For the past three years, Cara Ellickson, Director of Flinders University’s Gender Consortium, has led a team working in Vietnam delivering an applied research project to improve the management and delivery of services to Vietnamese women and children who are victims and survivors of trafficking and domestic violence. The key services being supported include the Peace House Shelters for trafficking and domestic violence victims as well as the Peace House Telephone Counselling Hotline.
“Our team is passionate about offering this support, as gender-based violence has a huge impact on Vietnam’s social and economic development,” Ms Ellickson says.
Working in conjunction with the Vietnam Women’s Union and Center for Women and Development, the Gender Consortium team has organised training workshops and mentoring programs on how to best support the women and children affected by gender-based violence.
The team has carried out its work with the assistance of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade aid funding worth $2.1 million won by the Gender Consortium under Australia’s Government Partnerships for Development Program. The grant encourages partnerships between public-sector organisations in Australia and developing countries in the Asia and Pacific regions.
South Australian organisations involved in the delivery of the project have included the Office for Women, SAPOL, Southern and Central Domestic Violence Services, Family Violence Court, Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service, Domestic Violence and Aboriginal Family Violence Gateway Service and Women’s Legal Service (SA).
Ms Ellickson said working with these organisations and being on the ground in Vietnam had affected how topics were taught by Gender Consortium staff.
“Over the past four years in Vietnam and Australia; gaining practical experience in the field has been invaluable,” she says.
“Working in Vietnam has given our team new insights that have enriched our research and teaching. To be able to bring this experience to our students and immerse them in the research and culture brings the real world into their learning.
“Our project focus has been on strengthening Vietnam’s capacity to respond to gender-based violence by sharing the benefits of Australian best practice to increase knowledge, understanding and skills.
“We are passionate about offering this support, as gender-based violence has a huge impact on Vietnam’s social and economic development.”