Listen to Selba as she addresses Rotary in 2020:

Not only do some of the African communities in Australia, arrive here with Post Traumatic Syndrome, the women may have experienced intimate partner violence in Africa, and again in Australia.  This type of violence takes place across all cultures and faith groups.

In addition to physical and sexual violence, women from refugee backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse, reproductive coercion and immigration-related abuse.

The various factors relevant to the refugee communities include:

  • migration pathways
  • traumatic pre-arrival experiences
  • settlement issues eg. acculturation stress and social isolation

Families need integrated, trauma-informed care to address their experiences of violence. We need to overcome the barriers to engagement with these communities, to enhance cultural safety.

Promoting community involvement and leadership has been shown to be important in developing culturally competent programs, and violence prevention strategies.

Pic. shows Rotarians and Afri-Aus Care visiting the Dandenong head office.

Child Abuse and its Impact on Adulthood

  • Significant numbers of Australian children are exposed to domestic and family violence.
  • Domestic and family violence affects children’s physical and mental wellbeing, development and schooling, and is the leading cause of children’s homelessness in Australia.
  • Domestic and family violence often co-occurs with child abuse including child sexual abuse. This co-occurrence needs particular attention in policy and practice.
  • Policy responses to children exposed to domestic and family violence are complicated by the intersecting policy jurisdictions of child protection, family law and domestic violence sectors.
  • Exposure to domestic and family violence alone does not seem to be a factor in future perpetration. Recent multi-country studies suggest that gender roles, stereotypes and violence-supportive attitudes are important for understanding the correlation.
  • Therapeutic responses to children exposed to domestic and family violence should include working with mothers (or the non-offending parent) and children to strengthen attachment and should be trauma-informed.
  • Primary prevention of domestic and family violence with children and young people is crucial and there is a promising evidence base for the effectiveness of school-based programs.
  • Prevention strategies with children should be universally delivered and work to help children be critical of gender norms and violence-supportive attitudes, and equip them with the skills to form healthy and respectful relationships in adulthood.

There is much work to be done to assist our African Australians to find safety in Australia. Rotary SAFE Families looks forward to continuing to work with the MAMAS program both online and face to face in the future.  We need to take into account the reluctance for the African women to disclose or raise concern about their abuse, as there is much to lose for women including community judgement, shunning and excluding. 

Other barriers include language, transport, caring responsibilities, work/study commitments and other settlement issues which act as a hindrance to the full participation of women from African background in Australia, making help seeking more difficult.

Who We Are

Afri-Aus Care works to address mental health taboos within African and other Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. We provide assistance and support to individuals through primary mental health intervention and support and social programs. Involvement in these programs enables individuals to better integrate into Australian society.

Our work is guided by a positive change model, emphasising change for the better, and the concept of Ubuntu – ‘I am because we are.’ We are building towards a future in which all people and services acknowledge and are sensitive to African and CALD peoples’ perceptions of mental health and personal wellbeing.

• Black Rhinos Men’s Basketball & Indoor Soccer Teams
• Black Rhinos Women’s Basketball Team
• Sewing & Cooking
• Community Gardening
• Intensive Case Management and Mental Health Services
• Employment Pathways
• Education Programs
• Afri Connect Local Drug Action Team Dandenong
• Student Placements

Afri-Aus Care is based in Dandenong, with services extending throughout Melbourne’s South East. Our programs include:

• Alcohol Diversion Program
• Prison & Court Programs
• Legal Advice & Education
• Work & Development Permit Scheme
• Youth & Women’s Groups in Pakenham
• South East Community Leaders Youth Engagement at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre
• African Australian Health & Wellbeing Men’s Group in     Springvale
• African Men’s Self Development Program in      Pakenham Dandenong and Magistrates' Court    Dandenong Police Alcohol Diversion Program.

Phone:03 9791 8344/Mobile:0433 526 553 / Website: www.afri– 


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