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Specific violent acts

Specific forms of violence

Within some culturally and linguistically diverse communities issues such as forced early marriage, childbearing and female genital mutilation are concerns for young women and girls. Women who have experienced war, civil unrest and dislocation in their countries of origin may have also experienced rape.

Visa status

The Hearing her voice report found temporary visas made mothers feel particularly vulnerable when experiencing violence. The fear of losing their right to remain in Australia, whether real or perceived, had a big impact on their decision making. A father using violence may also make threats about a mother’s visa status as a way to control her.

Women brought to Australia on partner visas for marriage may feel trapped. The Hearing her voice roundtable found these women were often young, threatened by their partners with deportation, or had their passports stolen away from them when they arrived.

Visa status may also have financial consequences for a woman and her children. Most income support payments have a 2-year waiting period for non-permanent residents, and some pensions, such as the disability support pension, require applicants to be a resident for 10 years or more.


‘An emerging issue is presented by asylum-seeking women from countries such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, who are living in Australia on bridging visas. Support workers noted these women can be reluctant to report their partners for family violence or sexual assault due to fears they could be re-detained under code of behaviour requirements for their visas, and that this may affect protection claims.’

Hearing her voice (2015).

Dowry-related violence

A dowry includes gifts, money, goods or property given from the bride’s family to the groom or in-laws before, during or any time after the marriage. The United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women defines dowry-related violence or harassment as ‘any act of violence or harassment associated with the giving or receiving of dowry at any time before, during or after the marriage’.

Dowry-related abuse is sometimes carried out by a wide number of people in the groom’s family. Although the giving of dowries is practised in a number of cultures, it is most common in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

There is a pattern to dowry-related violence. It often includes throwing acid at the victim or burning her. You can learn more about dowry-related violence from the Stop Violence Against Women project. 

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