Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights

ProjectIncreasing access to trauma-informed care for CALD and Muslim women affected by violence

Amount$194,631 over two years


ProgramPast Programs | Health

This grant was approved under previous grants policy (2014-2017)
Rural and regional Victoria Identifying barriers experienced by migrant women in both regional and metropolitan Victoria; implementing a pilot aimed at increasing access to psychological care in Greater Geelong
Building organisational capacity Increasing partner organisations’ capacity to deliver trauma-informed care and provide access to psychological services
Collaboration and partnership Phoenix Australia, Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health; Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health; WIRE; Arabic Welfare; Minerva Community Services; Diversitat; Catholic Care; Mental Health Professional Network; and regional primary health networks.

Increasing access to mental health services for migrant and refugee women who have experienced violence

More than one in three women in Australia experience family or sexual violence in their lifetime. Migrant and refugee women are particularly vulnerable to violence and encounter numerous obstacles when accessing mainstream support services. This action research project investigates the barriers to accessing psychological support to inform practical service delivery and a trauma-informed model of care.

Domestic violence produces significant mental health problems, and trauma-informed care models are shown to be effective in engaging women in psychological care. Service agencies and local government in Greater Geelong are collaborating to increase access to psychological care for migrants and refugees.


  • Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights (AMWCHR) has partnered with the research centre Phoenix Australia, Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, to deliver the project.
  • Key service providers including Arabic Welfare Inc, Diversitat, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, Catholic Care Dandenong, WIRE and Minerva Community Services sit on the advisory group.
  • Literature reviews, surveys, focus groups and interviews will be used to investigate and identify gaps and barriers to service provision experienced by migrant women in both regional and metropolitan Victoria.
  • Recommendations about principles, service models or programs that can increase access to trauma-informed care and appropriate mental health treatment will be developed in partnership with members of the advisory group.
  • The model of care will be piloted in Greater Geelong with agencies interested in participating and enhancing their skills in working with Muslim and migrant women who have experienced violence.
  • A training and support package aimed at promoting the use of the model of care will be rolled-out to frontline workers and evaluated using service data and practitioner surveys.
  • While targeting Muslim and CALD women, the improved practices in trauma-informed approaches for community organisations will extend to all women using the services.
  • Assuming success, the training package developed in the pilot will be accessible to other agencies for future use, ensuring ongoing sustainability.



“This study is essential to understand Muslim women’s access to and experience of trauma-informed services when faced with family and/or sexual violence.” Ambreen Mirza, Program Manager, Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights.