Integrated Family Violence Support Service

Bạo Hành Gia Đình
Chi Lanigan

The Victorian Department of Human Service fund this program to deliver Integrated Family Violence Service to the Vietnamese Community.

Family and domestic violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. This includes not only physical injury but direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear.

The term ‘’Family Violence’’ encompasses violence that might occur between family members, such as violence between or across generations, in addition to violence between partners. The term family violence because it more accurately reflects extended kinship ties and how the impact of violence affects all members of a family.

Impacts resulting from gambling, alcohol & drug addiction are increasing in everyday life. The factors include insecure financial issues, stress, anxiety, depression, mental health problems that could cause family conflicts and family relationship breakdown in the Vietnamese Community in this region.

The program objectives help to assist Vietnamese families who have experienced Domestic Violence including women, men, siblings, family members, relatives, and elderly people and so on. We, at SICMAA, help Vietnamese clients applying for an Intervention Order and making a safety plan if they are at high risk, linking clients with emergency assistance when the victim is separated from the perpetrator, assisting clients seeking refuge and practical support to rebuild their lives and gain knowledge and skills to be able to become independent when they decide to leave their perpetrators.

We have full range of services including individual counselling, specialist support family services, therapies, welfare services and main-stream domestic violence services in confidential, respected, and informed responses. We have also built strong networking with other referral services such as Courts, Court Network, In-Touch Multicultural Service, and Legal Aid Services to ensure that the intervention and support remains safe for the clients.

For years, SICMAA has provided extra pre-and post-counselling and family support for Vietnamese women who are suffering with family violence. This year, we helped a lot of women who were victims of family violence in matters such as access to refuge, applying for applications for Intervention Orders, provision of pre-and post-financial counselling and family support.

Recently, we have had referred and achieved some good results from other Network Services to support clients such as Intouch, WAYSS, Anglicare Victoria (Supporting client to attend Beyond the Violence Program & Parenting program), Windermere Child and Family Service (Applying for Family Violence Support Packages) which assist our clients safety, security needs, and independence to achieve living goals and support via this package. We have also referred our clients to join other play group programs which were organised by Mission Australia & Anglicare Victoria for children from 0-5 years old. These programs help our clients to discover better forms of communication with their children, manage their emotions, intelligence and coach their children with strategies that will build their confidence in being able to deal with conflict.

Most Vietnamese clients that come to SICMAA to ask for help have difficulties in accessing other services due to language barriers and cultural factors. They come to SICMAA through self-referral, through friends, local schools, or other community agencies with the hope that they can rebuild a new life and have a happy and better future in Australia. Some of them have shown their courage and determination to end their violent relationship and have gotten help to rebuild their lives. On the other hand, others have chosen to return to their abusive relationship.

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The most common issues making these women to go back to their perpetrators are:

  • New arrivals (spouse visa and other ties)
  • Language barriers
  • Lack of skills to enter the workforce
  • Financial dependence
  • Isolation from wider community
  • Cultural issues such as: cross culture, social stigma, coercive men
  • Religious belief
  • Lack of understanding about women’s rights
  • Lack of knowledge about existing services and legal system
  • Lack of confidence and self-esteem

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Things that we provide well at SICMAA:

  • We understand our Vietnamese Cultural background.
  • We provide direct language service without an interpreter.
  • Ongoing support and assistance without time limits.
  • Most clients are happy with the end results.

SICMAA has been a well-known welfare organization for many years. This is a drop-in Centre so when people have any issues related to Family Violence, Family Support, Housing problems, Gambling and financial counselling, or Disability issues, this is their first post to access.

In the last financial year 2018 – 2019, due to lack of funding the Department of Human Services have cut back from 2 to 1 day work per week for this service, however, we still continue to maintain our work to support for the increasing needs of Vietnamese women and children who suffer from family violence.

We believe that the DHHS will continue to fund and support the program in the future so that we can continue to help the victims of Vietnamese family violence in terms of reclaiming their rights, their confidence, self-esteem, safety and more importantly rebuild their future lives.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to:

  • Ms. Sue Seymour – Agency Performance & System Support South Melbourne Area – South Division – Department of Health & Human Services
  • Ms. Be Ha J.P – SICMAA’s President
  • All SICMAA Staff and All Volunteer

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