Understanding the role of law and culture in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence

ANROWS, 2020

Family violence within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities attracts considerable attention in policy, research and practice.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have advocated for community-led approaches to family violence that are culturally safe, involve Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander justice models and recognise Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture.

This project used a strengths-based approach to explore the role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture plays in prevention, intervention and healing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family violence, and how this can be supported. The project was grounded in an understanding of family violence as shaped by the impacts of colonisation.

The research was undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place-based programs in six sites: the Kimberley (two sites) and the Pilbara (Western Australia), the Tiwi Islands and Darwin (Northern Territory), and Mornington Island (Queensland).

The final report emphasises the need for improved understandings within mainstream systems and services of the nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family obligations and interconnections, as well as acknowledgement of the link between violence and issues that stem from colonisation, such as alcohol misuse and intergenerational trauma. It recommends a greater focus on prevention, healing and diversions from the criminal legal system; the involvement of both men and women in the design and implementation of local family violence strategies; and interventions that worked at the family, rather than individual, level.

Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant and Refugee Women and Children Experiencing DFV

Women’s Safety NSW, Published: July 31, 2020

Whilst research on the prevalence of violence against migrant and refugee women is limited, what is known is that cultural, language and systemic barriers serve to reduce access to safety and support for this group of women, and they are at higher risk of domestic homicide. (AIC 2020)

This also corresponds with lower rates of reporting amongst migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence, as distrust for authorities, limited knowledge of rights and services and concerns about both material and cultural ramifications can serve as insurmountable barriers to accessing the supports needed. (AIFS 2018)

What has not yet been investigated is the specific impact of COVID-19 on migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence. This report from Women’s Safety NSW offers the experiences and professional observations of multicultural domestic and family violence specialists supporting hundreds of these very women at this critical time. What they’ve reported is that migrant and refugee women who are experiencing domestic and family violence are at higher risk than they have ever been before and that urgent action is needed if we are going to save lives.

COVID-19: A Gender Lens – sexual & reproductive health and gender inequality

UN Population Fund (UNFPA), March 2020

Disease outbreaks affect women and men differently, and pandemics make existing inequalities for women and girls and discrimination of other marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those in extreme poverty, worse. This needs to be considered, given the different impacts surrounding detection and access to treatment for women and men.

Women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally and special attention should be given to how their work environment may expose them to discrimination, as well as thinking about their sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial needs as frontline health workers

Calls for segregated mental health wards to reduce sexual assault risk

ABC (Katherine Gregory on AM), February 2020

Sexual violence against women in mental health wards is going unchecked, despite service providers’ awareness of the problem.

A new report has found women in Victorian mental health wards are vulnerable to sexual assault, harassment and violence from male patients and staff.

It’s calling for stricter separation of male and female patients in mental health wards and an overhaul of how assault complaints are dealt with.

Broadcast: 
Duration: 3min 49sec
Featuring:

– Doctor Juliet Watson, RMIT University
– Charlotte Jones, Victorian Mental Health Legal Centre

 

 

Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

The Lancet, Gender Equality, Norms, and Health Steering Committee, Published May 30, 2019

Summary

Restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities are replicated and reinforced in health systems, contributing to gender inequalities in health.
In this Series paper, we explore how to address all three through recognition and then with disruptive solutions.
We used intersectional feminist theory to guide our systematic reviews, qualitative case studies based on lived experiences, and quantitative analyses based on cross-sectional and evaluation research.
We found that health systems reinforce patients’ traditional gender roles and neglect gender inequalities in health, health system models and clinic-based programmes are rarely gender responsive, and women have less authority as health workers than men and are often devalued and abused.
With regard to potential for disruption, we found that gender equality policies are associated with greater representation of female physicians, which in turn is associated with better health outcomes, but that gender parity is insufficient to achieve gender equality. We found that institutional support and respect of nurses improves quality of care, and that women’s empowerment collectives can increase health-care access and provider responsiveness.
We see promise from social movements in supporting women’s reproductive rights and policies. Our findings suggest we must view gender as a fundamental factor that predetermines and shapes health systems and outcomes. Without addressing the role of restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities within and outside health systems, we will not reach our collective ambitions of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We propose action to systematically identify and address restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities in health systems.