Gender based violence in the CALD community

Gender Based Violence – Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation

Women’s Health Strategy and Programs (WHSP) deliver a Statewide Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation (FGC/M) training and education program. The program aims to upskill health professionals, and other professionals working with refugee and migrants on what the practice is and how to offer culturally holistic and inclusive care to patients from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) background. The program also delivers training and education at all tertiary hospital and universities.

The Program staff advocate for communities access to health services and support, and have developed key FGC/M education and information resources, such as an e-learning package (accessible online). WHSP staff are also members of the WA Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation Interagency Network. The purpose of the Network is to inform interagency processes and responses for the protection of women and children living in Western Australia who are at risk of, or have had female genital cutting for cultural reasons.

Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person on the basis of gender, frequently as a form of family and domestic violence. It constitutes a breach of the fundamental right to life, liberty, security, dignity, non-discrimination, and physical and mental integrity.

Gender-based violence reflects and reinforces inequalities between men and women. These gender inequalities are commonly found in traditions and beliefs that assert male authority and may be reflected in the practices of some culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities of WA (e.g., some migrant or refugee communities).

Specific forms of violence that may be relevant within some CALD communities include:

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Forced marriage / child forced marriage
  • Honour killings.

WHSP offer specialised training on these topics, as well as violence and trauma in the CALD community.

Female genital cutting/mutilation (FGC/M)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as comprising ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the female genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons’.

The WHO estimates that approximately 130 million women across the globe have undergone the procedure and that 2 million girls are at risk of being circumcised each year.

Other forms of gender based violence

Forced marriage / child forced marriage

A forced marriage is a marriage that is performed under duress and without the full and informed consent or free will of both parties.

Being under duress includes feeling both physical and emotional pressure. Some victims of forced marriage are tricked into going to another country by their families. Victims fall prey to forced marriage through deception, abduction, coercion, fear, and inducements.

A forced marriage may be between children, a child and an adult, or between adults. A forced marriage is considered to be domestic violence.

Honour killings

Honour crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by a male family member against a female family member who is perceived to have ‘dishonoured’ the family. Dishonouring the family can include engaging in premarital intercourse, marrying someone the family does not approve of, being a victim of sexual assault or seeking a divorce. Honour crimes are a form of gender based violence.

More information

For further information, resources and links, visit our family and domestic violence professional toolbox or sign up for our family and domestic violence training.