State of Knowledge Report released

State of Knowledge Report released

The ASPIRE Research team are very pleased to announce the publication of  our paper, “Promoting community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women in metropolitan and regional Australia: The ASPIRE project: State of knowledge paper.” 

This document is a comprehensive review of national and international literature produced over the last 25 years examining the evidence as well as gaps in knowledge about family violence against immigrant and refugee women. It is part of a series of State of Knowledge reports published by the project funder – the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS).

The paper finds:

* Overall immigrant and refugee report similar forms of family violence as women from non-immigrant backgrounds, however there are some differences in the types of violence experienced and the structural contexts where it takes place.

* The constraints produced by immigration policies are of significant concern, where women depend on perpetrators for economic security and residency rights.

* Many immigrant and refugee women are motivated to resolve family violence without ending relationships and breaking up families, for reasons including immigration concerns and family and community pressures.

* There is scant evidence that the increase in criminal justice responses to family violence, such as “mandatory arrest” and “pro-prosecution” approaches, are helpful for immigrant women, and may deter them from seeking assistance in crisis situations.

A media release from the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health provides key statements regarding our findings:

Chief investigator, Dr Cathy Vaughan from the University of Melbourne states, “the literature indicates that this synergy between the system and the perpetrator means that immigrant and refugee women endure violence for longer periods before seeking help, and require more contacts with the service system before getting the help they need.”

Co-investigator, Dr Adele Murdolo from the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health states, “there seem to be key points at which our system makes immigrant and refugee women more isolated and dependent, which increases the power that others have over them, and limits their options for safety.”

For more information on the State of Knowledge report please contact:

Dr Cathy Vaughan, University of Melbourne: 0417 116 468
Dr Adele Murdolo, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health: 0438 823 299






Seeking interviews with women for the ASPIRE Project

Seeking interviews with women for the ASPIRE Project

Now that we have finalised the ethics approvals and the bicultural workers in Victoria and Tasmania have completed training in qualitative research, we are spreading the word about the ASPIRE project to connect with women who may be interested in participating in confidential in-depth interviews.

Perhaps you or someone you know might be interested in participating?

We are seeking to interview women who:

  1. Are over the age of 18
  1. Are able to independently provide consent to participate in the research project
  1. Came to Australia from overseas as a migrant, refugee or asylum seeker and are now living in Victoria or Tasmania.
  1. Have experienced family violence but are not in a current crisis situation.

We are using a broad definition of family violence to include any family-like relationships and behaviours ranging from physical abuse, verbal/emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and threatening and coercive behaviour.

Participants can be provided with information about the project and interviewed in the language of their choosing. We have trained researchers who speak a range of community languages. Alternatively, participants can speak to an English-speaking researcher using an interpreter. All interview participants will be asked to sign a consent form, and will receive a Coles voucher as thanks for their time.

Our safety protocol is extensive and covers trauma-informed approaches, safety planning, privacy for participants, referral resources to family violence and other support services and follow up with participants as necessary.

Click on the links to access the following resources to provide to potential interview participants:

Project Poster – this can be shared with potential participants or put up in a waiting area at your office. English poster, Arabic poster or Vietnamese poster.

Information flyer – this can be discussed with potential participants that you think might be interested in the project. English flyer, Arabic flyer or Vietnamese flyer.

Permission to pass on contact details – if you know a woman who would like to speak to the research team please put their contact details on the Permission to pass on contact details form and ask her to sign it. Please send the form either by post or email using the details on the document. We will make contact with the potential participant in their preferred language.

For interview referrals in Victoria, please contact:

Jasmin at the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health

(03) 9418 0922


Erin at the University of Melbourne

(03) 8344 0174

For interview referrals in Tasmania, please contact:

Dr Linda Murray at the University of Tasmania

(03) 6226 4720

We look forward to hearing from you!

Ethics Approval and Researcher Training for Victorian Data Collection

Ethics Approval and Researcher Training for Victorian Data Collection

We began September with our second Victorian Advisory Group meeting, which gave us an opportunity to reflect on the progress of the project so far and workshop recruitment strategies for interviews and focus groups in our key research sites.

August was a particularly productive month for the research team. Not only did we submit our State of Knowledge paper to ANROWS for publication, we also received ethics clearance from the University of Melbourne Health Sciences Human Ethics Sub-Committee. This means we can now begin interviewing in Victoria (and hopefully soon Tasmania)!

IMG_1518On 25-26 August we conducted our first researcher training with members of the research team and bilingual educators from Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health. The two-day training included a great presentation from InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence and was led by Dr Cathy Vaughan and ASPIRE research assistant Erin Davis, who provided the perfect combination of expertise in research and in family violence services.

The bilingual educators who have joined the research team as interviewers and facilitators also bring extensive experience and expertise in working with women who have experienced violence and will be invaluable to the project. Among the team we are now able to interview women in fourteen languages including Arabic, Burmese, Cantonese, Croatian, Dari, English, Farsi, Hindi, Karen, Mandarin, Marathi, Punjabi, Tagalog and Tamil. The research team is excited about the coming months of data collection and is looking forward to listening to immigrant and refugee women to learn about their experiences.


State of Knowledge Report in final stages

State of Knowledge Report in final stages

After many months of work, the ASPIRE Team is pleased to be in the final draft stage of producing our State of Knowledge Report, which summarises both national and international research relating to immigrant and refugee women’s experiences of violence, help-seeking and service systems.

Developing the State of Knowledge report has been a great, collaborative effort and has involved the review of hundreds of research articles, service reports and key national documents.

We look forward to the release of the State of Knowledge report in the near future and can now turn our full attention to raising awareness about the project and continuing our consultations with stakeholders and service providers.

First meetings of the Project Advisory Groups!

First meetings of the Project Advisory Groups!

The consultation phase of the ASPIRE Project is well underway starting with meetings of both Project Advisory Groups in Victoria and Tasmania. The advisory groups consist of dedicated representatives from a range of agencies bringing their collective expertise on the intersection between violence against women and the migrant and refugee experience.

The Victorian advisory group met on February 27th at the University of Melbourne with representatives from:

  • Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
  • Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture
  • In Touch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence
  • Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights
  • Domestic Violence Victoria
  • Cohealth
  • Loddon Campaspe Integrated Family Violence Consortium
  • Southern Metro (Outer) Region Integrated Family Violence Partnership
  • Women’s Health in the South East
  • Gippsland Women’s Health Service
  • Women’s Health West
  • Women’s Health in the North
  • Office of Women and Equality (Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet)
  • University of Melbourne

Victorian members of the research team travelled to Hobart to meet with the University of Tasmania researcher and hold an advisory group meeting on March 12th. The Tasmanian advisory  group includes representatives from:

  • Migrant Resource Centre Northern Tasmania
  • Migrant Resource Centre Southern Tasmania/ Phoenix Centre
  • Sexual Assault Support Service
  • Tasmania Police
  • Australian Red Cross (Tasmania)
  • Hobart Women’s Shelter
  • Southern Tasmania Refugee Health Clinic
  • Northern Tasmania Refugee Health Clinic
  • Tasmanian Department of Justice
  • Royal Hobart Hospital
  • University of Tasmania

Both groups were provided with information about the scope of the ASPIRE Project and discussed a few key issues including:

  • Methodology for conducting a multi-site Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project.
  • Connections with established and newly emerging migrant and refugee communities in research locations.
  • Research focus on family/domestic violence and the needs and barriers experienced by migrant and refugee women living in ASPIRE research locations.
  • Key documents to include in the literature review being conducted by the research team.

Thank you to all representatives for your commitment to this exciting initiative!

Senator Lisa Singh discusses Hear Our Voices in Tasmanian Parliament

Senator Lisa Singh discusses Hear Our Voices in Tasmanian Parliament

Group 1

Members of ASPIRE were honoured to participate in the Hear Our Voices event in Glenorchy, Tasmania on Friday 13 March.

Women at the event discussed their feelings about safety and gender roles, and had the opportunity to learn about local services. Dr Regina Quiazon, of the ASPIRE Team, introduced our Project to the group of over 100 women from diverse backgrounds, and helped to facilitate the day, which was co-ordinated by Yabbo Thompson from Migrant Resource Centre Southern Tasmania and Glenorchy City Council.

So many women gave their time and energy to making the event a success, not least the tireless bilingual community workers and interpreters. ASPIRE members had the opportunity to meet many wonderful women from the day who we look forward to developing stronger bonds with over the life of the project.

We were further honoured to be mentioned in the Tasmanian parliament by the Hon. Senator Lisa Singh, who was extremely supportive of the event and attended for part of the day.

You can read a copy of the Senator’s speech here or watch it below:

Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence and Violations

Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence and Violations

Dr Adele Murdolo, of the ASPIRE Project, had the privilege of presenting at the Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence and Violations, held in Sydney from 10-12 February.

Adele’s presentation addressed the theme of “considering context” in relation to research methodologies and intervention strategies across diverse jurisdictions, communities and countries.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to hear many of the world’s experts in the field of violence against women speak about their current research, and will no doubt help to enrich the approach and methodology of the ASPIRE project.