University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia
This paper presents initial findings of a research project looking at the experiences of services providers supporting refugee women experiencing domestic violence. Focusing on how service providers employ concepts of race, gender, culture and class in their work, as well as frameworks and the impact of wider systemic influences, the research aims to contribute to a greater understanding of domestic violence and refugees and provide a platform for practice development. A qualitative study, one on one semi structured interviews were conducted with 31 human service workers from the Refugee Settlement sector, Mainstream Domestic Violence
sector and CALD specific Domestic Violence services.
The study was located in South East Queensland. Utilising the practice wisdom of workers in the field and Intersectionality as an analytical tool, this paper focuses on 4 main themes that arose from the research: 1. The experiences of service providers contributing to a greater understanding of domestic violence and refugee communities 2. Coalitions and where refugee women experiencing domestic violence sit amongst competing agenda’s 3. The role of Specialist Services and workers, and 4. What influences and guides the practice and ideologies of workers, organisations and the environments they operate in. The challenge lies in implementing new knowledge and Institutional change. While the research on domestic violence and refugees is growing, it has largely been limited to studies focusing on refugees and communities themselves. This research provides a new angle from the service provider’s perspective, allowing insight into groups or populations that may have previously been overlooked or excluded from research. Over half of the participants were from CALD backgrounds themselves and the findings give cause to re-imagine how we construct and define culture, gender, domestic violence and the knowledge and frameworks that guide our work.