The Role of Multicultural and Settlement Services in Supporting Women Experiencing Violence

Speakers: Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan and Dr Adele Murdolo

This seminar is part of the Migration, Refugees and Statelessness Seminar Series, presented in partnership with the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness.

In Australia, women from migrant and refugee backgrounds experience domestic and family violence at least as frequently as women in the wider population but face particular barriers to accessing the services that can help. These barriers include social isolation, threats of deportation made by perpetrators, fears of authorities and a lack of multilingual information.

In this seminar, Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan, Interim Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and Co-Director of the Centre for Health Equity, and Dr Adele Murdolo, Executive Director of the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, will discuss the role of multicultural and settlement services in supporting migrant and refugee women experiencing violence. These services regularly encounter and support women experiencing violence, however, they are rarely recognised or funded to undertake this essential work.

Research conducted through the MuSeS project (Multicultural and Settlement services Supporting women experiencing violence project), funded by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, highlights the enormous barriers migrant and refugee women face in seeking and receiving the help they want and need.  This presentation will share key findings of the project and discuss its recommendations for increasing migrant and refugee women’s access to safety and support.

Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan is Co-Director of the Centre for Health Equity in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne.  She leads research on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence against migrants and refugees, women with disability, and women in faith communities. Cathy co-leads the kNOwVAWdata course to strengthen capacity for safe, ethical and rigorous research on violence against women in Asia and the Pacific.  She is the interim Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

Dr Adele Murdolo is the Executive Director of the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, a community-based organisation led by and for migrant and refugee women to advance women’s health through education, advocacy and research. Adele has a PhD in History and Women’s Studies, and her research and publication areas include women’s health, violence against women and feminist history and activism in Australia.  Over the last several decades she has played a leading national role as a passionate advocate for migrant and refugee women’s leadership and health.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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