CONFIRMATION OF CANDIDATURE - Engagement of African born women in Australia with Behaviour Change Communication to address Intimate Partner Violence.

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Presenter:  Sarah Ajowi - PHD Student, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University

Date: Sep 13, 2016

Time: 11:30am to 12:30pm

Contact person:  The LEBA Research and Postgraduate Office
T: 8946 6156

Location:  Yellow 1.1.39


Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is increasing not only in Australia but worldwide. The majority of abusive and violent behaviour that occurs in the privacy of people's homes is committed by men against women, and in most cases the IPV victims don’t report these cases. Recent studies have cited various reasons for this underreporting but for immigrant women, they are often faced by additional challenges that hinder them from reporting.This study will investigate probable link between underreported incidences of IPV among African-born women and a complex interplay of cultural factors, ineffective communication strategies, and a lack of culturally tailored support services. It will examine various communication strategies used in creating awareness and reporting of IPV, and explore how African-born women who are former victims of IPV in the Northern Territory (NT), Australia, engage with such strategies in order to address IPV. The study will be theoretically framed by ethnography, intersectionality and behaviour change communication (BCC). My fieldwork will involve two stages of in-depth interviews with information collected in stage one used to inform the data collection in stage two. First, I will interview support service providers in Darwin and Alice Springs and second, with their assistance, identify and invite to interviews former IPV victims, African-born women. The available literature on IPV in immigrant communities, government publications and media reports (2014-16) as well as the Census (2006, 2011, and 2016 if available) and immigration statistics will be examined. The study aims to inform the design and implementation of communication strategies and support services that will increase reporting cases of IPV among the African-born women in the NT and Australia more broadly.  It will also contribute new and original knowledge to academic literature on role of communication strategies in encouraging African-born women victims to report IPV cases.


Sarah Ajowi is currently a full time PhD student at the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University and a holder of the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship.  She completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree (English and Economics) at Bugema University in Uganda and Masters of Arts Degree in Communication Studies at University of Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to migration to Australia, Sarah worked as a researcher (2011-2014) for several large international not-for-profit organisations in Africa in the field of behaviour change communication and social marketing/promotion in the public health sphere.