Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Research Report 2012 - Page 49

48 friends or religious leaders, where they often encounter attitudes that condone family violence, discourage separation or promote fear of police or the legal system (Raj & Silverman, 2002). It is also a phenomenon observed in the literature that where there is fear within a certain group that their cultural identity is under threat the response is often to affirm traditional values and beliefs (Pittaway, E., 2004). Reporting of family violence in this context can be viewed as betraying or undermining the group’s reputation and CALD women may experience increased pressure not to discredit their community by highlighting social problems (Pittaway, E., 2004). ? Limited knowledge of services, legal rights and options: It is widely reported in the literature that CALD women who are experiencing family violence often lack knowledge of laws that may protect them and services that may assist them. (Australian Law Reform Commission, 2011, Erez et. al, 2010, Dimopoulos, M., 2010, InTouch Inc., 2010, Raj & 42 Silverman, 2002). Legal remedies can represent a pathway out of family violence but, as Curran & Noone point out, the ability to assert legal rights is predicated on “knowledge, capacity, capability and understanding…”. (Curran & Noone, 2007, p.63-64 in Curran & Buck, 2009, p.1 ) A recent report by InTouch Inc. examining the barriers to the justice system faced by CALD women experiencing family violence recognised that lack of information about legal rights and the legal system led to CALD women delaying seeking help or, when they did access the justice system, receiving less favourable outcomes. (InTouch Inc, 2010, p.16). CALD women often immigrate from countries where there are no equivalent services or laws (Erez, et. al, 2010, Dimopoulos, M., 2010, Raj & Silverman, 2002) and acquiring relevant information is made more difficult where there is a language barrier(Aly & Gaba, 2007, Dimopoulos, M., InTouch Inc., 2010 ). A 2008 study with African refugee communities, by Springvale Monash Legal Service identified a lack of proficiency in English as one of a number of barriers to new migrants accessing information through the ‘usual channels’.43 As well as lack of proficiency in English, lack of literacy in their own language is a further compounding factor for CALD women identified by the literature (Dimopoulos, 2010). Women who lack information about support services and Australian laws are more vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation by their abuser (Erez, et al, 2010, Dimopoulos, 2010, InTouch Inc, 2010). Being deported (Erez, et al, 2010, InTouch Inc, 2010, Raj & Silverman, 2002) and losing custody of children (Erez et al. 2010, p.46-47) were some of the fears held by CALD women reported in the literature which could lead to a reluctance to report family violence. 42 Such as criminal charges, Intervention Orders under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) and the family violence exception under the Migration Regulations 1994. 43 For example, lack of proficiency in spoken English made it difficult to access information by phone and lack of proficiency in written English meant that information was not available through written materials. Further barriers identified by the research were a lack of resources in African languages, over-reliance on others in the community for information, reliance on children for information, unrealistic expectations of service providers and reluctance to seek help in relation to family issues. Springvale Monash Legal Service, 2008, Comparative analysis of South Sudanese customary law and Victorian Law, Springvale Monash Legal Service, Victoria in Dimopoulos, 2010, p.6.