Human rights and the significance of psychosocial and cultural issues in domestic violence policy and intervention for refugee women
journal contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Susan ReesSusan Rees
Cultures, histories and postmigration experiences require analysis when developing health and social welfare responses to assist refugee women affected by domestic violence. The author reflects on research undertaken into the well being of East Timorese women asylum seekers in Australia and applies human rights theory to argue that universal standards of personal safety for women should be paramount; however, understanding cultural difference, including gender roles and tolerance to domestic violence in the country of origin, is essential in the development of appropriate policies and interventions. Additionally, the psychosocial effects of war and persecution, and various interrelated postmigration experiences, are articulated as probable causal factors. Changes in identity or perceptions of self, unemployment, isolation of women from family and social supports, insecure residency status, and increased access to alcohol and psychotropic substances are identified as factors that require consideration in the development of policies and interventions to address domestic violence affecting refugee women.