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New grants to break down barriers of violence against women in diverse communities

December 20, 2021 / Our Watch media team

Breaking the taboo of family violence for Fijian women, raising awareness of the drivers of violence within Muslim communities, and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Islander men to have resilient and respectful relationships are the focus of new community-led and designed projects funded by Our Watch’s Connected Communities Project.

A group of women standing in an office environment, smiling at the camera.
Tagimoucia Project team with Audrey and Monique from Our Watch

Fijian Community Association of Victoria, Lebanese Muslim Association and South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation received grants to support the development and delivery of workshops, campaigns and projects to connect with their communities. 

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said Connected Communities Project was about championing community-led approaches in order to broaden the reach and engagement of primary prevention work in Australia. 

First Nations women, migrant and refugee women face sexism, whilst also having to grapple with other forms of discrimination such as racism, and the impacts of colonisation, which can further increase their risk of experiencing violence,” Ms Kinnersly said. 

“To end violence against all women, a one-sized fits all approach doesn’t work,”  

“No one is better placed to take the reins than community leaders themselves. We must listen, support and work with diverse communities,” she said.  

A large group of people sitting in a room in a circle listening to a man speaking at a table at the front.
The South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation Community yarning circles

Fijian Community Association of Victorian chair Sylvia Coombe said the Tagimoucia Project aims to be a ‘conversation starter’ within the Fijian community about the causes of family and gendered drivers of violence through two workshops to women in the south-east and western suburbs of Melbourne.    

“This funding is an opportunity for our grassroots organisation to explore the taboo topic of family violence with the Fijian women in our community. The project will help our association engage further with our women and hopefully help the participants to gain awareness of gender equity and the impact on family violence,” she said. 

Lebanese Muslim Association Organisational Development Coordinator Amna K. Hassan said their grant will support a digital campaign targeting Arab Muslim communities in Western Sydney to enable changes to attitudes, education and cultural norms that underpin the drivers of violence against women. 

“The project and partnership is an opportunity for us to expand the body of work focused on preventing domestic and family violence. The evolution of this work, which started eight years ago focused on Muslim communities, and is enhanced by our collaboration with Our Watch who impart their expertise and experience.  

“The partnership has allowed us to think more creatively about how we raise awareness and have conversations within Muslims communities about these issues,” she said. 

The South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation Community (SETAC) in Cygnet will use the grant to run four workshops that focus on empowering and educating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and non-Aboriginal male partners of Aboriginal women.  

SETAC Community Project Officer Eliza Hart said The Rullanih Palawa is about teaching men on how to have resilient, respectful and positive relationships with partners and families.  

“The Our Watch funding has created a space for men to connect and lead the way in preventing violence in the community.  

“We have been able to support the employment of Aboriginal practitioners on country trips, cultural burning, art therapy, yarning circles and the attendance of men in a cultural festival where they facilitated a community workshop making clapsticks and bush crafts.  

“The Rullanih Palawa (Strong Men) program has strengthened the connection between SETAC and Karadi Aboriginal Corp, broadening our networks and strengthening community ties,” she said. 

All organisations will deliver their projects by June 2022. 

Media contact

Shannon McKeogh, Senior Media and Communications Advisor (shannon.mckeogh@ourwatch.org.au or 0412 612 039) or media@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.

About Our Watch

Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children