Report uncovers perspectives of dowry abuse in South Asian communities of Western Sydney

Western Sydney University

Dr Ritesh Chimoriya and Associate Professor Tinashe Dune presenting the findings of the Dowry Abuse and South Asian Populations in Australia report

Western Sydney University researchers have contributed to a new report providing insights into dowry abuse in South Asian communities in Western Sydney.

The report, Dowry Abuse and South Asian Populations in Australia , is a collaboration between the University, City of Parramatta, Settlement Services International and the Indian Crisis Support Agency.

It found more than 15 per cent of South Asian women, born in Australia and overseas, reported domestic and family violence were affected by dowry abuse.

Associate Professor Tinashe Dune from the University's Translational Health Research Institute said the findings affirm the need for greater understanding and awareness of dowry abuse in Australian communities.

"Dowry abuse – a global issue prevalent in South Asian communities – is an act of violence or abuse and threats, linked with giving or receiving dowry, any time before, during or after the marriage," said Associate Professor Dune.

"Our research importantly captured the perspectives of South Asian women and service providers to understand how to define and identify dowry abuse and address this type of domestic and family violence."

The research analysed anonymous case files and conducted focus groups with South Asian women and service providers to uncover the occurrence, rate and impact of dowry abuse within the community.

The findings yielded important insights about the features, sequencing, community role, resources and supports that perpetuate or prevent dowry abuse.

Dr Ritesh Chimoriya, also from the Translational Health Research Institute, highlighted the complexity of dowry abuse which often overlaps with other forms of intimate partner violence and family violence.

Dr Chimoriya noted that, "The study reveals a need to take a comprehensive approach to increase knowledge of the complexities of dowry abuse within the wider social services, health, and legal services sectors in Western Sydney, and work towards improving responses."

"The study also demonstrates that dowry abuse disproportionately affects women who are not Australian citizens, women who are unemployed and who are not likely to have work rights in Australia."

The report's recommendations call for:

  • A consistent definition of dowry abuse across Federal, State and Territory Governments;
  • Provision of resources and training Australia-wide to help identify and respond to dowry abuse;
  • Collaboration between all levels of Government for integrated dowry abuse services; and;
  • Federal reformation of the Family Law Act (1975) providing recovery pathways for dowry victims.

This research is part of the City of Parramatta's Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Action Plan 2022 – 2025 , outlining domestic violence responses and prevention strategies for the local area and Council's workplace.

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