Multidisciplinary research team to investigate female international students’ experiences of sexual and intimate partner violence

MMIC Deputy Director Helen Forbes-Mewett is taking a lead role in a new multidisciplinary ARC Discovery Project that aims to increase the safety of female international students by exploring their experiences of sexual and intimate partner violence.

A 2017 report by the Australian Human Rights Commission reported “unacceptable rates” of sexual assault and harassment occurring at Australian universities and residential colleges. Yet many responses from university and community services to better protect students have been found not to be meeting the specific needs of international students. A range of cultural, social and structural issues may increase the vulnerability of female international students to gendered violence, inside and outside of university settings, leading to serious impacts on their health and well-being. Yet, little is known about their experiences or how best to support them.

A new multidisciplinary project aims to increase the safety of female international students by identifying their risk and protective factors, exploring their experiences and support requirements, and developing best-practice responses. Outcomes of this project include a new conceptual model and guidelines for service providers. Led by Dr Laura Tarzia (University of Melbourne), the research team brings together scholars from a diverse range of disciplines across Melbourne, Deakin and Monash Universities. This multidisciplinary team features Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC) Deputy Director Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett, who will act as the Monash lead for the study. The project continues Helen’s previous research on international student safety, a topic that she has published widely on. The team also features fellow MMIC Deputy Director Associate Professor Marie Segrave.

The three-year ‘International students' sexual and intimate partner violence experiences study’ (INVEST) was funded for $356,196 and commences in July 2019. To find out more about this project, please contact Helen Forbes-Mewett.