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Does the use of community languages disadvantage women when reporting domestic violence?
This Global Frictions panel will grapple with some vexed issues at the intersection of language and tradition when dealing with family violence in linguistically diverse communities. The panel discussion features Dr Eliseu Mabasso (University Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique) and Dr Adele Murdolo (Executive Director, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health) and will be convened by Dr Georgina Heydon (RMIT).
In Maputo (Mozambique) and Melbourne (Australia) family violence cases involving speakers of community languages are dealt with using ad hoc justice practices and/or bilingual community members or staff when interpreters are not available. This can exclude these victim-survivors from accessing formal justice and support services that are only available in the national official language (Portuguese and English respectively).
In this discussion session, panel members will present their arguments in relation to these two cities with high linguistic diversity and high levels of family violence but vastly different justice systems. The discussion will address the friction that exists in both sites between policies that seek to change traditional practices that lead to the perpetuation of family violence, and policies that enshrine the national language as the only form of communication in the justice system, and yet do little to provide access to justice for speakers of other languages.
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