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Community Member

Who you are: a concerned community member (a neighbour, a friend, a family member, a hairdresser, a shopkeeper)

You have an important role to play!

If an immigrant or refugee woman confides in you that she is experiencing abuse or violence, she is putting a lot of trust in you. Keep in mind that you may be the only person she can trust.

If you suspect an immigrant or refugee woman you know is experiencing abuse or violence but don’t know for sure, you may be uncertain about what to do. You have an important role – as someone who could potentially support this woman. It is important that you understand the warning signs and risk factors.

If you suspect that someone you know is abusing an immigrant or refugee woman in their life, you may feel uncomfortable to confront the abuser. It is important that people who are abusing women understand the impact and consequences of their behaviours and actions but you need to be careful in talking to someone who is abusive.

Feeling some hesitation or concern?

If you are feeling some hesitation or concern about taking action on violence or abuse, here are some things for you to think about:

  • Violence affects the whole community – it is everyone’s business
  • Violence can happen in all social, religious, racial, cultural, income and educational groups regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, marital or relationship status
  • Doing nothing can make things worse – the violence could get worse
  • There are resources in the community, including for the person who is abusing
  • It can be extremely difficult for an immigrant or refugee woman to seek support or leave the person who is abusing them
  • Your support could make a huge difference for an immigrant or refugee woman and her children

Knowing how to intervene is like a journey – here is a PowerPoint presentation from the Centre for Research on Violence against Women and Children called “The Journey to Safe and Effective Interventions.” This presentation is focused on a simple strategy: reduce or eliminate isolation.