Page updated August 4, 2021

Community-led Matter of Respect prevents family violence

October 22, 2020

Falam Chin, Indian, and Karen communities in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne are driving the community-led project Matter of Respect to help prevent family violence in their communities and to address gender and equality issues which are a driver of family violence.

Funded by the Victorian Government, Matter of Respect is evolving and being driven by community responses and the Coronavirus pandemic which has had a significant impact on Victorians who have been in an extended lockdown for more than 100 days.

Project Coordinator Capella Henderson (pictured) said the Falam Chin, Karen, and Indian communities have different backgrounds and experiences. These range from educated and highly skilled migrants to those with a history of trauma. Some communities have trust issues with governments and authorities due to their history of persecution in their country of origin.

Matter of Respect is focused on understanding and responding to these differences and providing a safe place for these communities to participate.

“While the project is slowly building trust with these communities, the one thing these communities have in common and that they have asked for is information they can get easily and that is in their own language,” said Capella.

To address this need, two part-time bilingual (Falam Chin and Karen speaking) presenters will soon join the project. They will present in the first languages a series of short online modules covering family law and family violence. The workshop modules will be tailored to meet the needs of each community and will help address the key barriers that the communities face in getting access to relevant legal information that they can understand.

The Matter of Respect Working group from the Karen and Falam Chin communities has begun designing digital postcards with slogans or simple messages to challenge rigid and outdated gender roles.

Three workshops on Consent, Sexting and Cyberbullying with two partner organisations will soon be held for the Karen community. A further two sessions will follow for young Karen community members. The first session held in October 2020 attracted more than 50 participants and received positive feedback.

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