victorian refugee health network

~ May 2018 e-Bulletin ~

Photo: Bicultural worker forum in south east Melbourne, courtesy of enliven.

Photo: Bi-cultural worker forum care of Enliven

Bicultural Brilliance in south east Melbourne

On Wednesday 23 May, bicultural workers and volunteers across south eastern Melbourne came together for a bicultural worker forum – the first of its kind for the region.


Hosted by enliven Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services, Monash Health, Red Cross and South East Community Links; the event was attended by over 52 community members from a range of cultural backgrounds and experiences.


Through interactive workshops, participants came up with a plethora of recommendations and quality improvement suggestions they felt would assist organisations to more effectively recruit, work with and retain bicultural workers.


These will be delivered to managers and organisations in a second forum on Tuesday 19 June. For more information contact Mitchell Bowden

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)

IDAHOT was on the 17 May. To observe the day we have collated the following resources and events.


Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons
in Forced Displacement and the 
Humanitarian Context by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)  (2017)

This training package introduces participants to foundation topics related to working with LGBTI people in the humanitarian context, including terminology, global issues, the types of discrimination and persecution LGBTI people face, how to successfully communicate with LGBTI people, problematic assumptions we may have that can impact the provision of effective assistance, and frequently asked questions about LGBTI issues.


LGBTI Refugees factsheet by the NSW Refugee Health Service (March 2018)

This factsheet describes experiences faced by people from refugee backgrounds who are LGBTI. It provides practice advice and information about creating safe spaces for people from refugee backgrounds who are LGBTI.


Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression: Essential Terminology for the Humanitarian Sector by the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (2016)

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression: Essential Terminology for the Humanitarian Sector is a language tool that assists humanitarian professionals to communicate effectively and respectfully with and about people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. It includes terminology in English, French, Turkish, Farsi and Arabic.


A Short Film about Age, Culture and Sexuality: In My Shoes by the Centre for Multicultural Youth (2014)

This short animation sensitively illustrates what can happen when generations, cultures and sexuality collide. It tells the story of conflict between a father and his gay son. Conceived by participants of CMY’s Animate Change project, the film is designed to raise awareness of the issues of sexual diversity within multicultural communities.


Reports and research from Melbourne

Something for them: Meeting the support needs of same sex attracted, sex and gender diverse (SSASGD) young people who are recently arrived, refugees or asylum seekers (2016) La Trobe University 

Nothing for them: Understanding the support needs of LGBT young people from refugee and newly arrived backgrounds (2014) The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society

Double Trouble? The health needs of culturally diverse men who have sex with men (2011) Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health


2018 Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council National Conference

Melbourne, 21-23 September 2018

What has happened in the last 10 years for multicultural and/or multifaith LGBTIQ and their communities? Has there been progress toward equality? Has there been a change in approach to connecting with multicultural or LGBTIQ communities? This will all be discussed and workshopped in the AGMC Conference. Find out more about the program and register.


Intersect survey

Intersect is a collaborative project between GLHV@ARCSHS, La Trobe University (GLHV) and Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH) that aims to develop resources for service providers, community leaders and other advocates and allies working with LGBTIQ  people from multicultural and diverse faith backgrounds. They are seeking to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people from multicultural and diverse faith backgrounds by hearing about experiences in community. Complete the survey

Budget analysis

The Victorian Budget was handed down on 1 May 2018 and the Commonwealth Budget was handed down 8 May 2018. The Commonwealth Budget confirmed that the 2018-19 Refugee and Humanitarian Programme will provide 18,750 people visas.


Many peak bodies have provided analysis about the budgets, here are a few that reflect the impact on people from refugee backgrounds including people seeking asylum. 

Expansion of the Free Interpreting Service

Eligibility for the Free Interpreting Service has recently expanded. Eligible service providers can now access the Free Interpreting Service to communicate with anyone in Australia who has a Medicare card (previously restricted to Australian citizens and permanent residents).


Other changes include:
• Access for allied health professionals providing casework and emergency services within eligible non government organisations (previously not eligible).
• Pharmacies can now use the service to discuss any medications or health issue (previously only provided for dispensing PBS medications).

More information about the Free Interpreting Service is available on the Department of Social Services website.

The Network attends APNA national conference: Nurseforce for the future

We recently attended the Nurseforce for the future APNA Conference in Brisbane to promote the development of the Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide and the update of the Refugee Health Assessment template. The conference was excellent and showcased the diversity of practice in primary care nursing.


It was particularly exciting to hear more about the APNA Career and Education Framework, which has been designed to allow nurses to navigate primary health care career and education pathways. The registered and enrolled nurse frameworks are embedded in MyNursingFuture and can be accessed on smartphones.  Read more about the APNA Career and Education Framework 


Also check out our tweets from the conference!

Rural and regional news

Organisations in rural and regional Victoria will be hosting a number of refugee week events from Saturday 17 June - Saturday 23 June 2018. Here are a couple of examples of 'what's on' around Victoria:


The Staging Post - Documentary

The Staging Post is an inspiring and uplifting film and a beautiful way to encourage sceptical Australians to meet real refugees and find out who they are.

Date: June 23, 2018 at 7.30pm - 9.30pm

Venue: Northern District Community Health, Fitzroy Street, Kerang


What's happening on Naru?

Torquay Library, together with Spring Creek Community House and Surf Coast Rural Australians for Refugees, bring you Bronwyn McNamee and Gerry Baldock who were employed on Nauru from 2011 to 2015. They will share their experiences and their understandings of what is happening for refugees still on Nauru and those who have been moved from Nauru.

Date: June 21, 2018 at 6.30pm - 7.30pm

Venue: Torquay Library, Surf Coast Highway cnr Beach Rd, next to visitor information centre, Torquay


See the Refugee Council of Australia's website for other refugee week events around the country or to register your event.

Resources and reports

Where do I go when...? A community service guide for the Northern suburbs of Melbourne

Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health

This booklet is designed for newly-arrived communities from Syria and Iraq living in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. It helps understand community services and find those in the local area.


Forging futures: How young people settling in Victoria are faring

Centre for Multicultural Youth

Ten years ago, the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) published a paper titled Settling In. This report explored definitions and meanings of ‘good settlement’ for newly arrived refugee young people making their home in Victoria. A lot has changed in the intervening ten years. In this paper, CMY take a look back on the settlement experiences of young Victorians who arrived in Australia in the preceding five to ten years.


Asylum seeker health: Important information for health providers about the changes to status resolution support services (SRSS)

Victorian Refugee Health Network

This information sheet aims to provide greater clarity to health service providers about the changes to SRSS and the roles health services may be asked to play in assessing clients’ capacity to work. SRSS is the program that supports vulnerable migrants who are waiting for decisions on a visa application, including people seeking asylum.

Training and events

HEPReady® Regional Workshop in Shepparton

Hepatitis Victoria

These workshops provide an opportunity for all staff and services who may engage with people living with viral hepatitis and liver disease to develop professional skills and strengthen networks.

Date: 14 June 2018, 9.00am - 3.00pm

Venue: 399 Wyndham Street, Shepparton

More info and registrations


Asylum seeker health study day at Sunshine Hospital

All health professionals or people working in the health sector are welcome to attend. The day will cover foundational information relating to refugee and asylum seeker health care, specifically looking at local populations in the North West, West and South-West suburbs of Melbourne. Information on current health issues, referral pathways, entry / exit points into and out of acute services. 

Date: 25 June 2018, 8.30am – 5.00pm

Venue: Sunshine Hospital

More information or to register


Foundation House June Training

1. Sustaining practice and ourselves in contexts of injustice, 7 June 2018

2. Refugee and asylum seeker experiences, 21 June 2018
3. Communities and trauma:  Supporting recovery from collective trauma, 28 June 2018
More info and registrations, under ‘Learning’.

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.