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People Involved: Robert SchweitzerMark BroughIgnacio Correa-VelezKate MurrayAccess Community Services

Research Areas: Refugee Women & Girls at Risk

Funding Agency: Australian Research Council

Project Description

This research aims to develop a practice framework for working with refugee women, who have entered Australia on women-at-risk visas. Underpinned by an ecological perspective of human wellbeing, the practice framework will align with the determinants of women-at-risk psychosocial wellbeing as identified in the research.


  1. Assess psychosocial wellbeing of refugee women-at-risk within six months of arrival and at 12-month follow-up;
  2. Determine relative influence of factors that impact psychosocial wellbeing of this group within six months of arrival and at 12 month follow-up;
  3. Gain rich understandings of social and gendered experiences of refugee women-at-risk within 18 months of arriving in Australia;
  4. Work with a settlement agency to develop an assessment and practice tool, which can be used by practitioners working with refugee women-at-risk, and;
  5. Develop and disseminate a best practice framework that will inform settlement services for refugee women-at-risk in Australia.


The mixed methodology is informed by sociocultural and psychological perspectives. The research is conceptualised within an ecological framework to understand the risk and protective factors of women-at-risk within the broader context of their relationships and environments. The mixed-methods longitudinal design provides structure and flexibility to assess and illustrate the women’s experience at multiple levels, in line with the ecological framework. Quantitative assessment and qualitative interviews will draw rich understandings of the women’s resettlement experience, and will ascertain relationships between individual factors (psychological) and social factors (changes in community networks) during the early period of resettlement. The qualitative component enables the identified relationships to be elaborated with meaningful depth.


The project will develop a framework in collaboration with our industry partner for ensuring that the complex needs of refugee women who are ‘at-risk’ are met as Australia’s humanitarian program continues to grow.

People Involved: Susanne Schmeidl

Funding Agency:  Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)

Project Description


The objective of the occasional paper is to provide an analysis of Afghan displacement, migration and asylum trends that have occurred following the political, security and economic transitions in Afghanistan in 2014 and to consider the broader regional and global context in which this change has occurred


Desk-based study of published, online and grey-literature material on Afghanistan.


We hope this paper will inform government policy on Afghan asylum seekers as well as be used as a resource on information about migration drivers from Afghanistan.

People Involved: Dr Claudia Tazreiter and Professor Sharon Pickering, Monash University

Partners / Collaborators: Australian National University/Department of Immigration and Border Protection (ANU/DIBP) Collaborative Research Program

This project is based on qualitative in-depth interviews with migrants in transit in Indonesia supported by a survey. The project maps decision making of migrants in transit to better understand the drivers of onward journeys. This project focuses on Iranian and Afghani asylum seekers.

Fieldwork conducted in Indonesia.


Occasional Paper: Information consumption and decision-making of irregular maritime arrivals

People Involved: Dr Linda BartolomeiEileen PittawayGeraldine DoneyProfessor Richard Hugman

Research Areas: Refugee resettlement

Partners/Collaborators: AMES AustraliaDiversitat GeelongQueensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)Townsville Multicultural Support Group (TMSG)

An exploration of the interpretation of the human rights framework in refugee settlement

People who have had to flee their homes and live for years with violence and denial of their rights, welcome the human rights which life in Australia promises. However resettlement in a new country is not an easy process and newly arrived refugees face many challenges as they adjust to life in a new country. One of these challenges is learning about and adapting to a different system of laws and rights. Resettlement brings an assumption that the rights of refugees previously denied them will be restored, and that they will enjoy and experience rights in similar ways to other citizens. However, preliminary research by FMRN and its partners has found that the issue of human rights in refugee settlement is far more complex. Many report that concerns over the meaning of rights, or how information about rights is presented has lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

In 2013, staff from the Centre for Refugee Research including Honorary Professor Eileen Pittaway, Centre Director Dr Linda Bartolomei and Centre Associate Professor Richard Hugman were awarded a three year Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant to examine these issues.

In particular this project is exploring how understandings of women’s, men's and children’s rights influence refugee settlement in Australia. It builds on a significant body of work that the Centre has already undertaken in this area. Project partners include refugee settlement service providers: AMES Australia, Diversitat Geelong, Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT), NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) and Townsville Multicultural Support Group (TMSG ).

The aim of the project is to improve the settlement of refugees by enhancing their understanding of and interaction with human rights, domestic law and policy as it relates to their lives in Australia. Through consultations with refugee men, women, young people and settlement services, it seeks to gather ideas and information that will contribute to an understanding of the different ways that ‘rights’ are conceptualised, experienced and practiced by different groups.

The outcomes of the project will be the development of theoretical models and practical training tools that support a rights-based approach to settlement services and that enable refugees to settle with safety and dignity while living within the legal frameworks of their new country.

Project Resource


Background Information on Related Projects

Research Team

Chief Investigators:

Research Staff:

  • Kristy Ward
  • Emma Pittaway
  • Charlotte Bell


For further queries regarding the project please contact:

Dr Linda Bartolomei
Ph: 02 9385 1859

People Involved: Professor Claudia Tazreiter

Research Areas: Refugee Women & Girls at Risk

Partners / Collaborators: Australian National University/Department of Immigration and Border Protection (ANU/DIBP) Collaborative Research Program

This project is based on a large survey and in-depth interviews with women asylum seekers and stateless persons in Malaysia.

Research Team

Chief Investigators

  • Dr Claudia Tazreiter 
  • Professor Sharon Pickering, Monash University


Draft Occasional Paper: Women's decision-making and information sharing in the course of irregular migration (PDF)