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Simon-Kumar R, Kurian PA, Young-Silcock F, Narasimhan N. Health Soc. Care Community 2017; 25(4): 1387-1395.


Older Persons and Rehabilitation, Child Development Centre, Rural and Community Services, Waikato District Health Board, Hamilton, New Zealand.


(Copyright © 2017, John Wiley and Sons)






Studies on domestic violence in ethnic minority communities highlight that social norms, family structures and cultural practices are among the key triggers of violence against women. Not surprisingly, most anti-violence interventions in these communities aim to redeem women from the oppressive features of these cultures. More recently, however, emergent scholarship advocates mobilising, rather than erasing, culture within existing anti-violence strategies. This paper explores the nature of culturally informed interventions used by front-line workers. It presents the findings of a small-scale qualitative study in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where around 13% of the population are currently deemed to be from minority ethnic communities. Interviews and one focus group were conducted with nine practitioners - including social workers, counsellors and the police - in Hamilton, Aotearoa in 2013-2014. Based on thematic analysis, the paper identifies two core strands: (a) the distinctive profile of ethnic violence and (b) the strategies that mobilise culture in anti-violence interventions. Specifically within the former strand, it was found that violence in the ethnic community was distinctive for the following reasons: the heightened sense of stigma surrounding disclosure and the consequent silence by women who suffer from it; the lack of trust in authority; and the fear of conventional safety plans necessitating longer time periods for rapport-building. Among the strategies that mobilise culture, the study found that practitioners used a family approach; engaged men in their interventions, at times reinforcing gendered roles; utilised micro-interventions; and deployed cultural tropes, especially around spirituality, as a strategy. The conclusion points to the gap between interventions that challenge and mobilise cultures. While anecdotally, the latter are perceived to be relevant and effective in anti-violence interventions, there is need for a fuller assessment and better codification of these strategies within the training of practitioners who work in these communities.

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Language: en


Aotearoa/New Zealand; anti-violence intervention; culture; domestic violence; ethnic communities; migrant women


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