Access to support services

Although there are many support services available to work with families, there are a number of barriers for families of Arabic speaking backgrounds in accessing these services. These barriers are primarily due to communication issues, cultural factors impeding access, poor knowledge of services amongst Arabic speaking families and culturally inappropriate service responses to issues faced by Arabic speaking families. Your client’s access to support services may be affected by:

  • Poor English language and communication barriers
  • Cultural influence and lack of confidence in utilising supports outside the family
  • The burden of not wanting to tell outsiders about issues within the family, feeling of guilt in bringing shame and disgrace onto the family
  • In cases of family violence, a fear of being blamed and isolated from their communities, families and friends and the social stigma of problems within the family.  In some cases, family violence may be viewed as “normal” based on past experiences from their country of origin
  • Lack of knowledge and understanding of the available services and resources, including one’s legal rights
  • Lack of understanding of family counselling/therapy  and  relationship resolution services
  • Lack of knowledge of the Australian legal system and the role of Child Protection Services
  • Lack of support networks to build confidence in accessing and utilising services
  • Poor knowledge amongst service providers of cultural values/norms of Arabic speaking families
  • Poor cultural competence of some services providers working in family services
  • Inability of some service providers to respond effectively to women from diverse Arabic speaking backgrounds