Nature of domestic/family violence and barriers to using services among indian immigrant women

Erminia Colucci, Manjula O'Connor, Karen Field, Alice Baroni, Reima Pryor, Harry Minas


Domestic/family violence is a widespread major public health and human rights violation issue that runs across ethno-cultural affiliations and economic status. Relative to the actual incidence of family violence, use of services is low, and delayed for years after onset, within the broader Victorian and Australian community. Utilization is even lower for women from immigrant and refugee communities. It has been noted that family violence service utilization by Indian women immigrants in particular was especially low, relative to the size of the Indian population in Victoria. With the Indian culture understood to be traditionally a strongly male-dominated culture, it was deemed important to explore the nature of family violence experience of Indian women living in Australia, and culturally determined barriers to use of services. A partnership was formed to explore this issue through a participatory community theatre approach.

Forum Theatre is a powerful tool that uses theatre for generating community understanding around hard to address issues such as domestic violence. Using such theatre-based ethnography, we aimed to identify the key issues, challenges and needs of Indian immigrant families when accessing and using services that could assist in situations of domestic/family violence.


Migration; Domestic violence; family violence; indian; arts-based research; community theatre; participatory theatre; forum theatre; culture; service use; service utilization; access to services; violence against women; violence prevention

Texte intégral :



Alhabib, S., Nur, U., & Jones, R. (2010). Domestic violence against women: Systematic review of prevalence studies. Journal of Family Violence, 25(4), 369-382.

AISV Taskforce. (2009) AISV Taskforce Against Domestic Violence minutes, 26 November 2009. Melbourne, Australia.

Andersson, N. e. a. (2010). Barriers to disclosing and reporting violence among women in Pakistan: Findings from a National Household Survey and focus group discussions. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(11), 1965-1985.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Cultural Diversity in Australia. Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census [Internet]., accessed 30/01/14.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Australias Population by Country of Birth. State and Territory Composition by Country of Birth [Internet]., accessed 30/01/14

Bannenberg, B., & Rossner, D. (2003). New developments in restorative justice to handle family violence. In E. G. M. Weitekamp & H. J. Kerner (Eds.), Restorative justice in context: International practice and directions (pp. 51-79). Uffculme, UK: Willan Publishing.

Bhuyan, R., & Senturia, K. (2005). Understanding domestic violence resource utilization and survivor solutions among immigrant and refugee women. Journal of interpersonal Violence, 20(8), 895-901.

Boal, A. (1985). The Theatre of the Oppressed. London: Pluto Press.

Boal, A. (1995). The rainbow of desire (A. Jackson, Trans.). London: Routledge.

Bonar, M., & Roberts, D. (2006). A review of literature relating to family and domestic violence in communities in Australia. Western Australia: Family and Domestic Violence Unit.

Capila, A., & Bhalla, P. (2010). "Street Theatre for Edutainment": A participatory research with youth in Delhi. Delhi, India.

Choi, S. Y. P., Cheung, Y. W. & Cheung, A. K. L. (2012). Social isolation and spousal violence: Comparing female marriage migrants with local women. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(Jun), 444-461.

Chowdhary, N., & Patel, V. (2008). The effect of spousal violence on women's health: Findings from the Stree Arogya Shodh in Goa, India. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 54(4), 306-312.

Coker, A. L., Smith, P. H., Bethea, L., King, M., & McKeown, R. (2000). Physical health consequences of physical and psychological intimate partner violence. Archives of Family Medicine, 9(5), 451-557.

Colucci, E. (2012). Culture, cultural meaning(s), and suicide. In Colucci, E. & Lester, D., Eds (2012), Suicide and Culture: Understanding the context, 25-46. U.S: Hogrefe Publishing.

Colucci, E., & Lester, D. (Eds.). (2012). Suicide and culture. Understanding the context. Cambridge, U.S.: Hogrefe Publishers.

Colucci, E., & Pryor, R. (2014). Prevention of violence against women. In S. Okpaku (Ed.), Global Mental Health. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Colucci, E. & Heredia Montesinos, A. (2013). Violence against women and suicide in the context of migration: A review of the literature and a call for action. Suicidology Online, 4, 81-91.

Conrad, D. (2004). Exploring risky youth experiences: Popular theatre as a participatory, performative research method. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3(1), 12-24.

Davar, B. V. (2003). Mental health in the women's health agenda. The National Medical Journal of India, 16(Suppl 2), 39-41.

Dennis, B. (2009). Acting Up: Theatre of the Oppressed as critical ethnography International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(2), 65-97.

Devries, K., Watts, C., Yoshihama, M., Kiss, L., Schraiber, L. B., Deyessa, N., et al. (2011). Violence against women is strongly associated with suicide attempts: Evidence from the WHO multi-country study on womens health and domestic violence against women. Social Science & Medicine, 73(1), 79-86.

Dragone, M. (2000). Esperienze di teatro sociale in Italia. In C. Bernardi, Cuminardi, B., Dalla Palma, S. (Ed.), I fuoriscena. Esperienze e riflessioni sulla drammaturgia nel sociale (pp. 61-68). Milano: Euresis.

Ellsberg, M., & Heise, L. (2005). Researching violence against women: A practical guide for researchers and activists. Washington DC, United States: World Health Organization, PATH.

Ellsberg, M., Jansen, H. A., Heise, L., Watts, C. H., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2008). Intimate partner violence and women's physical and mental health in the WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence: an observational study. The Lancet, 371(9619), 1165-1172.

Enayatullah, & Zeba. (2003). Domestic violence: A content-analysis based study of atrocities against women in Jharkhand. Journal of Social Sciences, 7(1), 65-68.

Eng, S., Li, Y., Mulsow, M., & Fischer, J. (2010). Domestic violence against women in Cambodia: Husbands control, frequency of spousal discussion, and domestic violence reported by Cambodian women. Journal of Family Violence, 25, 237246.

Erez, E. (2000). Immigration, culture conflict and domestic violence/woman battering. Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal, 2(1), 27-36.

Flood, M., & Pease, B. (2009). Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Trauma, Violence,. & Abuse, 10(2), 125-142

Freire, P. (1977/2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed: 30th anniversary edition. Boston: Continuum International.

Intouch. (2010). Barriers to the justice system faced by CALD women experiencing family violence. Melbourne, Australia: InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence.

IWDVS. (2010). Annual Report 2008-2009. Melbourne, Australia: Immigrant Women's Domestic Violence Service.

Lev-Aladgem, S. (2003). From object to subject: Israeli Theatre of the Battered Women. Cambridge Journal, 19(74), 139-149.

Lewis, R., Dobash, R., Dobash, R., & Cavanagh, K. (2000). Protection, prevention, rehabilitation or justice? Womens use of law to challenge domestic violence. International Review of Victimology, 7, 179-207.

Lichtenstein, B., & Johnson, I. M. (2009). Older African American women and barriers to reporting domestic violence to law enforcement in the rural deep south. Women and Criminal Justice, 19(4), 286-305.

Mienczakowski, J. (2001). Ethnodrama: Performed research limitations and potential. In P. Atkinson, A. Coffey, S. Delamont, J. Lofland & L. Lofland (Eds.), Handbook of ethnography (pp. 468-476). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Mitchell, K., & Freitag, J. (2011). Forum Theatre for bystanders: A new model for gender violence prevention. Violence Against Women, 17(8), 990-1013.

Naved, R. T., Azim, S., Bhuiya, A., & Persson, L. A. . (2006). Physical violence by husbands: Magnitude, disclosure and help-seeking behaviour of women in Bangladesh. Social Science & Medicine, 62, 2917-2929.

ODonnell, C., Smith, A., & Madison, J. (2002 ). Using demographic risk factors to explain variations in the incidence of violence against women. Journal of inter personal Violence, 17(12), 1239-1262.

Orloff, L., & Little, R. (1999). Somewhere to turn: Making domestic violence services accessible to battered immigrant women. A How to manual battered womens advocates and service providers. U.S.: Ayuda Inc.

Poljski, C. (2011). On Her Way: Primary prevention of violence against immigrant and refugee women in Australia. Melbourne, Australia: Multicultural Centre for Womens Health accessed on the 15th Jan 2012

Prentki, T., & Selman, J. (2000). Popular theatre in political culture: Britain and Canada in focus. Portland, OR: Intellect Books.

Pryor, R., Colucci, E., Reardon, X., OConnor, M., Field, K., & Baroni, A. (under submission). Evaluation of a collaborative Forum Theatre project exploring the nature of domestic violence within the Australian-Indian community and culturally-determined barriers to help-seeking.

Raj, A., & Silverman, J. (2002). Violence against immigrant women: The roles of culture, context, and legal immigrant status on intimate partner violence. Violence against women, 8(3), 367-398.

Rose, D., Trevillion, K., Woodall, A., Morgan, C., Feder, G., & Howard, L. (2011). Barriers and facilitators of disclosures of domestic violence by mental health service users: Qualitative study. The British Journal Of Psychiatry: The Journal Of Mental Science, 198(3), 189-194.

Rossiter, K., & Godderis, R. (2011). Finding the necessary distance: Theorizing ethnographic research-based theatre. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 40(6), 652-681.

Satish, K. C., Gupta, S. D., & Abraham, G. (2002). Masculinity and violence against women in marriage: An exploratory study in Rajasthan. In B. Burton, N. Duvvury, A. Rajan & N. Varia (Eds.), Men, masculinity and domestic violence in India: summary report of four studies. New Delhi, India: International Center for Research on Women.

Sawrikar, P., & Katz, I. (2008). Enhancing family and relationship service accessibility and delivery to culturally and linguistically diverse families in Australia. Melbourne, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia.

Simister, J., & Mehta, P. S. (2010). Gender-based violence in India: Long-term trends. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(9), 1594-1611.

Shirwadkar, S. (2004). Canadian domestic violence policy and Indian immigrant women. Violence against Women, 10(80), 860-879.

Sliep, Y., Weingarten, K., & Gilbert, A. (2004). Narrative theatre as an interactive community approach to mobilizing collective action in Northern Uganda. Families Systems & Health, 22(3), 306-320.

VicHealth. (2008). Violence against women in Australia. Melbourne, Australia: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

VicHealth. (2009). National Survey on Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women 2009. Melbourne, Australia: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

VicHealth. (2011). Preventing violence against women in Australia Melbourne, Australia: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation

Victoria Police. (2011). Family Incident Reports - 2006/07 to 2010/11. Melbourne, Australia: accessed on the 12th Jan 2012,

Wang, W. (2010). Transgressive local act: tackling domestic violence with forum and popular theatre in Sisterhood Bound as Yuan Ze Flower. Research in Drama Education. The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 15(3), 413-429.

Websdale, N. (1997). Rural women battering and the justice system: An ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

WHO. (2002). World Health report on violence and health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

WHO. (2005). WHO multi-country study on womens health and domestic violence against women: Initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and womens responses. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

WHO. (2011). Violence against women, Fact sheet N°239. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, accessed 14th Jan 2012

Wilcox, P. (2006). Communities, care and domestic violence. Critical Social Policy, 26, 722-747.


  • Il n'y a présentement aucun renvoi.

Tous droits réservés (c)

© Alterstice  2010-2024 - ISSN 1923-919X

Établi avec le soutien de l’Association internationale pour la Recherche InterCulturelle (ARIC), du Centre de recherche Cultures-Arts-Sociétés (CELAT) et de l' équipe de recherche METISS . Le site est hébergé par le service informatique de la Faculté des Sciences Sociales de l'Université Laval (Québec, Canada) pour le laboratoire "Psychologie et Cultures".