Development of a Family Violence Service Model - the Karen & Karenni Communities in Geelong

Development of a Service Model for Prevention and Early Intervention of Family Violence among the Karen and the Karenni Communities in Geelong

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Family violence affects one in five Victorian women throughout their lifetime. It is the leading contributor of preventable death, disability and illness in Victorian women aged between 15 to 44 years (VicHealth, 2011). In the Geelong region, reports of family violence are continuing to rise. Over the past three years, there has been an increase in family violence referrals to Minerva Community Services (Geelong’s specialist family violence service for women and children). According to the organisation’s annual reports, in 2012 there were 1,487 cases of family violence referred to Minerva Community Services. In 2013, the number of referrals rose to 1,928 and in 2014 there was a further 20 percent increase with a total number of 2,067 referrals received (Minerva Community Services 2012; 2013; 2014).

Families from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds who migrate to Australia are not free from experiencing family violence (Flory, 2012). Additionally, service providers in the Geelong region have identified that the current family violence intervention model is not culturally-appropriate for families from CALD backgrounds who experience family violence. Therefore, the creation of the Geelong Multicultural Family Violence Network (GMFVN) was initiated to improve and establish a more culturally appropriate response to members of communities from CALD backgrounds. An outcome of the GMFVN was the initiation of the project called the CALD Family Violence Engagement Project in Geelong in order to develop a family violence service model appropriate to CALD communities.

This study was a major component of the CALD Family Violence Engagement Project in Geelong. The study focused on exploring the views of the participants about existing practices, perceptions, knowledge and beliefs associated with family violence for the purpose of developing a service model appropriate to the Karen and the Karenni communities. The participants for the study included leaders and members of the Karen and Karenni communities as well as service providers in the region. While the project was designed to initially focus on the Karen and Karenni communities, it was envisioned that the project would be extended to other CALD communities in the Geelong area.

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