New resource on intersectionality, violence prevention and refugee and migrant communities

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The Multicultural Centre for Women's Health, based in Australia, has developed a new guide to support people/organisations working on violence prevention with and as immigrant and refugee communities.

Intersectionality Matters: Guide to engaging immigrant and refugee communities to prevent violence against women (2017) addresses how to approach prevention, essential ingredients for meaningful violence prevention, and prevention in practice.

The guide builds on Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia (2015).

Part 1 of the intersectionality guide addresses how gender intersects with other forms of inequality, what is intersectionality, developing a more complex understanding of culture, myths about culture and violence, and questioning racialised representations of violence. When talking about the intersection of feminism and other forms of discrimination in addressing violence, the report states:

"An intersectional approach helps us to see that in order to be effective preventing violence against women [we] must challenge racism and other forms of discrimination that also affect women. Equally, work that addresses racism and other forms of discrimination must also challenge sexism and take notice of when and how those issues affect women differently or disproportionately."

Part 2 outlines the essential ingredients of meaningful violence prevention initiatives in imigrant and refugee communities, including:

  • "Immigrant and refugee communities have leadership and ownership of violence prevention strategies in their communities"
  • "Organisations and individuals role model gender equitable, collaborative and respectful relationships"
  • "Immigrant and refugee women’s leadership in violence prevention is centred and supported"
  • "Violence prevention strategies focus on institutions, systems and policies"
  • "Intersecting forms of social inequality and disadvantage are seen as central and not additional to prevention strategies"
  • "Prevention programs contribute to new evidence and better outcomes."

This section finishes with guidance on "How to frame prevention in meaningful ways for immigrant and refugee communities" and "How to foster a more complex understanding of culture in relation to preventing violence."

Part 3 looks at prevention in action. The report notes "... a 'one-size-fits-all' approach is unlikely to reach or include everyone." It goes on to say:

"... taking an intersectional approach, organisations can start by reviewing their current programs and processes from the perspective of marginalised groups. By bringing marginalised groups to the centre of program planning, you will identify imbalances or oversights in your current strategies, recognise opportunities to make activities accessible to new audiences and gain diverse perspectives to strengthen and guide your decision making."

This section examines issues like tailoring initiatives to immigrant and refugee communities; assessing whether a prevention programme or activity is inclusive; ways to ensure organisations and initiatives are diverse, inclusive and equitable; and proven and promising prevention strategies. It also identifies specific considerations in different settings for primary prevention activities.

The guide concludes with further reading.

For more information

See interventions by population group in NZFVC's recommended reading on family and whānau violence. Also see the news story Shakti publishes new handbook for migrant & refugee youth experiencing family violence.

The It's Not OK campaign has information for migrant communities including resources such as the 'Culture - no excuse for abuse' booklet.