victorian refugee health network

~ Nov-Dec 2017 eBulletin ~

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Photo by Nick Bebbington: The Senegambian Jazz Band performing at the Foundation House 30th Anniversary Celebration

Foundation House 30th Anniversary Celebrations

The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) celebrated 30 years of work with people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum with an end of year party to remember. Over 600 people, including staff members, clients, stakeholders, family members and friends, gathered on 14 December to celebrate. Highlights included the launch of a new Foundation House publication In Our Own Words, the presentation of the annual VFST Grant Awards, face painting for the children and a stellar performance by the Senegambian Jazz Band.

Medicare cards due to expire on or before 31 December for some people on Bridging Visas, TPVs and SHEVs

The Commonwealth Department of Human Services (DHS) has advised that Medicare cards may be due to expire on or before 31 December this year for people who arrived without a valid visa and who now hold bridging visas, TPVs and SHEVs. It is important that these people visit a Medicare office to renew their card before it expires to ensure that their access to Medicare funded health services is not compromised. Further information.


Note that all people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum living in Victoria, regardless of their Medicare eligibility, are entitled to free catch-up immunisations and state funded health services

Victorian Government package for people seeking asylum

The Victorian Government has released a factsheet for health and human service providers about the package of urgent support for people seeking asylum who have been transferred from Nauru and Manus Island for medical treatment, and who will no longer be eligible for Commonwealth-funded income support, accommodation, casework and torture and trauma counselling.  Read the factsheet about the provision of services during this period and further information.

Interpreting support for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants

TIS National has partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to provide interpreting services for NDIS participants. This service will support participants when connecting with registered service providers for NDIS funded supports in a participant’s plan. A participant does not need to have interpreting supports listed as a funded support in their plan to access non-disability related interpreting services.

Information for NDIS participants about translation and interpreting services (in English).
Information for NDIA Registered Providers of Supports about signing up to TIS.

FASSTT statement regarding Nauru and PNG

The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) released a statement regarding asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and PNG. FASSTT expresses concerns for refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG and urge the Australian government to pursue resettlement options including in Australia and New Zealand. Read the statement.

Refugee Legal Fast Track legal assistance clinics – Stage 2

Refugee Legal has launched stage 2 of their legal clinic assistance for people seeking asylum who are being processed under the Fast Track Assessment process (people who arrived by boat between 13 August 2012 and 1 January 2014). Read more.
If you have any questions please email Greg Hanson or Charlie Powles  or phone 03 9413 0101.


Photo: (L-R) Sue Casey, Lauren Tyrrell, Colin Riley - winners of a Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence 


The Victorian Refugee Health Network congratulates the following individuals and organisations on their recent awards. 

Congratulations everyone!

Upcoming awards – nominations open

The Australian Migration and Settlement Awards recognise the contribution of outstanding individuals, organisations and initiatives in the Australian settlement and multicultural sector.
More information, and to nominate a person, organisation or initiative by 31st December 2017 HERE


Photo: (L-R) Kim Sykes, Zahir Azimi and Kaye Graves at Government House in Melbourne


Kaye Graves, Cultural Diversity and Relationships Manager at Bendigo Community Health Service (BCHS), was the recipient of a community innovation award at Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence.  Kaye's work aimed to combat the anti-Islam sentiment that arose in Bendigo in 2015 as a result of a proposal to build a mosque in the city. BCHS and Believe in Bendigo partnered to deliver six “Understanding Islam” sessions throughout 2016 and 2017. The sessions provided health and other service providers with useful insights which have improved the way they support Muslim families.  In addition, the sessions fostered greater intercultural understanding among everyday community members. 


An integrated healthcare service for asylum seekers and refugees in the south eastern region of Melbourne: Monash Health and Wellbeing
Jacquie McBride, Andrew Block, Alana Russo
This article, published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health, describes a refugee health service located in a high settlement region of Melbourne.  The study explores clients’ experiences with the service, and findings indicate that it is possible to engage refugees and people seeking asylum through healthcare delivery that is responsive to the unique needs of this population. 


A framework for community capacity building
Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture
This resource provides a framework for trauma informed community capacity building. 


Working together to improve health literacy of women from refugee backgrounds: Stage 2 – Final Report
This report documents the second stage of a collaboration between Health Issues Centre and the Victorian Refugee Health Network on the accessibility of health information to refugee communities in Victoria. 


Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA): the Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants

This Department of Social Services Settlement and Multicultural Affairs report provides a detailed description of migration experiences, settlement experiences and socio-economic characteristics of a large group of humanitarian migrants. It also examines the association between variations in these characteristics and experiences with the settlement outcomes of respondents.


No one teaches you to become an Australian
Commonwealth of Australia Joint Standing Committee on Migration

Final report of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes. 


Review of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire translated into languages spoken by children and adolescents from refugee background
Yvonne Stolk, Ida Kaplan, Josef Szwarc

This review examines whether the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) that have been translated into languages spoken by major refugee groups are validated and culturally equivalent. 

Empowering migrant and refugee women: Supporting and empowering women beyond five-year post-settlement
Australian Institute of Family Studies

This report identifies services, best practice principles and key gaps in service delivery for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. 

Bright Futures: Young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds

This report examines the challenges that young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds will face over the coming years. 

Research Summary: English skills, engagement in education, and entrance into employment of recently arrived humanitarian migrants
Australian Institute of Family Studies

This research summary explores factors affecting the settlement success of humanitarian migrants: English language proficiency, possession or acquisition of educational qualifications that can assist with getting a job, and becoming employed. 


New translated Health Glossaries 
The Centre for Culture, Ethnicity, and Health (CEH)

CEH have developed three translated health glossaries to assist communities to understand and access health services in Victoria. The glossaries cover child family and relationship services, seeing a doctor specialist or health professional, and mental health services. Languages include Arabic, Assyrian, Dari, Farsi and Karen. 


Refugee Alternatives conference 2018

Refugee Council of Australia and The Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne
The conference will cover topics of displacement, protection, cooperation, wellbeing, resilience, education, advocacy, and unity from across the country and across the globe.
Date: 13 & 14 February 2018
Venue: Arts West Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria

2nd Australia and New Zealand Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference

Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)
 The conference theme, Healing in Exile, will examine the most innovative and successful ways to support people from refugee backgrounds as they recover from trauma and resettle in their new context.
Date: 27-29 March 2019

Venue: Brisbane


Training Calendars


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

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.