Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Research Report 2012 - Page 51

50 new ways for men to control and abuse their partners and traps women in family violence 46 situations. (Erez et al., 2010, p.36) CALD women’s financial dependency also influences their ability to access services and the resources available to them when escaping from a family violence situation. For example it has been noted by the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service that an increasing number of women entering women’s refuges do not have Permanent Residency Status.47It is also noted that these women stay in interim/refuge accommodation longer due to a combination of lack of permanent accommodation options, financial and immigration issues and require more intensive support before they can be referred to external services.48 Only a few of the women who were consulted for the scoping exercise came to Australia as refugees however a large number of the women who were consulted had originally migrated to Australia on spousal or fiancé visas. The responses from these women concur with the findings of the literature review that uncertain visa status prevents women from disclosing family violence, is often used as a tool of power and control by abusers and increases women’s economic dependency on their partners. All but two workers from service providers consulted for the scoping exercise also identified a woman’s immigration status as a barrier to accessing assistance, making it harder for her to leave a family violence situation and reducing her options upon leaving and all agreed that women on partner visas are particularly vulnerable. In 1994 a ‘family violence exception’ was introduced into the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) with the intention of discouraging visa applicants from remaining in violent relationships in order to secure permanent residency in Australia. (Ghafournia, N., 2011, Australian Law Reform Commission, 2011) The provisions allow a grant of a permanent visa to be considered if the relationship between the visa holder and the applicant has broken down, the visa holder has withdrawn support for the application and (depending on the visa class applied for) the visa applicant or their child or family member has suffered family violence at the hands of their ex-partner49 In order to meet the criteria for the family violence exception it is necessary to substantiate the claim that family violence is occurring, either through judicially50 or non-judicially51 determined evidence. The family violence exception is not available to prospective marriage (fiancé) applicants whose relationship breaks down due to family violence prior to the marriage taking place. A recent report by the Australian Law Reform Commission (Australian Law Reform Commission, 2011) cited DIAC statistics that indicate that despite an increasing number of claims made through the family violence exception since 2005, such claims still only account for a fraction of partner visa 52 cases. In its report the ALRC makes a number of recommendations for reforms to increase the accessibility of the family violence exception to genuine victims of family violence whilst still 46 The InTouch Inc. Report also highlights the effect of visa dependency issues for CALD women in Australia at p.17 This is a trend that has continued over ?????????????????]?????e????????Y???????? ???M????????????????????(??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????A???????I????????M?????]?????e???????)Y???????? ???M????????????I?????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????(??)%?????????(??)5???????I????????????? ????????????(??)??????????????????????????????????1????????? ?????????????????????????????M????????????????)???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(??)5???????I????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????)??????????????????????????????????????????????????????a??????????????d???????????????????????????)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(??+?`???????????????1??I????? ????????????????????(??((0