Domestic family violence in culturally and linguistically diverse migrant and refugee communities


Culture is a person’s values, beliefs, customs, and religious practices. It can influence how they think and behave.

It is important to keep in mind that being a part of a culture doesn’t mean you have to follow all its traditions and beliefs.

When trying to access services, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) who have experienced violence face many complex issues.

Support workers who want to provide services that are person-centered and put safety first must have a culturally sensitive approach.

Understanding the barriers to support

Women from CALD backgrounds can face many obstacles when attempting to access support services.

The Language of the Speaker.

Settlement and Immigration Issues.

Torture and trauma in the pre-migration period.

Lack of support from family and community.

Fear of authorities and a lack of understanding of laws and systems that can offer support and protection

Cross-cultural communication is an effective way to break down these barriers and increase access and safety.

Recognizing the strengths of people with CALD backgrounds is also important. Information and support, as well as a strong message about the unacceptable nature of violence, is important to increase the safety and well-being of people with CALD backgrounds.

Understanding CALD worldviews

It is the way we make sense of and understand our world. It includes values and beliefs.

Understanding the worldviews of people from CALD backgrounds is important, as it helps them make decisions for themselves and their families in relation to domestic and family violence. Many people with CALD backgrounds feel uncomfortable talking about their situation, either to friends and family or to a support group. It could be due to feelings of shame and discomfort when it comes to reporting abuse. It may be that there is a fear of rejection by family, friends, or the community.

Information is needed about the various forms of family and domestic violence, and it must be made clear that this is a violation of human rights. Understanding how culture, tradition, and social norms frame issues and affect women’s challenges is important. Many key areas help to frame a CALD woman’s worldview. The three most important ones are experience before migration, understanding of settlement, and cultural context.

Understanding the CALD experience of sexual violence

Some people from CALD groups may have different views on sexual violence. The culture of a victim may influence how they interpret their experience.

Understanding the issues that surround a person’s disclosure of sexual abuse from a CALD perspective is essential to responding appropriately. Anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence knows how difficult it can be to report the incident. However, people with CALD backgrounds face additional risks and considerations.

When providing support, it is important to listen without judgment and not make any assumptions about what the woman is going through.

Many factors can influence how a victim feels about an assault.

Age and developmental stage of the victim of violence.

The severity and the extent of violence experienced.

The presence or absence of a significant other who is protective or responsive.

Perspectives of social and family life on sexual assault.

Level of reproductive autonomy.

The cognitive and emotional capacities of the victim experiencing violence.

Knowledge and ability to seek legal assistance.

All of these can affect how a woman with a CALD background discloses. For the services to provide the appropriate support, they must have the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure safe disclosure. You have the opportunity as a support worker to help people with CALD backgrounds access their rights and options.

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