Dealing with allegations of violence against women in a multicultural environment: Consideration of approach(es) and procedure(s) with regards to abuse allegations of women of an Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin in New Zealand
New Zealand has become increasingly multicultural and continues to accept a large number of migrants every year. This adds a duty on its legal system to ensure that its current laws can protect minority groups and adequately deal with culturally specific issues that arise due to different cultural norms. Many argue that the current legal system fails to provide adequate protection for girls and women from an Asian, African and Middle Eastern (AAM) origin; this is due to a lack of multicultural consideration and the addressing of specific issues linked to these ethnic groups. One such issue is the problem of forced marriages among AAM communities living in New Zealand. This article argues that New Zealand’s laws and processes do not adequately protect women of an AAM background due to a lack of specific laws and policies that can protect against culturally specific abuse. This argument is reached through the consideration of approaches and procedures through socio-legal methodology. This includes the review of governmental documents, semi-structured interviews with relevant organisations and experienced individuals in the field, case studies and independent research. I will conclude that there is a lack of cultural understanding within support organizations and public institutions regarding the forced marriage issues. Moreover AAM women are also not completely aware of their rights and the available support. Finally, I will provide some recommendations based on knowledge I have gained while conducting my research.
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