“I was traumatised and yet this is another trauma”: exploring resettlement challenges facing „female heads of households‟ settling in Western Australia from Africa 2001-2006
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This research explores issues facing 'female heads of households‘ in negotiating re-settlement in Perth Western Australian. African female heads of households are those women who came to Australia on the visa category 204 ‘women-at-risk‘. The term women-at-risk is used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to refer to refugee women who have particular protection problems and find themselves without adequate support mechanisms. The special needs of these refugee women derive from persecution and particular hardships sustained in their country of origin, during their flight from their homeland or in their country of refuge. The objectives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee‘s assistance to women-at-risk are to provide international options for resettlement to refugee women who are without family protection and cannot return to their country of origin. The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) classifies this group of refugees as female heads of households. Although there are a range of government-funded programs to meet the needs of these women, they face multiple adjustments in their way of life. The main focus of the study was to discover how these women are negotiating the settlement process and, in particular, the employment challenges associated with the Australian Welfare to Work reforms of 2006.This interpretive piece of research documents the experiences of these women. The nature of these has significant implications for policy makers, service providers and Australians generally. In particular through the use of a co-operative inquiry approach, overt links have been made between women‘s narratives of their experiences and the design and effectiveness of the support systems available to them.
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