victorian refugee health network

~ June 2016 eBulletin~

Victorian Refugee Health Network


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Photo: Poster presented at the Primary Health Care Research Conference 2016.  Click on the image to view the whole poster!

Refugee Health at the 2016 Primary Health Care Research Conference

The Primary Health Care Research Conference was held in Canberra on 8-9 June 2016. 

The Victorian Refugee Health Network, EACH Social and Community Health and ISIS Primary Care presented a poster 'Developing a framework and tools for engaging and supporting general practices in refugee health'. The poster described a collaborative project to engage more general practices in refugee health.  The project utlised refugee health nurses to facilitate conversations and plann small practice changes with practices that improve engagement and health outcomes for people from refugee backgrounds. 

More information about the project may be found HERE

Refugee health was represented in a number of other papers at the conference, including:
‘Refugee Health Connect: Partnerships Matter’, Andrea Vancia and Donata Sackey, Brisbane South PHN; Mater/University of Queensland Centre for Primary Health Care Innovation.

The OPTIMISE Partnership: improving accessibility, quality and coordination of primary health care for refugees in Australia’, Nilakshi Gunatillaka, I-Hao Cheng, Jenny Advocat et al, Monash University; University of New South Wales; University of Ottawa; La Trobe University

Travelling far and wide: Healthcare Journeys of Refugee Young People in NSW’, Ying Ying Liew, Melissa Kang, Fiona Robards et al, University of Sydney - Discipline of General Practice George Institute for Global Health - Australia; Sydney Children's Hospital Network - Community Child Health; University of New South Wales - School of Women's and Children's Health; South Eastern Sydney Local Health District - Multicultural Health Service

Refugee Week Events for Health Professionals

Melbourne Refugee Week Launch
The Refugee Council of Australia, in partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, AMES Australia, Jesuit Social Services, City of Melbourne and Wyndham CEC, bring you the 2016 Melbourne Refugee Week Launch!

When: Sunday 19th June, 3.00pm - 8.00pm

Where: Federation Square. 

Cost: FREE and open to everyone to attend.

Facebook: HERE


Psychology & Culture Online Conference
This one day online conference aims to explore and educate the impact of culture and the migrant experience on the human psyche – both for the individual, and collectively.
When: 18 June, 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
Cost: $85 - $195
More info: HERE


Refugee Health Webinar – Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
To coincide with Refugee Week, The RACGP WA will deliver an important webinar on Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation (FGC/M).
When: 23 June, 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm (Western Australian time)
More info: HERE

Family Violence Forum
New Hope Foundation
The forum will showcase learning and achievements of the program No to Family Violence: Responses from ethnic communities from Burma. 
When: 22 June, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
Where:  Wyndham Park Community Centre, Werribee VIC
RSVP: by 17 June  (03) 9974 1700 or email HERE 
More info:

Rural and Regional Refugee Week Events

Mildura Refugee Week Welcome Occasion
Join the Amnesty International Mildura Group supported by Mildura Rural City Council in the Langtree Mall to celebrate the best aspects of our nation’s welcome of refugees, acknowledge unjust treatment of asylum seekers and refugees and commit to working together.
When: 18 June, 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm
Where:  Langtree Mall, 48 – 69 Langtree Avenue, Mildura VIC
More info: HERE


Bendigo screening of ‘Chasing Asylum’
The Bendigo branch of Grandmother's Against the Detention of Refugee Children (GARDC) are organising a special one-time screening of 'Chasing Asylum' at the Bendigo Cinemas.
When: 22 June, 7.00 pm – 8.30 pm
Where:  Bendigo Cinemas, 107 Queen Street, Bendigo VIC
Cost: $22
Bookings:  HERE
More info:


Traralgon screening of ‘Freedom Stories’
Free screening of the documentary film ‘Freedom Stories’. With guest speaker Rev David Withers from Lentara Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre, Brunswick. Supper provided. Donations and / or gift cards, toiletries, non-perishable food or household cleaning items for families seeking asylum gratefully received.
When: 23 June, 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm
Where: Lavalla Theatre, Grey St, Traralgon VIC
Cost: FREE!
RSVP:  (03) 5174 5327 David Langmore
More info: HERE


Morwell Refugee Week Morning Tea
‘Paddock to Plate’ students from Federation Training will provide a free morning tea at Waratah Restaurant, Morwell, including: successful refugee resettlement stories; launch of posters promoting mental health and access to health & support services.
When: 23 June, 10.30 am – 12.00 pm
Where: Waratah Restaurant, Morwell VIC
Cost: FREE!
RSVP: 0419 547766  or email HERE
More info:


Diversitat Refugee Week Dinner
Diversitat invite you to celebrate the amazing contributions of refugees in our local community. The night will consist of multicultural food and entertainment provided by people from refugee backgrounds.
When: 23 June, 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Where: Geelong College Dining Hall, Talbot St, Newtown VIC
Cost: $65
RSVP: (03) 5221 6044, 0407 307 235 or email HERE
More info:


Wonthaggi Refugee Week Celebration
To celebrate Refugee Week, a free afternoon of cultural food and traditional entertainment has been organised to thank everyone for the welcome and support they have given to the refugee community in Bass Coast.
When: 25 June, 12.00 pm – 3.00 pm
Where: Mitchell House, Murray Street ,Wonthaggi, VIC
Cost: FREE!
RSVP: 0407 975 815 or email HERE
More info:

Other Refugee Week Events

Click HERE for Refugee Week activities near you!

If you are hosting a Refugee Week event, send the details to:


Freedom Stories Screening
Refugee Council of Australia
20 June, 7.00pm
Where: Lido Cinemas Hawthorn
Book tickets: HERE


World Refugee Day Telethon
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

For the first time in Australia, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is holding a telethon on World Refugee Day to raise awareness and much needed funds to support and empower refugees and people seeking asylum.
When: 20 June, 7.00 am – 8.30 pm
More info: HERE


Emerge in Yarra: Refugee Week and Interactive Performance
Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV)
and Melbourne Playback Theatre Company
The performance will draw on the stories and experiences of audience members to create a series of improvised musical and theatrical presentations. The stories - among other things - will be a creative interpretation of some of the difficulties refugees may face in settling in a new country.
When:  22 June, 2016. 7.00pm - 8.30pm
Where:  Fitzroy Town Hall (Reading Room), 201 Napier Street, Fitzroy.
Cost: FREE!  
Bookings essential: HERE

A reminder about the Primary Application and Information Service (PAIS) for people seeking asylum

Protection Application and Information Services provides free independent immigration assistance to people assessed as eligible by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).


If you have information about a person’s ability to engage with the legal processes around status determination it may inform their PAIS eligibility assessment.  You can provide the information to the person’s DIBP case manager or Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) provider, who will then include it in Departmental systems. Seek the person’s consent before submitting information and provide them a copy of the information for their records.

If a person has been invited to commence status determination and has not been offered PAIS assistance, you can request a subsequent PAIS eligibility assessment at any time before the Department has made a decision on their visa application if: (1) you have additional information which the Department did not consider in the initial assessment or (2) you disagree with the outcome of the initial assessment.

You should closely consider the person’s circumstances against the eligibility criteria before requesting an assessment. You can send requests for a subsequent assessment of PAIS eligibility to Further information prepared DIBP may be accessed HERE. Also see Refugee Advice & Casework Services’ (RACS) Fact Sheet: Referring a person for PAIS.

Update of the Refugee Health Practice Guide

The Commonwealth Department of Health has funded Foundation House, the Network’s auspicing agency, to update the national resources ‘Promoting Refugee Health: a guide for doctors, nurses and other health care providers caring for people from refugee background’ and its companion desktop guide. The update will include two stages:
• Development of a web based resource
• Production of hardcopy ‘comprehensive guide’ and ‘desktop guide’ resources
The website will be live by the end of the 2016, and hardcopy resources available in early 2017. A national project advisory group is currently being appointed for the project that will be undertaken by the Network team. The resources will reference and complement the recently released ASID/RHeaNA Consensus Recommendations for comprehensive post-arrival health assessment for people from refugee-like backgrounds.  Further updates about the project will be published in our monthly e-Bulletins.

Consultation on the new Victorian state disability plan 2017-2020

Public consultation on the new Victorian state disability plan 2017-2020 is now open and will run until 6 July 2016. 
The Victorian state disability plan 2017-2020 is an overarching framework for improving the way mainstream services and environments work for people with disabilities.
There are many ways to have a say including reading and responding to the submission.   Information about the state disability plan consultations is available in 9 community languages.  Click HERE for translated information, including Arabic and Dari.

More info: Office for Disability
Phone: 1300 880 043
Click HERE for more information, including the discussion paper.


Violence against women in CALD communities - understandings & actions to prevent violence against women in CALD communities
& Commonwealth Department of Social Services
This document summarises the outcomes of a project focusing on the primary prevention of violence against women in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Based on community consultation and research, it identifies issues that need to be considered when working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and recommends future actions for consideration.
Click HERE to read the report.

Supported playgroups for parents and children: The evidence for their benefits
Australian Institute of Family Studies

This paper examines different types of playgroups, focusing on the available evidence for their effectiveness in promoting positive outcomes for children and families and working as a soft entry point for other services.  Playgroups to support vulnerable families, including those from refugee backgrounds, are included in the report.
Click HERE to access the report.

Key issues in working with men from immigrant and refugee communities in preventing violence against women
Dr Adele Murdolo and Dr Regina Quiazon, White Ribbon Research Series
This report explores the key issues in working with men from immigrant and refugee communities in Australia to prevent violence against women. It applies a feminist intersectional approach to the question of men’s engagement and examines a range of issues that need to be considered in the development of primary prevention engagement strategies for immigrant and refugee men.
Click HERE to read the report.


Guidelines for consideration when offering Mental Health First Aid to Iraqi refugees

Mental Health First Aid Australia

The guidelines incorporated in this booklet describe how members of the public should tailor their approach when providing mental health first aid to an Iraqi refugee who may be developing a mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis.

Click HERE to access the guide.


Refugee Health Education Bendigo
Bendigo has an increasing refugee population.  The health community are increasingly working with interpreters and managing complex cases compounded by lack of English and understanding of the health system. Additionally, conditions are presenting that are not generally seen such as Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B. The session will include a panel discussion for Q & A.
Date:  Thursday 23 June 2016
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm | Registration and dinner at 6.30pm
Venue:  Murray PHN, 37 Rowan Street, Bendigo
Presenters:  Dr Karen Kiang, Paediatric Fellow, Royal Children’s Hospital; Dr Joanne Gardiner, Refugee Fellow, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Chair,  Victorian Refugee Health Network
Audience:  Health professionals supporting refugee health including GPs, Practice Nurses and Allied health
Cost:  This event is provided at no cost by Murray PHN
Click HERE to register online
Click HERE to register via email – please include any dietary requirements and your signature block.


The wider impact of trauma on communities
Foundation House

Participants will develop an increased knowledge and understanding of the complex and dynamic nature of the impact that trauma and collective trauma have on individuals, families and community members.
Date: Thursday 14 July 2016
Time: 5.00-8.00pm
Venue:  Foundation House BRUNSWICK 4 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, VIC 3056, Australia
Cost: $60 (including refreshments)
More info and registrations: HERE


B-Informed: Hepatitis B Workshop
Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health
and St Vincent’s Hospital
This introductory half-day workshop is for health and support workers who wish to learn the basics about hepatitis B and effective strategies for working with affected communities.
Date: 9 August 2016
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Cost: FREE!
Venue: Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health, 23 Lennox Street Richmond VIC 3121
Suitable for: Clinicians, Health & community sector, Projects staff
More info and registrations: HERE


Refugee Men’s Health
Foundation House

The training will include:
•  Identify and instigate appropriate interventions for common refugee health issues in men
•  Exploration of wellbeing including mental and sexual health issues
•  Overview of relevant services for men and referral processes
•  Understand the impact of trauma and the impact of detention and uncertainty for men of asylum seeker background
•  Cross cultural responses
Date: Thursday 18 August 2016
Time: 9.30-4.30pm
Venue:  Foundation House BRUNSWICK 4 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, VIC 3056, Australia
Cost: FREE for nurses and allied health workers
Suitable for: Nurses and Allied Health workers working with refugee background populations in a variety of settings. Participants should have completed the 2 day Introductory Course for Nurses and Allied Health
More info and registrations: HERE


International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Survivors Scientific Symposium 2016
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Survivors (IRCT)
Early bird registration is now open.  For those working directly with torture survivors, carrying out research, planning policy for the delivery of services or advocating for the right to rehabilitation.
Date: 5 - 7 December 2016
Venue:  Mexico City
More info and registrations: 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 refugees and asylum seekers. The e-Bulletin provides a regular forum to share news and information to support practitioners and services in providing health care to people of a refugee background.