Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Record ID: 76719ed4-f1b8-43e0-ad1f-41aabe8a838b
Type: Leaflet
Title: Family violence in migrant communities: South Australia
Authors: Esmaeili, Hossein
Categories: ANROWS Completed Register of Active Research projects
Year: 2020


A/Prof Hossein Esmaeili
Flinders University


Dr Jenny Richards
A/Prof Marinella Marmo
Dr Lana Zannettino

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations, including Afghan and Muslim communities in Australia, are considered to be more vulnerable to the effects of family violence and may experience additional difficulty accessing legal knowledge and support in relation to the criminal justice system and the family law system. Yet, family violence within Australian Afghan communities, and generally within Muslim communities, is an under-researched topic.

We approached this project with the recognition that religion is an important sociocultural factor in these communities that needs to be brought to the forefront of family violence discussions to address these barriers more effectively.

This project has engaged community leaders in the South Australian Afghan migrant, refugee and asylum seeker community to begin addressing this gap in knowledge.

Community leaders act as the gatekeepers between the state and the community and so it is considered important to collect and analyse data regarding their perception and understanding of family violence within their community, potential issues with access to justice and potential areas for law reform.

In many Afghan migrant communities, and Muslim communities in Australia more broadly, religious and other community leaders hold authority and establish cultural and personal norms which are followed by their community. Therefore, the central aim of this project is the exploration of the role of community leaders.

The project also aimed to produce and disseminate educational material on family violence in English and Farsi languages endorsed by community leaders to amplify its distribution and acceptance. A brochure and the executive summary of the report is available in Farsi.

The empirical part of the project was undertaken in Adelaide in 2019 using focused and in-depth interviews with 12 community leaders. Further, adopting a participatory research approach, several workshops with community leaders took place to contextualise the research aims, methods and, in the later stage, findings.

While the outcome of academic articles is still underway, the analysis of the empirical findings has come to a conclusion. The analysis of results allowed for the identification of a number of core research themes, including the following:

- Community leaders demonstrated awareness of family violence incidence among their own community, its typology, rate of occurrence and contributing factors.
- Certain customs and cultural differences in migrant communities (including Afghan migrant communities) may contribute to family violence.
- A limited knowledge of a person’s own rights or access to the Australian legal system is also due to cultural norms and, especially for women, to insufficient technical or legal English.
- Arranged or forced marriages, or marriage between a couple who do not know each other well beforehand, are a contributing factor to poor relationships and potential violence.
- Dissatisfaction with police involvement is linked to various levels of disempowerment and reluctance to engage with the criminal justice system.
- There is an awareness that community leaders have an important role to play in addressing and reducing family violence, particularly through educating community members about Islamic culture and Islamic law’s condemnation of family violence. This education includes building connections with government and other agencies.

The project is important as a platform for further investigation for policy and practice into family violence among migrant communities, particularly Muslim communities; Islamic law; and Muslim culture and religion in understanding and addressing family violence more broadly, considering that the Muslim population is growing in Australia.

The Law Foundation of South Australia (Project ID: A551-9.18)


November 2018

October 2021

Appears in Collections:ANROWS Completed Register of Active Research projects

Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.

Items in ANROWS library are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Google Media

Google ScholarTM

Who's citing