ICSA forum on domestic violence on 9 Dec at Blacktown

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The Indian (sub-continental) Crisis Support Agency (ICSA) will have a domestic violence (DV) practitioners’ focus group forum on 9 December at 125 Main Street, Blacktown. The forum will begin at 10am. The focus group will discuss pragmatic ways to raise awareness, improve understanding and provide culturally appropriate solutions to domestic violence.

The ICSA’s media release on the focus group says that recent discussions within the sub-continental community on the matter of DV clearly illustrate that there is no attempt to think of solutions and ways to manage this scourge in a manner that assists and/or empowers the victims. To address this disconnect, Indian (sub-cont) Crisis Support Agency is establishing a practitioner’s focus group, to look at the issues professionally and determine the way forward.

According to a UN report Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence & Son Preference in India, released at “MenEngage Global Symposium” at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi recently, six out of 10 Indian men admit to acting violently in a relationship.

The report was prepared by the United Nations Population Fund, and the Washington-based International Center for Research on women, after interviewing 9,000 men and 3,000 women between the ages of 18-49 across seven states in India.

This report reveals 60 per cent men admitted to acting violently against their wife or partner at some point in their lives. More than half of the women reported they had faced some form of violence during their lifetime; the physical abuse of being kicked, slapped, choked and burned the most common, followed by emotional, sexual and economic abuse.

In Australia, there are few studies on the matter of domestic violence within the sub-continent community. Anecdotally, intervention agencies (police, hospitals) raise their concerns of the problem, but are not able to quantify it as there is no mechanism for data collection across the demographic.

While domestic violence (DV) within the sub-continental immigrant communities can no longer be denied, the problem is still not considered significant by many South Asians in Australia.

Over recent months DV has become topical in discussions around the community through social media and community news outlets. However, it is difficult to discern how these conversations address the distinct lack of outcomes for the victims of DV, including the victims, perpetrators and their extended family.

There is no distinct or identifiable profile of person who would fit the description of vulnerable people. Victims can be young or old, male or female, and from any sort of background. Indeed any person can become vulnerable at any stage of their life, says the ICSA.

The plight of the vulnerable though has one common characteristic, which is that when someone is vulnerable to DV is when they need help the most. Exploitation comes in many forms like scam schemes, trafficking, house-bound slavery, or just plain financial exploitation, according to the ICSA.

Common to both domestic violence and vulnerable people is the almost routine dismissal by the community of the issues, through suggestions of settlement adjustments, a consequence of financial woes, blaming the victim for bringing it on themselves, etc.

The ICSA’s Blacktown forum is open to all concerned members of the community and the ICSA has also invited submissions. The email address to send submissions and to express interest in the ICSA is: info@icsa.net.au

Published in The Indian Sun, Sydney

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