NSW Labor will establish a multicultural domestic and family violence centre

NSW Labor will establish a multicultural domestic and family violence centre Main Image

28 January 2023

A Labor Government will partner with Settlement Services International (SSI) to establish a new specialist multicultural domestic and family violence centre in Southwest Sydney.

The centre, to be located in an existing, repurposed SSI site, will increase accessibility to services and safety for migrant and refugee women by having holistic, well-informed and culturally appropriate responses to gender inequality and domestic and family violence in New South Wales, and will help thousands of women every year.

Unlike other states including Victoria and Queensland, NSWales does not have a specialist service to address the additional complexities experienced by migrants and refugees in domestic and family violence situations. 

A national study into the experiences of migrant and refugee women showed one in three migrant women in Australia have experienced domestic violence. Additionally, domestic Violence related assaults have increased 5.7 per cent across Sydney’s South West over the past five years.

Recognition of the need for specialisation of services is a key element of the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32. The plan highlights the need for nuanced and cultural responses informed by the knowledge of and connection to communities.

Settlement Services International are well experienced in providing effective and holistic support for migrants and refugees across a range of services including domestic and family violence.

NSW Labor has already committed to deliver more job security and funding certainty for key family and domestic violence services by introducing longer-term five-year funding arrangements, to boost funding to the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline and to double the funding for Women’s Health Centres.

“Migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence face specific challenges, relating to visa status, a lack of trusted social networks as well as language and cultural barriers to reporting. Labor has listened and will deliver the specialised services that new migrants so desperately need," Jodie Harrison, NSW Shadow Minister for Women, said. 

“Dedicated domestic and family violence services already exist in other jurisdictions like Victoria and Queensland. This will finally bring NSW into line with best practice across Australia.”  

Yamamah Agha, Acting CEO Settlement Services International, said all communities in Australia experience domestic and family violence (DFV), but this is often exacerbated for women from migrant and refugee background due to issues such as language barriers, visa status and the inconsistency in access to interpreters.

"DFV services need specialist skills to detect and respond to these dynamics in CALD communities and to facilitate pathways to tailored support. The Centre would provide a nuanced response that achieves sustainable results for migrant and refugee women in DFV situations," she said.