Multicultural Women’s Alliance calls for better support & services

By Our Reporter
The Multicultural Women’s Alliance Against Family Violence at an event on Tuesday // Photo by Indira Laisram

An alliance of multicultural family violence organisations and advocates in Victoria has called on the state government for more equitable funding, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.

The Multicultural Women’s Alliance Against Family Violence (MWAAFV) says despite women from culturally diverse backgrounds being disproportionately impacted by family violence, the government has repeatedly ignored calls to invest in the services designed to support them.

In 2020, there was a cluster of suicides in the city of Whittlesea linked to migrant women who were experiencing family violence and isolation, and many culturally diverse communities continue to report alarming rates and incidences of escalating family violence.

Despite the Victorian Coroner recommending improved support services for South Asian women following the cluster of suicides, little has happened.

At an event organised by MWAAFV at the Victorian Parliament to mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Alliance Chair, Dr Sabitra Kaphle, said women from multicultural backgrounds face a lack of culturally sensitive family violence support services.

“Women from culturally diverse communities in Victoria struggle to access the support they need. Our culturally sensitive multicultural family violence services are under-funded and under-resourced,” Kaphle said.

“That’s why on this International Women’s Day we’re calling for more equitable funding for multicultural family violence services in Victoria, so women from culturally diverse backgrounds can get the tailored support they need,” she added.

Alliance member and community worker, Anasina Gray-Barberio said, “Our communities cannot continue to be left out of the conversation about how we address family violence in Victoria. The government must provide greater funding and empower culturally diverse communities to be part of the solution.

“Until they do, women and families from culturally diverse backgrounds will not be safe from family violence.”

The event featured a panel discussion with academics, legal experts, and Victoria Police.

Alliance members also had the opportunity to ask opposition and cross-bench MPs about how they were addressing the difficulties faced by women experiencing or at risk of family violence.

The Multicultural Women’s Alliance Against Family Violence (MWAAFV) is a group of community members and organisations concerned by the lack of culturally appropriate family violence support services in Victoria.

Its purpose is to support multicultural women to live free from family violence by advocating to government and non-government bodies for more effective policies, funding, and support for community-based culturally specific services.

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