Analysing Safety and Place in Immigrant and Refugee Experience

Project Details

The project's overall aim is to increase understanding of the nature and dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women in different Australian contexts.  Specific research questions include:

  1. What are immigrant and refugee women's experiences of violence (particularly family and intimate partner violence) and of help-seeking, in selected geographic communities in Australia?
  2. What are local barriers and facilitators to immigrants and refugees accessing violence prevention and support services in different settings?
  3. What opportunities exist for supporting community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women? 

Knowledge generated will have a focus on the intersections between place, migration, gender and culture.

Project summary

Immigrant and refugee women who have resettled in Australia are known to face barriers accessing services aimed at preventing and responding to domestic and family violence.  However there is limited evidence available about the contexts, nature and dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women to inform responsive community-based interventions.

This participatory research project worked with communities in eight geographic locations (two inner-city, three suburban, and three regional) in Victoria and Tasmania, to generate evidence about immigrant and refugee women's experiences in a range of settings.  The project engaged communities through extensive consultation pre-data collection and by facilitating community members' participation in generating and analysing data.  

Researchers from the University and the Multicultural Centre for Women's Health including a team of bilingual and bicultural workers experienced in conducting qualitative research collected research data. A mix of qualitative methods were used to generate rich data about the family, cultural and place-based contexts that shape the impact and dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women; women's help-seeking efforts; and participating cultural communities' attitudes and responses to violence and its prevention. 

Photovoice was used to document their perspectives on opportunities for community-led responses to violence against migrant and refugee women.


Dr Cathy Vaughan

Dr Karen Block

Professor Anne Kavanagh

Dr Adele Murdolo (Multicultural Centre for Women's Health)

Dr Linda Murray (School of Medicine, University of Tasmania)

Dr Regina Quiazon (Multicultural Centre for Women's Health)

Associate Professor Deb Warr


ASPIRE was a collaboration between the University of Melbourne, the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, and the University of Tasmania.

The research team included Cathy Vaughan (Principal Investigator), Deb Warr, Karen Block, Erin Davis and Anne Kavanagh from the Centre for Health Equity (University of Melbourne); Adele Murdolo, Regina Quiazon and Jasmin Chen (Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health); and Linda Murray (University of Tasmania).

A Project Advisory Group was established to provide ASPIRE with access to a high calibre group of experts working at the intersections of participatory research, migration and resettlement, violence prevention, and women’s rights. The Project Advisory Group contributed insights, guidance and expertise in finalising the implementation of the research design, and ensured that the project engages with important policy issues, and the findings make sense to people working on the ground.


ANROWS Open Application Grant

Research Outcomes

Yen Kim, one of our bilingual researchers, interviewed SBS Cantonese radio Listen to the interview online.

The ASPIRE Project has also featured on several other SBS radio shows in Mandarin and Punjabi.

Research Publications

Vaughan, C., Murdolo, A., Murray, L., Davis, E., Chen, J., Block, K Quiazon R & Warr, D.  ASPIRE: A multi-site community-based participatory research project to increase understanding of the dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women in Australia. BMC public health, 2015, 15(1), 1.

Murdolo A, Quiazon R & Vaughan C. Landscapes: Promoting community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women in metropolitan and regional Australia: The ASPIRE Project: State of Knowledge paper. ANROWS, 2015 (12).

Further information can be found:

Research Group

Gender and Women's Health

School Research Themes

Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

Unit / Centre

Gender and Women's Health