Victims of Crime Experiences in Ethnic Communities in Australia: Achieving Sustainable Social Change

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Australia is a Multicultural Nation and it's population has increased each year since the end of World War II, due to a combination of high post-war fertility and high levels of migration. Over the past 25 years patterns of immigration have changed and the diversity of countries of birth has increased. The 2001 Census showed that 3.5 million people born in Australia had at least one overseas-born parent, accounting for 26% of Australia's population. Of these, 43% had both parents born overseas, 35% had their father (but not their mother) born overseas and 22% had their mother (but not their father) born overseas. At a local, state and national level in Australia there hasn’t been extensive research undertaken to identify and implement the needs of ethnic communities including those from a migrant and refugee backgrounds with regards to being a victim of a crime. Too often immigrants have been stereotyped as perpertrators, criminals and not as victims of a crime. There are many factors preventing immigrants and refugees from accessing the human service support services particularly as a result of experiencing a crime against them. Some of these reasons are as follows: Australian Government policies on Multiculturalism foster "inclusiveness" as a public policy, however agencies that deliver community support services often fail to deliver in practice culturally responsive programs required to supporting ethnic communities in their intergration process and particularly those whom have experience trauma as a result of being a victim of a crime. There is far too much attention in the Australian media about immigrants creating crime and violence, whilst less attention is given to ethnic communties as victims of a crime. There is a general lack of awareness of the range of community services support available by ethnic communities and at times programs aren't culturally responsive in meeting their specific ongoing family support needs. The research has identified that ethnic communities do not report crime and generally statistics are limited in Australia to capture realistic numbers of ethnic communities experiencing crime. Often crime is unreported particularly family violence in ethnic communities mainly of reprisal and fear of been stereotyped and in some cases deportation.Community service funded agencies have highlighted the fact that CALD communities access to Victims Support services is very minimal. The Multicultural sector also endorses the above factors as gaps and the need to develop systematic and sustainable changes to Australian government, departmental policies in relation to Victims Assistance Programs for Ethnic Communities. The justice, legal and community sector organisations will need to further develop stratgies in working with Ethnic Communities in Australia experiencing crime. The Victims of Crime in CALD Communities Research Project represents a collaborative approach to identifying the specific needs of Ethnic victims of crime, service gaps, and responsiveness as a basis for developing a framework to inform culturally sensitive intervention, access and support at state and national level. The research project seeks to ensure that governments and state funded agencies implement culturally responsive policies and strategies to ensure that CALD communities access state and national funded services. It has been coordinated by the Windermere Child and Family Services.Windermere has a long standing commitment to improving wellbeing in children, families and communities by helping to realise their potential, building resilience and connecting people to the community including those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. This project has enabled collaborative development of an evidence based document that guides practitioners in the service system to advocate and adopt a culturally sensitive victim support framework for state-wide and national agencies. It will ultimately enable Victoria’s as well as other States current Victims’ Policy,Charter and Guide to be modified to reflect the commitment to Ethnic victims of crime.

Please note: The victims of crime in Ethnic communities has not been an area of research nor practice both at a Local, State, National and International level therefore needs to be placed on the Multicultural Agenda in Australia and will also assist other multicultural countries in developing culturally responsive services for ethnic communities experiencing crime and victimisation.

Keywords: Ethnic Communities, Victims of Crime, Human Support Programs, Sustainable Social Change
Stream: Knowledge
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Serap Ozdemir

Windermere Child and Family Services Inc

Ref: H08P0079