Migrant support hub part of DV 'eradication' plan

Refugee and migrant women experiencing domestic violence will soon be able to access specialist help in a NSW first as the government wrestles with how to eradicate the scourge.

A support hub will operate from south-western Sydney and provide a crucial starting point to connect at-risk women from diverse backgrounds to services.

It will form part of the government's plan to eradicate domestic and family violence in the long-term, Deputy Premier Prue Car told reporters on Friday.

"We cannot seriously do that without making sure all women including multicultural and refugee women have access to services as well," she said.

Gulnara Abbasova, the director of the Multicultural Centre for Women's and Family Safety, said migrant and refugee women faced unique challenges and tailored support was needed.

"Limited English, a lack of family support or established networks, social isolation, a limited understanding of Australian systems as well as cultural considerations and stigma all present unique barriers to these women in accessing support," she told AAP.

Prue Carr (file)
Stopping domestic violence means guaranteeing support for all women, says Prue Carr. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

Issues such as visas or residency status could also prevent women accessing services such as Centrelink or housing support.

"Because of these barriers, migrant and refugee women are more likely to remain in unsafe situations for longer, only leaving at the point of crisis," Ms Abbasova said.

The centre will be critical in ensuring they do not fall through the cracks.

It will refer women to appropriate services while helping other providers strengthen capacity to support migrant women through interpreters and other specialist provisions.

Ms Abbasova said 35 per cent of all women in Sydney were born overseas, while one in three from a migrant or refugee background had experienced family or domestic violence

"These women are more reluctant to seek support and it's only when it gets to the point of absolute crisis that they start reaching out to access services," she added.

"It's about supporting women to navigate the maze of available support."

Some women faced the particular challenge of "migration-related abuse", which involved perpetrators threatening to withdraw visa sponsorship.

"It becomes a mechanism of control to keep women in unsafe situations," Ms Abbasova said.

Ms Car said the government would spend $4.4 million to establish the centre, which would help thousands of women annually.

Women's Minister Jodie Harrison said women from multicultural backgrounds were over-represented in domestic family and sexual violence figures.

"Not only are they more vulnerable to abuse, sadly they are less likely to seek help due to a range of cultural and language barriers," she said.

The centre's opening follows the announcement earlier in the week of an emergency domestic violence funding package of $230 million over four years after a spate of high-profile attacks on women.

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