Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Research Report 2012 - Page 27

26 The responses to these questions indicated that the women shared similar fears when it came to disclosing family violence and encountered many of the same ‘barriers’ to accessing assistance and services including: ? ? ? ? ? Fear of deportation and loss of visa status (particularly for women on spousal or fiancé visas); Lack of information about family violence, legal rights and the availability of support services as well as how and where to access them; Difficulty getting information and communicating with services due to limited English language proficiency; Practical difficulties associated with finding housing and financial support; Fear of isolation from the community, shame and stigma associated with separation and divorce. The women who arrived in Australia on partner visas34 spoke of their fears that disclosure of family violence would affect their ability to remain in Australia and a number of women said that their partners used threats of deportation as a means to control them and prevent them from disclosing family violence. ‘Initially my husband used threats to deport me back to my [country of origin] if I disagreed with him and initially I was frightened but after a while I stopped believing the threats.’ The women also stated that the way in which Centrelink payments are structured (for example the fact that it is the resident partner not the sponsored partner who is eligible to receive payments) gave the resident partner an enormous amount of power and control in the relationship. Inability to access Centrelink payments also had flow on effects for women trying to find housing and financial support where the relationship had broken down or they had made the decision to leave a family violence situation. The women spoke of encountering a number of practical difficulties when leaving a family violence situation including finding affordable and appropriate housing, accessing financial support for themselves and their children, knowing where to get assistance, filling out forms, being able to transport themselves to appointments and finding childcare. These practical difficulties were compounded for women without permanent residency. ‘I am struggling financially because the rent is very expensive and I am on a spousal visa and cannot receive income from Centrelink to support myself and my child. My husband and I have ?????????)???????????????????e? ?????????????????????????????????????e???????????????$????)???????????????????????????????????????????????$????????????????????????????]??????)???????????????????$???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????d)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)???????????????????????????????????????????????=?????????????????????????????????)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????U??????????????)???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????((??()%???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(??)Q?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????)??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)?????????????????1???????I?????((0