WOMEN from multicultural and refugee backgrounds in WA are slipping through the cracks when it comes to accessing domestic and family violence help, according to a Mirrabooka-based service report.
Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre (MMRC) facilitated a report into issues affecting the delivery of domestic and family violence services for women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.
Unemployment in the Mirrabooka electorate is nearly 25 per cent compared to 5.9 per cent statewide, with 53 per cent of the population born overseas and about 40 per cent speaking languages other than English at home.
MMRC general manager Noel Whitehead said a lack of statistics on family and domestic violence reports was a barrier to helping women connect to services.
“At the start of the year we made family and domestic violence one of our priorities because we kept on hearing anecdotally the stats were rising in the multicultural community exponentially,” he said.
“It is critical that government departments and service providers keep statistics; if you don’t get that you’ve got no data to rely on when you’re applying for funding which does create a problem.”
The report noted anecdotal evidence from WA Police and Child Protection and Family Support that family and domestic violence was increasing within the local multicultural community but individuals were only likely to seek help when a situation reached crisis point.
Mr Whitehead also stated that women from CaLD backgrounds were less likely to access support services.
“We interviewed a number of service providers and community organisations and it was clear there were very little usage by multicultural community,” he said.
“(Family and domestic violence) services need to be trained to become culturally competent and aware about the issues for the multicultural community a lot of them do not have that training; they don’t understand the cultural issues.”
Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman said the state budget had committed $1.7 million toward expanding services for Aboriginal and multicultural victims of domestic violence.
The budget also committed $250,000 to a Newcomer Workforce Participation Project which aims to tackle the “unacceptable high employment rate” by assisting migrants to find work in collaboration with the City of Stirling.
Mr Whitehead said MMRC would keep in contact with the local member and government departments about funding and grant opportunities.