Focus, Perth, Australia
The presentation provides an understanding of the complexity of domestic and family violence in refugee settlement contexts both in terms of experiences and engagement with services. Central to this is the exploration of the definition of ‘family’ and how its very conceptualisation impacts on the understanding of what constitutes ‘domestic and family violence’ in an Australian legal and sociocultural context. The very parameters placed around the definition of domestic and family violence impacts on the lives of family members who may be experiencing abuse and violence within the family context but whose experiences may not be fully captured.
This is due to the fact that the definition of family is largely reflective of family compositions of white Anglo-Saxon families, which does not take into account diverse family structures of communities living in Australia from collectivist cultures.
Australia’s legal definition of ‘family’ and ‘domestic and family violence’ has implications for the types and interventions used within the full range of services available to respond to individuals and families. Australia’s legal and socio-cultural articulation and understanding of ‘family’ and hence what constitutes domestic and family violence leaves some communities in Australia at
a disadvantage due to the fact that interventions and services are designed from frameworks that do not take into account the diversity of family structures that exist in diverse cultural contexts and hence limiting services to clients whose experiences are not fully captured or understood through these frameworks.