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Problems faced by temporary visa holders in accessing family violence services in Australia

Volunteers from a community organisation, who help women with temporary visas, when they face family violence Source: SBS Punjabi

The Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia (FECCA) has written an open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, to ensure that all victims of familly violence have access to crisis payments, regardless of their visa status.

To explore this further, we held a panel discussion at SBS Punjabi's Melbourne studios, speaking to two volunteers who help victims of violence (especially those migrant women who don't have a permanent residency visa) and also a victim of violence herself, whose spousal visa sponsorship was withdrawn by her abusive husband.

 Taruna Singh Chaudhry and Prateek Pahwa volunteer with a community organisation named Jagriti, and they shared their experiences in dealing with migrant women who don't have a support system around them, many of whom don't have good English language skills, and can't access government crisis services because of their visa status.

 

"Pooja" narrated her personal experience as a victim of violence, who would not have been helped by the government services, had she not contacted Jagriti for help. The latter helped her with crisis accommodation as well as a referral to legal services.

 Taruna Singh Chaudhry described how many migrant women face similar issues, and are excluded from mainstream services due to their visa status. Prateek Pahwa also described the logistical help that he coordinates, to provide such women with food, medical help, financial assistance, apart from accommodation.

 

This discussion was important, given the fact that May is a month dedicated to the elimination of family violence in Australia, and also that FECCA has recently sent an open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, advocating for a better assistance plan for migrant women without a permanent visa. Here is a copy of the letter sent by FECCA and supported by 135 organisations around Australia.

 

 


PLEASE NOTE: If you are seeking help regarding a family violence matter, please call 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732. This is a free call, from anywhere within Australia and if you can't speak English fluently, an interpreter can be arranged. In case of emergency, please call 000