The Safety and Support in My Language Project (SSMyL) delivered bilingual health education sessions in Arabic, Chinese and Hindi to 35 women on the topics of Gender Equality, Healthy Relationships and Family Violence between June 2020 and February 2022. Following each session, follow-up interviews and focus groups with participants were conducted and findings showed that bilingual health education is an effective tool in multicultural communities to prevent family violence against women.
Bibiana Huggins, who was responsible for implementation of the SSMyL project, said:
“This project was unique as it was the first Prevention of Violence Against Women project implemented by MCWH to include individual interviews and focus groups following the bilingual health education sessions. These interviews and focus groups were also led by bilingual health educators. It provided a really rare opportunity to gather evidence on what women learnt from the sessions, and any services and family violence services gaps they identified.”
MCWH Health Educators Gagan Cheema, He Li, Huda Al Saba, Manasi Wagh-Nikam, Rachel Chung, and Wafa Ibrahim all contributed to the innovative SSMyL Project, which worked with key partners including Uniting, Communities for Children Hume, Banksia Gardens Community Services and Kenley Court Neighbourhood House.
The Report shows that receiving information in languages other than English strengthened migrant and refugee women’s understanding of family violence and healthy relationships in a culturally safe and empowering way. Migrant and refugee women were better able to make the links between gender inequality and family violence as well as recognise the early signs of violent or abusive behaviour.