Many CALD women that services come into contact with are asylum seekers or refugees[1]. When working with this cohort, it is important to consider the impact of the trauma they may have experienced throughout their pre-migration and migration experience. Trauma may impact on women’s help-seeking and recovery from family violence.

CALD women may have histories of living in uncertainty for many years—they may have lived in refugee camps or through war and conflict[2]. Women fleeing conflict are especially vulnerable to violence, including sexual violence[3]. Practitioners should take into account ‘the probable physical, mental and sexual health conditions that often result from the experience of being refugees, immigrants and survivors of sexual violence, as well as the ongoing threat of violence against [CALD women]’[4]. The impact of trauma may mean that CALD women are less likely to access support services[5].

Beyond help-seeking, CALD women who have survived traumatic experiences ‘may have restricted abilities to deal with everyday challenges of life, such as settlement, adjustment, education and family’[6] and may need additional supports.

Self-reflection questions

  • What trauma has my client experienced during pre-migration and migration, if any?
  • How can I ensure that my practice with CALD women is trauma informed?

Self-reflection tool

Additional resources

Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victim/survivors of sexual violence: this paper suggests good practice for service providers who work with women from CALD backgrounds who have been subjected to sexual violence.

Where do refugees come from: this website provides information about where refugees living in Australia come from.

Guidelines for trauma-informed family sensitive practice in adult health services: these guidelines describe signs of trauma and provide helpful tips for workers.

 

[1] Allimant, A. and B. Ostapiej-Piatkowski (2011) ‘Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victims/survivors of sexual violence’ in ACASSA Wrap, No. 9. Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault: Melbourne. p. 3.

[2] ibid, p. 3.

[3] ibid, p.3; User, I. (2015) “Gender and Trauma” in Trauma and Migration, M. Schouler-Ocak

(ed.). Springer: Cham.

[4] Allimant, A. and B. Ostapiej-Piatkowski (2011) ‘Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victims/survivors of sexual violence’ in ACASSA Wrap, No. 9. Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault: Melbourne. p. 5.

[5] ibid, p. 5.

[6] ibid, p. 6.