A variety of cultures, a range of experiences
Families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds need your respectful curiosity, your open mind and a commitment to partnering with them.
Cultures and religions are diverse and dynamic. If a man is using violence and the family is from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, do not jump to the conclusion or accept as a justification that it is their culture that is the root of the man’s use of violence. Culture is never an excuse for violence and it is not usually a causal factor. Violence against mothers is a serious issue across the globe.
Australian data about family violence and mothers of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is limited, so we do not know just how at risk mothers are. What we do know is that, as in the general community, the fathers using violence are often in an intimate relationship with the woman they hurt and they are the fathers or carers of children. They may also be other kinds of relations like uncles, in-laws or brothers.
Mothers and children of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds face a range of additional barriers to reporting violence. This may lead to them being hurt over a longer period of time and the violence becoming more severe.
Research in 2010 from InTouch: Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence found women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds:
- are less likely to report violence
- quickly disengage from the process of progressing their complaints
- disengage prematurely from support
- achieve less positive outcomes.
Ask yourself: Why might mother from a culturally and linguistically diverse background be less likely to engage and stay engaged in supports? Is this about her culture or is it about the service system not giving her what she needs? How can you help to change that?
What may put mothers at more risk?
Mothers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds may experience violence in the same ways other mothers do, but may also experience violence specific to cultural settings. This can range from controls or threats over a mother’s and her child’s visa status to human trafficking.
Mothers and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are even more at risk if they live in rural, regional and remote areas, where they are further isolated and there is a lack of culturally appropriate support services.
‘I lived in fear because I knew nothing.’
A female respondent talks about her experience of domestic violence in a research survey conducted by InTouch: Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence.
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