ANROWS Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Projects with Action Research (CALD PAR) Initiative

The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Projects with Action Research (CALD PAR) initiative is funded by the Department of Social Services and runs from November 2016 until November 2019.

Through this initiative, ANROWS is assisting 26 organisations across Australia to apply an action research approach into their projects that work with CALD communities on issues of family and domestic violence. This approach supports organisations to collect valuable daily information during the life of the project and to document the lessons learned.

ANROWS will support these organisations to design, implement, document, and share findings. It also will host three national conferences and support the creation of a community of practice to encourage organisations to build strong networks and routinely share ideas, successes, challenges, and lessons.

The central goal of action research is to create positive change and uncover practical solutions to local problems. It offers flexibility, collaboration, and is intended to build up a body of evidence during the course of everyday work that can inform similar initiatives. It requires ongoing reflection on project directions and outcomes and provides organisations with opportunities to adapt and change project activities - if required by changed circumstances or indicated through information gathered – to ensure that better outcomes are achieved. Action research encourages an open exploration of what is and what is not working and supports innovation without fear of failure.

The CALD PAR initiative recently held its opening workshop in Sydney. Fifty-two people gathered on in April 2018 to kick off nearly two years of 26 organisations working closely with CALD communities across Australia on violence against women issues. Eighteen of their projects focus on solutions that will prevent violence against women and their children in local communities, and eight projects aim to create safer pathways for women and their children to access mainstream crisis and support services.

The workshop focused on introducing the action research methodology into the organisations’ projects. Dr Elizabeth Orr led the interactive workshop. Dr Heather Nancarrow, ANROWS CEO, presented on ANROW’s principles, functions and current research program and Pino Migliorino, ANROWS board member, spoke to his 35 years of experience with culturally diverse communities.

Guest speakers included Monique Hameed of the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and Jane Torney of Our Watch. They presented on intersectionality and the Change the Story primary prevention framework respectively. The workshop was catered by the social enterprise, TwoGood, which supports women who have experienced violence and women in transitional housing.

Participants appreciated learning about ANROWS, action research, and safer pathways and prevention approaches. They also were afforded opportunities to meet each other and discuss challenges and plans about working with CALD communities to address violence against women. The establishment of a project community of practice and two more national workshops will offer the projects further opportunities to engage and share their valuable experiences and lessons as they implement their projects.

The CALD PAR initiative builds upon lessons from the ANROWS Building Safe Communities for Women and their Children (BSCW) Action Research Initiative that supported 40 projects to develop and implement solutions to reduce violence against women and their children in local communities. The final report and a compendium of stories is accessible on the ANROWS website.

Summaries of the diverse and innovative work of these CALD PAR projects, will soon be added to the website.