victorian refugee health network

~ August 2016 e-Bulletin ~

The Victorian Refugee Health Network team are hard at work finalising two reports, therefore this month's e-Bulletin is a little briefer than usual. Keep an eye on your inbox in early September for the two Network reports including one about our primary care engagement project and the other about a state-wide consultation with people from refugee backgrounds.


               Click on the links to the right to scroll down =>


Photo: Shutterstock

Interstate referral for people from refugee backgrounds

Refugee Nurses Australia has developed an interstate transfer template for clients from refugee backgrounds, including asylum seekers.  The form was developed in recognition of the fact that many people from refugee backgrounds move between between states and territories within Australia. Use of the form will facilitate information sharing between health services, and assist in linking clients with relevant heath care without delay. Using the form, the client’s basic contact details can be forwarded to the lead nurses in each state, who can email the appropriate Refugee Health Nurses depending on the location of the client’s future settlement. This referral does NOT include client medical records which will only be forwarded after a signed ‘consent for release of information’ has been received from the new health care provider. The form may be accessed HERE


Refugee Nurses Australia is a national network of refugee nurses, which will be launched at the Australian Council of Nurses National Forum in October 2016.

Refugee and asylum seeker settlement in Victoria - FAQs

The Department of Health and Human Services has produced a list of Frequently Asked Questions on refugee and asylum seeker settlement in Victoria, for key services and sector partners. The resource has a range of useful information including definitions, information about current arrivals and projected changes, explanations of different types of visa, and support programs offered by the department. Access the document HERE

Victorian State Disability Plan

The Victorian State Disability Plan is being developed by the Department of Health and Human Services and will guide whole-of-government efforts for people with a disability over the next four years. It is due to be finalised by the end of 2016. More information about the Plan is available HERE

  • The Network's response to' A discussion paper of the Victorian state disability plan 2017-2020' can be accessed HERE
  • The Refugee Council of Australia response may be accessed  HERE

Agencies merge to create Multicultural and Social Cohesion Division

The State Government is bringing together three key agencies to create the Multicultural and Social Cohesion Division.  The Division will work to address the needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and the wider community. It brings together the Community Resilience Unit, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, and the Office of Victorian Multicultural Commission. Read about the changes HERE


(Photo courtesy of Gateway Health of Work Ready participants)


Gateway Health offers Work Ready Program

Gateway Health in Wodonga has successfully run its Work Ready program, which aims to assist people from diverse backgrounds, including refugees, to gain access to employment.


The program runs for four weeks and is led by industry champions and local employment agencies.  As well as providing assistance with resumes, job applications and interviews, the program offers networking opportunities and a work place visit, and offers a broader understanding of Australian workplace culture.


The program was enthusiastically received in the area, with almost double the number of applicants for the 24 places available.


There are plans for a follow-on program, where participants may access a targeted intensive mentorship, providing an opportunity to further explore potential job opportunities, identify individual skills and interests, access career advice, and create linkages with potential employers. For further information email Vijay Kuttappan HERE 


Making connections in postnatal care - MATCH

A project in which women of refugee background are identified in extended postnatal care (EPC) at Dandenong Hospital and referred to City of Greater Dandenong maternal and child health (MCH) has proved to be successful. The project is an initiative of the MATCH program, part of the Bridging the Gap, which aims to create better linkages between Maternity and Maternal and ChildHealth services to ensure women and families of refugee background remain engaged when transitioning from hospital care into the community. The EPC coordinators and MCH nurses have shared feedback that the referral was “easy to do” and that the process “worked really well”; and that it is a good way to ensure women “don’t slip through the cracks”.  Next steps include refining process of referrals of pregnant women in the MCH service into maternity care at Dandenong Hospital.
Further information HERE
Further info on Bridging the Gap HERE 


Sexual and Reproductive Health Data Report

Multicultural Women's Health Australia

This national data report, published online July 2016, summarises the latest available data across a range of areas that impact on the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of immigrant and refugee women. The data in this report has been obtained from a variety of sources ranging from national, population based studies to small community-based studies. The report may be accessed HERE


Multilingual Cards on Family Violence

Victorian Women Lawyers

The Victorian Women Lawyers' Cultural Diversity Committee has produced a number of cards to assist women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who are experiencing family violence. The cards are available in Arabic, Vietnamese, and Chinese, and also include information in English. The cards can be mailed free of charge. If you are interested in obtaining some of these cards, email Victorian Women Lawyers HERE


Access and Equity Report

HealthWest Primary Care Partnership

Early in 2016 HealthWest commissioned a consultation on ways to improve access and equity. Three inter-related themes emerged from the consultation: vulnerability, universal and specialised services and workforce diversity. In May, HealthWest coordinated a Strategic Leadership Forum for members to explore these themes further.

For more information email Tanya Sofra HERE
Access and Equity Consultation Report available: HERE


Framework for Considering the Best Interests of Unaccompanied Children

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, University of Chicago Law School

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago Law School has released the  Framework for Considering the Best Interests of Unaccompanied Children. The Framework recognises that any decision involving an unaccompanied child should address the child’s best interests: the child’s safety and well-being, expressed interests, health, family integrity, liberty, development and identity. The Framework also recognises children’s special vulnerabilities and the necessity of considering and giving due weight to children’s views in determining their best interests. To access the framework click HERE


Cultural Competency and Disability

Develop an understanding of how culture influences perceptions of disability. This course is run by experienced facilitators from the education, disability and multicultural fields. It is relevant to schools, service providers of organisations preparing for NDIS.
When and where: 9.30am – 4.00pm Tuesday 30 August  VICSEG New Futures in Coburg OR Wednesday 28th September at Visy Hub in Sunshine
More info HERE


The National Multicultural Women’s Conference 2016 – Influencing Change: Vision and Impact 

This national event is a partnership between Settlement Services International and the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, with support from the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW.  It will provide a holistic perspective towards shaping a shared vision and driving change for multicultural women. 

When: 3-4 November 2016.

Where: Parkroyal Parramatta, Sydney

More information HERE


Viral Hepatitis Workforce Training
HEPReady is a Hepatitis Victoria training initiative developed for workers in the community and health sector who deal with individuals at risk of, or living with, viral hepatitis. 
When:  Offered monthly;  9.15am – 12.00pm
Where:  Hepatitis Victoria, Unit 5, 200 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Cost:  $60 per person
More information and register HERE

Alternatively, Hepatitis Victoria can deliver HEPReady Essentials training to staff at their worksite. Cost is $600 for up to 15 participants.



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.