Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia

Ziersch, A., Due, C. & Walsh, M. Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia. BMC Public Health 20108 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8068-3

Abstract

Background

Research has shown that discrimination is harmful to health, but there is relatively little known about discrimination experienced by people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in resettlement countries and associated health effects. This qualitative-focused mixed methods paper reports on discrimination experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, responses to discrimination, and impacts on health.

Methods

As part of a broader study of housing, social inclusion and health, surveys were completed by 423 adult refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia who had been in Australia for up to 7 years. The survey included questions on discrimination based on skin colour, ethnicity and religion, as well as questions on hope, trust, belonging, sense of control and health (including the SF-8). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 65 survey participants, purposively sampled by visa status, continent and gender, further exploring experiences of discrimination. These and survey open-ended responses were analysed thematically.

Results

Twenty-two percent of survey participants reported experiences of discrimination since arriving in Australia (14% in the last year), and 90% of these felt that discrimination had harmed their health. Key settings of discrimination were public transport, within the neighbourhood, and in relation to employment. Those who reported discrimination had significantly worse mental health (p < .000) but not physical health. Discrimination was also associated with less sense of belonging (p = .001), lower levels of trust (p = .038), reduced sense of control (p = .012) and less hope (p = .006). Incidents described in interviews and the open-ended survey responses included incivility, physical assault, and denial of services, experienced across intersecting characteristics of race/ethnicity, religion, gender and visa status. Responses to discrimination spanned affective, cognitive and behavioural dimensions, ranging across types of experience, participant characteristics and context, with most individuals reporting multiple response types. While some of the responses were reported by participants as protective of health, participants’ reflections indicated significant negative impacts on mental health in particular.

Conclusion

Discrimination featured in the resettlement experiences of a significant number of refugees and asylum seekers, with participants reporting clear negative impacts on mental health. Addressing discrimination is a key resettlement and health issue requiring urgent action.

Migrant women’s groups commend voting down of ‘racist’ amendment to NSW abortion bill

SBS, 19th September 2019

Groups representing migrant women in Australia have praised the voting down of a controversial amendment to NSW’s proposed abortion bill that would have explicitly banned abortions on the basis of gender selection.

The amendment had been labelled “racist” and a “dog-whistle” on the basis it specifically targeted Indian and Chinese communities as responsible for using abortion as a means of gender selection in a bid to have male children.

A joint statement released ahead of the debate on Wednesday, signed by six advocacy groups for multicultural women, said the proposed amendment risked “introducing racial profiling and amplifying discrimination in our healthcare system”.

National LGBT Survey: Research report [UK]

Government Equalities Office, July 2018

The Government Equalities Office launched a national LGBT survey in July 2017 in order to develop a better understanding of the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and people who identify as having any other minority sexual orientation or gender identity, or as intersex.

The survey was open for 12 weeks and received 108,100 valid responses through an
anonymous online questionnaire that collected the experiences and views of
individuals who self-identified as having a minority sexual orientation or gender
identity, or as intersex, and were aged 16 or above and living in the UK. The survey placed an emphasis on issues relating to personal safety, education, the
workplace and healthcare. These were selected because existing evidence on the
experiences of LGBT people and their life outcomes tells us that these are the main
areas in which inequalities exist.

 

 

Release of the results of the 2015 -16 Rainbow Survey

Department for Communities and Social Inclusion  (SA)August 25, 2017

Today Department for Communities and Social Inclusion has released the results of the 2015-16 Rainbow Survey. The Rainbow Survey is the South Australian government’s general survey of the lives, opinions and experiences of LGBTIQ South Australians. The 2015-16 survey is the second Rainbow Survey, providing further insight and updated information on our LGBTIQ communities and the issues that are important to them. The survey recorded responses to 50 questions that examined demographics, health/wellbeing and transgender health, experiences of discrimination and abuse, police services and accessing services.

Results fill crucial gaps in public knowledge about LGBTIQ communities created by their ‘invisibility’ in the ABS Census and bring the lives of LGBTIQ people to greater prominence.

Key findings include:

  • South Australia’s LGBTIQ community is complex and diverse
  • most respondents are positive about their lives and health in general
  • transgender people experience dissatisfaction with health services
  • LGBTIQ people mask their identities in a range of public places to avoid discrimination
  • few respondents seek recourse to incidents of abuse
  • identifying perceived barriers to accessing services in the community

To download a copy of the survey follow this link.

West African HIV-2 prevalence associated with lower historical male circumcision rate

Medical News Today, 

Cities with substantial uncircumcised populations in 1950 tended to have higher HIV-2 prevalence from 1985.

In West African cities, male circumcision rates in 1950 were negatively correlated with HIV-2 prevalence from 1985, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by João Sousa from the University of Leuven, Belgium, and colleagues.

  • Read more here
  • Access journal paper (open access) here