Image: Supplied.

Meet Muslim Women Australia frontline worker Feda

Muslim Women Australia works predominantly with women from migrant and refugee backgrounds, also known as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD).

In partnership with Domestic Violence NSW.

It’s twelve hundred hours on the frontlines of domestic violence and we are in Lakemba in Western Sydney. For most, it’s lunchtime, which means the streets are filled with the sounds of children playing in local school yards. Today we are across the road at Muslim Women Australia (MWA) following frontline worker Feda who has been a case worker there for several years.  

Feda is a welcoming host, insisting on tea for us while she takes midday prayer. The design of Muslim Women Australia’s meeting place is trauma informed – with plenty of shade and breeze – not to mention the children’s play area tucked away in the corner.  

Muslim Women Australia works predominantly with women from migrant and refugee backgrounds, also known as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD). The additional complexities within CALD experiences of domestic violence include not having the same rights or access to services as Australian citizens or permanent visa holders, language barriers, fear of police and authorities, misidentification, or a lack of community support and networks.   

“Upholding our client’s dignity is the upmost importance of our case work” Feda explains whilst taking us on a tour past the photo wall of forty years of history for Muslim Women Australia. Their Linking Hearts Program specifically caters to women seeking safe pathways from violence. Later in her office Feda reflects that “For members of our community – actually CALD community in general – domestic violence is a complex issue because they have no idea where to go”.  

While the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare acknowledges the gaps in research surrounding domestic violence experiences within the CALD community – it does point to research from 2016 that indicated over 48% of women on temporary visas who sought support for domestic violence had their precarious visa status used as a threat against them.

Services like Muslim Women Australia are valued members of the domestic violence sector community because of the crucial role they play promoting and advocating for the unique needs of their clients. Their recent leadership has shed light on the impact of the conflict in Gaza on members of their community (you can read their Seeds of Resistance Report here) and demonstrated the way faith can be used as a preventative tool against domestic and family violence (read their Saving Face Guide here).  

Feda is the twelfth frontline worker Domestic Violence NSW has featured this May as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The 24 Hours on the Frontlines campaign, run by DVNSW uses a series of videos to showcase the pervasiveness of domestic violence in the community and the strength of the sector working tirelessly to stop it. 

If you want to join the fight against domestic violence, sign and share DVNSW’s national pledge. You can also explore resources on domestic violence here. Check out the rest of the campaign on Domestic Violence NSW’s Instagram, Facebook or Tiktok.