Thanks to strong support from donors to our Christmas appeal, the ARA Communities for Change program has been stepped up.
More than 28 community members from a wide range of cultural backgrounds are learning effective ways to stop domestic and family violence before it happens.
Refugee women are less likely to report domestic violence. ‘Domestic violence affects all communities,’ says ARA Chief Executive Deb Stringer. ‘But past trauma, the stress of resettlement, and adjusting to new social, legal and cultural change can increase the risk of domestic violence for refugee women.’
Our Christmas appeal highlighted our exceptional volunteer Community Educators who work with refugee communities on the frontline to build stronger, safer families.
Ibrahim, a leader in the local Sierra Leone community, is among our Community Educators making a difference.
‘I’ve learned how to identify when domestic violence was happening and most importantly, how to use my skills to build trust,’ he says.
‘Hearing about how family violence affects young children can have a big impact on men. It’s a powerful reminder of how important it is to have a safe, strong family life.’
ARA information sessions, led by Community Educators cover topics such as healthy relationships, personal safety and wellbeing, culture, values and identity–topics that open a door to the hidden problem of domestic violence.
In the past two years more than 267 people from 20 different communities have directly benefited from 27 community led information sessions, events and consultations with ARA and other supportive agencies. Importantly, there is a ‘ripple effect’ after these events, with information flowing on through word of mouth and communication by respected community leaders.
Now in its third year, support agencies, local communities, generous donors and Grants SA (DHS) back the ARA Communities for Change program.