Supporting and enabling women beyond five-year post-settlement

Found in: Health resources

Supporting and enabling women beyond five-year post-settlement

This report presents findings from the Empowering Migrant and Refugee Women study, undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. This research report has focused on two specific cohorts of particularly vulnerable migrant women:

  • former humanitarian entrants (including Woman at Risk visa holders) who have completed their involvement with Settlement Services and have been in Australia for more than five years; and
  • former family stream migrants who have completed their involvement with Settlement Services and have been in Australia for more than five years.

This study was commissioned by the Department of Social Services (DSS) to build evidence on practical strategies that could empower migrant and refugee women in the areas of women’s safety; economic and social participation; leadership opportunities; and to foster their role in promoting community cohesion. This report explores various aspects of service delivery to migrant women who have been living in Australia for at least five years. It documents the nature and types of service available, and identifies best practice principles and key service gaps in service delivery for migrant and refugee women.

The report also outlines key priorities for addressing these service gaps. Principles that were identified as being important in supporting migrant women and enhancing service delivery to this cohort:

  • Delivering services in a gender responsive and culturally appropriate manner
  • Culturally competent delivery was identified as being critical for both engaging clients and maintaining ongoing relationships with the client base.
  • A culturally diverse and bilingual workforce (including the employment of migrant and refugee women themselves) is a key component in the delivery of good practice services and programs.
  • Collaborative practices with other settlement and mainstream service providers are an important best practice principle and can play a significant role when refugee and migrant women’s services do not have specific expertise in a particular area. Forming such collaborations can assist with empowering and supporting migrant women, by offering referral opportunities that would not be possible otherwise.
  • Consultation and collaboration with migrant and refugee community groups and community leaders were identified as an important best practice principle. Fostering these collaborative relationships was an effective mechanism for services to better understand the needs of their clients. It also served an important role in promoting service visibility.
  • A strengths-based approach to service delivery was acknowledged as an important best practice principle.

Key service gaps and priorities for filling these gaps

1. Delivery of services in a gender responsive way.

2. Cultural competency and mainstream service delivery— (training and other supports to build culturally and linguistically appropriate mainstream service delivery).

3. Greater visibility and promotion of service accessibility—

4. Transition to mainstream services and the move towards service delivery in large hubs had the potential to dilute the cultural and linguistic capacity of staff and the flexibility required to provide services and support the needs of migrant and refugee women.

5. Funding for post-settlement services and reporting requirements—a lack of dedicated funding for supporting migrant and refugee women in the post-settlement period was identified as a service gap.

Access the report here