victorian refugee health network

~ Sept-Oct 2017 e-Bulletin ~

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Refugee Nurses Australia (RNA) Inaugural Forum and Launch of Website

Photo: Merilyn Spratling and Maria Loupetis having a ball at the inaugural Refugee Nurses Australia forum

The Inaugural Forum of RNA was held in Sydney on Friday 13 October 2017. Over 50 nurses from across Australia attended the forum. The RNA launched their national website, which provides information to refugee health nurses about the work of the RNA, resources and professional development for refugee health nurses and news and upcoming events. Discussion on the day also included models of care in each state in refugee health nursing and the development of a national clinical framework.

The forum was a great success and RNA members enjoyed the opportunity to network with the colleagues from other states. It even enjoyed some attention from the local press! For more information or to join the RNA click HERE

Launch of the Foundation House Early Years program

The Foundation House Early Years Program was launched by the Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, at the Craigieburn Child and Family Centre on Wednesday 11 October 2017. The Early Years Program supports the health, wellbeing and educational outcomes for children and families by supporting Victorian early years services to work effectively for and with families of refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds. Over 50 people attended the launch, including children and families from refugee backgrounds, early years and other service providers and government representatives. For more information about the Early Years Program please contact Kath Cooney:

Information for service providers about ‘Final departure’ bridging visas

As was recently reported in the media, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have made a decision to issue people seeking asylum who have been transferred from Nauru or Papua New Guinea for medical care, and who have been living in community detention, with a ‘final departure’ Bridging E Visa. The Victorian Refugee Health Network Information Sheet provides information for health and other service providers about how to support clients who are, or may be, affected. The Refugee Legal Fact Sheet provides clear legal information about the ‘final departure’ Bridging Visa, including entitlements, implications and key messages.

Participate in new research about use of interpreters in primary care!

The University of NSW Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity is conducting a research study about the use of interpreters in primary care for patients from refugee backgrounds in Australia, USA, Ireland and Canada. The findings of the survey will be used to inform policy regarding access to interpreters in primary care, as well as education and standards for primary care. Participants are asked to complete an anonymous 15-20 minute online survey about use of interpreters with patients from refugee backgrounds. For more information and to complete the survey click HERE


Bridging the Gap: Arriving, Surviving to Thriving in Ballarat

Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, City of Ballarat and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
The Bridging the Gap from Arriving, Surviving to Thriving public forum was held in Ballarat on September 6, 2017. The forum was co-hosted by Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council and the City of Ballarat, with support from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). Eighty-five people attended from various local sectors to workshop the best ways to welcome and settle people arriving to the region on Safe Haven Enterprise visas (SHEVs).
The forum considered both first-hand perspectives of people living on a SHEV, and perspectives of businesses in the region. Ralph Kenyon, CEO of the Wimmera Development Association spoke about labour needs and business networks in regional Victoria in a keynote speech. The forum comes at a time when many people seeking asylum in Victoria will choose to apply for the SHEV, and work or study in regional areas such as Ballarat. As the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council says on their Facebook page, “the ultimate aim is for the visa holders to come to Ballarat or suitable other places in regional Victoria to fulfil their visa requirements" and a report is soon to come.


Public garden brings Burundian community and local farmers together in Mildura

This project has enabled people from the Burundian community to use and teach traditional farming practices in Mildura. The development of a trial plot has engaged Australian farmers in ways of adapting African maize crops to Australian conditions. A joint University of Wollongong and University of Melbourne research project has been analysing the success of the garden project in settling people from refugee backgrounds in Australia. The project has been community driven and could be expanded to include other refugee groups and Australians keen to get hands-on knowledge about food production. Read more HERE


Updated immunisation information sheets
Victorian Refugee Health Network
Access the updated information sheets for immunisation providers HERE and for case workers HERE

Be HEP Aware
Hepatitis Victoria
New translated resources in a variety of languages including Burmese and Dari. Access the information sheets HERE


New translated information about how police respond to family violence
Victoria Police
Includes translated information in Arabic, Burmese, Farsi, Dari, Somali. Access the information sheets HERE

Not Working: Experiences of Refugees and Migrants with Jobactive
Fairfield Multicultural Interagency and Refugee Council of Australia
This report focuses on the barriers to participation in  the federal employment program, Jobactive for people from refugee backgrounds and migrants. 


In a Strange Land

This article, written by Amanda Lyons, focuses on the role GPs’ can play in supporting refugee background patients to navigate an unfamiliar healthcare system. 


A global compact on refugees: the role of Australia
Khalid Koser, Lowy Institute 
This report explores Australia’s role in the Global Compact on Refugees, arguing that Australia has a vested interest and particular experience and expertise to help institute a more effective and equitable response to asylum seekers and refugees. 


Developments in Australian refugee law and policy: the Abbott and Turnbull Coalition governments (2013-2016)
Parliamentary Library
This paper gives an overview of developments in refugee law and policy during the period 18 September 2013 to 2 July 2016. 

Final Report: Ways of protecting and strengthening Australia’s multiculturalism and social inclusion
Commonwealth of Australia
Final report of the Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism. 


Information session: Pro-bono disability network of Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Physiotherapists
Information session for allied health professionals interested in supporting settlement of people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum by donating short-term pro bono services.
Where: VicHealth Seminar Rooms, Ground Floor, 15-31 Pelham st, Carlton
When: 1 November, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
RSVP to Jacinta Bongiorno via email by October 30

Communities & Trauma: Supporting Recovery from Collective Trauma
Foundation House
This workshop will explore the impacts of collective trauma for communities in the resettlement context and potential recovery processes. It is suitable for bicultural workers, community development workers, school staff, people working in policy roles or community health managers and staff.
When: 2 November, 9:30 AM -  12:30 PM
Where: Foundation House, Brunswick
Cost: $120
More info and registrations HERE


Overcoming Stigma: Engaging with Communities about Mental Health
Foundation House
This workshop explores barriers for people from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds in accessing mental health services and examines ways of reducing stigma in communities around mental health concerns. This workshop is suitable for bicultural workers, community development workers, school staff, people working in policy roles or community health managers and staff.
When: 2 November, 1:30 PM -  4:30 PM
Where: Foundation House, Brunswick
Cost: $120
More info and registrations HERE


Complementary Role of Psychotherapy and Body Work in Treating Torture and Refugee Trauma Survivors: live webinar

This free webinar will explore the complementary role of psychotherapy and body work in treating refugee trauma survivors. This will be demonstrated with a case-study of a client’s journey towards body awareness and the ability to self-regulate.
When: 8 November, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Where: STARTTS Carramar and live webinar
Cost: Free
For more information click HERE


Cognitive & Psychosocial Assessment of Refugee Children

Foundation House

This workshop aims to enable practising psychologists and education professionals to upgrade their cross-cultural, theoretical and practical skills in cognitive and psychosocial assessment, and increase awareness of refugee children’s academic challenges.

When: 16 November 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Location: Broadmeadows
Cost: $180
Further information and registrations HERE


2019 Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference

QPASTT has announced that the 2nd Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 27 - 29 March 2019. For more information and to subscribe to the mailing list click HERE


Access the Foundation House 2017 Training Calendar HERE 


Access the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health 2017 Training Calendar HERE

Access the 2017 Victorian Transcultural Mental Health Training and Events Calendar HERE


The Immigrant Health Service at the Royal Children’s Hospital maintains a clearing house for refugee health research in Australia on their webpage HERE

About Us

The Victorian Refugee Health Network brings together health, settlement and community services to be more accessible and responsive to the needs of people from refugee backgrounds, including people seeking asylum. The eBulletin provides a regular forum to share news, resources and information to support practitioners and services in providing health care to people from refugee backgrounds.