Communicating Reproductive Coercion in the Context of Domestic and Family Violence: Perspectives of Service Providers Supporting Migrant and Refugee Women

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Sheeran, Nicola
Tarzia, Laura
Douglas, Heather
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2022
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Abstract

The current study explored the language barriers to help-seeking in the context of reproductive coercion and abuse (RCA), domestic and family violence (DFV), and sexual violence (SV), drawing on observations by key informants supporting women from migrant and refugee communities. A lack of shared language has been identified as a key barrier to help seeking for migrant and refugee women experiencing DFV more broadly, though how language intersects with help seeking in the context of RCA is yet to be investigated. We conducted 6 focus groups with 38 lawyers, counsellors, and social workers supporting women experiencing DFV in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia. Our findings address two main areas. First, consistent with past research in DFV, our participants identified language as a barrier for women when communicating about sexual and reproductive issues in the context of health and police encounters. More specifically, our findings suggest that the inability of health professionals and police to communicate with women who have low or no English proficiency not only negatively impacted victims/survivors’ ability to access support, but also facilitated the perpetration of RCA. We conclude that language can be a mechanism through which coercive control is enacted by perpetrators of RCA and health and policing systems may not be equipped to recognise and address this issue. We also suggest that greater conceptual clarity of RCA is needed within the DFV sector in order to tailor responses.

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Journal of Family Violence
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© The Authors 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.
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Subject
Criminology
Psychology
Social Sciences
Psychology, Clinical
Family Studies
Reproductive coercion
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Sheeran, N; Tarzia, L; Douglas, H, Communicating Reproductive Coercion in the Context of Domestic and Family Violence: Perspectives of Service Providers Supporting Migrant and Refugee Women, Journal of Family Violence, 2022
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