ANCORW Co-operative, the Australian National Committee on Refugee Women, has joined forces with the University of New South Wales Centre for Refugee Research (CRR) to investigate how refugee women at risk cope once resettled in Australia. The project has received Australian Research Council Linkages funding for three years and will consider women in both urban and regional centres.
Rebecca Eckert, research assistant and supporter and volunteer with CRR and ANCORW is undertaking her PhD as part of the project. She says: “Most women at risk have experienced extreme violence, torture and trauma, and have been raped or bear children from rape, forced marriage and forced prostitution.
“Many of these women and their families face ongoing risks in Australia, and these generate additional settlement needs which are not currently met by service providers. If these needs are not met in the first crucial years of life in Australia, this may seriously impact on their ability to successfully integrate in Australian Society.”
The study will use community development techniques and a human rights framework within a methodology which includes women as active participants in the process. It will focus on engaging refugee women’s existing capacities and capabilities, including strategies to foster social participation, and it will explore the role participatory strategies designed to foster autonomy and empowerment might play in assisting refugee women to integrate into Australian society.
It will also look at the impact of place of resettlement on successful integration and the implications of this for service provision and social cohesion.
ANCORW supports refugee women in Australia and internationally. It says some 80% of the worlds 20 million refugees are women and their dependent children. They often suffer violence, rape and sexual abuse, torture, hunger, and loss of everything they hold dear. Refugee camps can be as dangerous as the places from which they have escaped.
Once conflict is over, they protect their families, maintain their culture and rebuild shattered communities. When resettled in developed countries, the women take the role of supporting their families to settle into a new and strange environment.
- You can find all of our coverage on International Women’s Day 2016 here.