The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has awarded $400,000 to the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association (AVWA) for projects that will aim to prevent and reduce incarceration rates related to gambling harm.
The local initiatives have been informed by women in Vietnamese communities in the east and west of Melbourne in a co-design process with the Foundation that sought to determine the support that would best meet community needs.
The process found that the women who took part were more likely to have experienced gambling harm relating to the behaviours of their male partners, challenging the established belief that Vietnamese women are overrepresented in Victoria’s prisons because of their own gambling.
The first of the two projects will be delivered by AVWA, in partnership with Brimbank City Council, to women with pre-school aged children. It will form part of Brimbank’s successful ‘Invest in You’ project through in-language programs in playgroup settings.
The second project to be delivered by AVWA, ‘Activators of Change’, seeks to increase awareness of gambling harm among socially isolated and disengaged women in the Vietnamese community.
AVWA CEO Cam Nguyen said the aim will be to increase community participation and social connections, strengthen knowledge of rights and laws, improve financial literacy, and support employment pathways.
‘We aim to reduce the risk of gambling harm among vulnerable Vietnamese women by providing in-language support and social connectedness through access to healthy activities such as singing, dancing, acting, and sports,’ Ms Nguyen said.
Foundation CEO Shane Lucas said the two projects would build on the existing partnership between AVWA and the Foundation to deliver evidence-based initiatives to prevent and reduce gambling harm among those most at risk.
‘Utilising local knowledge and lived experience, these innovative projects will complement existing programs and services to develop additional support for Vietnamese women most vulnerable to experiencing gambling harm,’ Mr Lucas said.