, however, we will also seek to work more directly with specific community groups. With established partnerships and the success of the Safer Pathways for CALD Families forum, WIN will also seek opportunities to build upon the forum and the knowledge that was passed on to participants.

Moving forward, WIN believes in the importance of linking CALD people to mainstream services, especially those as important as domestic and family violence services and will work with communities and services to bridge that gap.

 

People and organisations to thank:

We acknowledge and give thanks to all participants, volunteers, ANROWS, Australian Government Department of Social Services and our local men involved in our campaigns about respectful relationships.

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