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.

Call for Papers: Edited Collection on Sexuality and Sexual Identities in Literature for Young People

Deakin University, October 2018

Acknowledging the capacity of literature to reflect and shape significant aspects of human development, this collection of essays takes as its central theme the representation of sexuality and sexual identities in texts for young people. Previous scholarship has established important connections between sexuality and gender, as well as sexuality and queerness, in literature for children and young adults. Investigations have also been made into the way particular genres and individual texts deal with desire, sex and sexuality.

This collection builds upon these individual approaches, while extending out to the analysis of various forms and incarnations of sexuality, across genres, texts and time periods. Keeping sexuality and sexual identities in writing for young people as its core focus, it will include analysis and discussion of representations of heterosexualities, homonormativity, trans subjectivities, asexuality, and the intersections between sexuality and other identity categories such as gender, race and class, across a range of texts and readerships.

The editors therefore welcome abstracts that revisit historical approaches to the study of childhood/adolescence and sexuality in literature, as well as those that provide contemporary and forward-looking models that take account of current and emerging sexual identities. Similarly, they welcome a wide range of theoretical approaches to this subject matter.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

• Sex and sexuality in historical literature for children
• Same-sex desire in young adult fiction from Stonewall to the AIDS era
• Hetero- and homo-normative families in picture books and junior fiction
• “Straightness” in junior and/or young adult fiction
• Queer spaces and queer geographies in writing for young people
• Trans identities in children’s texts
• Intersections between sexuality and race, class, gender, ability, age and/or nationality
• Transnational approaches to sex and sexuality
• Connections between romance narratives and ideologies around sex and sexuality
• Religion/religious themes and sexual morality
• “Post-gay” identities in millennial writing for young people
• The role of genre in depictions of sex and sexuality for young people

  • Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words and a biographical note of up to 150 words to Dr Kristine Moruzi  and Dr Paul Venzo  by December 1, 2018. Full papers of 6000 words will be due by May 1, 2019.

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.

 

 

Documentary gives insight into risks of sexual assault among Australia’s international students

ABC NewsRadio Breakfast, First posted 27/04/2018 at 09:02:46
Half a million international students, most from Asia, are enrolled to study in Australia. It’s the country’s third largest export industry, worth $18 billion.

But Australia’s reputation as a safe and sunny place to study is under threat after widespread disclosures of rape and sexual assault.

Australia: Rape on Campus follows a six-month investigation into sexual assault at the country’s universities, exploring how international students, far from home and family, are especially at risk.

It follows an Australian Human Rights Commission survey which found 1.6 percent of students experienced sexual assault in a university setting in 2015 or 2016, one in five were international students.

Journalist Aela Callan is behind the documentary and she spoke to ABC’s Fiona Ellis-Jones from Berlin.

Her documentary, Australia: Rape on Campus, will be screened on Al Jazeera.

‘I Just Want to Be Myself’: How We Can Challenge Homophobia, Transphobia, and Racism in Australian Schools

Drawing on the experiences of Safe Schools Coalition in Australia since 2010, this article focuses on the potential for successfully challenging homophobia, transphobia, and racism in schools.

The discussion challenges assumptions about the incompatibility of cultural difference with gender or sexual diversity, in particular the perceived irreconcilability of Islamic faith or culture with same-sex attraction. Comparing research on the health impact of homophobia and transphobia on students with the impact of racism provides the basis for a discussion of the benefits of challenging all forms of prejudice-based abuse and discrimination.

While there are some key differences, the methods and strategies used in schools to value and support cultural diversity can also be applied in schools to support gender and sexual diversity. Lessons from the practice experiences of Safe Schools Coalition suggest that all forms of diversity can and do positively interact to create more inclusive educational environments.

 

What is Sexual and Reproductive Justice?

NYCHealth, Nov 2017, Updated Feb 2017

Sexual and reproductive justice (SRJ) exists when all people have the power and resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality and reproduction.

SRJ means that every person has the human right to:

  • Choose to have or not have children
  • Choose the conditions under which to give birth or create a family
  • Care for their children with the necessary social support in a safe and healthy environment
  • Control their own body and self-expression, free from any form of sexual or reproductive oppression

The term “reproductive justice” was coined by a group of black women in 1994. From this group, a framework and Sister Song, a collective led by indigenous women and women of colour, emerged.

NYCHealth has made a video explaining this.