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.

Strategies for inclusion and equality – ‘norm-critical’ sex education in Sweden

Sex Education, 2019,  DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2019.1634042
Abstract:
This article examines the tactical (counter) politics of inclusive and ‘norm-critical’ approaches in Swedish sex education, focusing on the enactment of this critical agenda in sex education practices and how teachers interpret and negotiate the possibilities and pitfalls of this kind of work.
The analysis draws on participant observation in sex education practices and in-service teacher training, as well as interviews with educators.
Three recurrent strategies lie at the centre of the analysis: the sensitive use of language to achieve inclusion; the organisation and incorporation of ‘sensitive’ content to resist stigmatisation; and the use of different modalities to produce a specific knowledge order.
The analysis shows how these strategies are grounded in norm-critical ideals, which become partly inflicted with tensions and discomforts when acted out in practice. The  analysis further shows how an inclusive and norm-critical agenda runs the risk of becoming static, in the sense of providing students with the results of critique rather than engaging them in it.

‘My mob is telling their story and it makes me feel good’: here’s what Aboriginal survivors of child sexual abuse told us they need

The Conversation, October 22, 2019 6.00am AEDT

There are an estimated 60,000 survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia. Based on the private sessions held as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 15% of survivors are Aboriginal. That suggests an estimated 9,000 Aboriginal survivors. This is likely an under estimation.

Not only do Aboriginal survivors experience the trauma of institutional child sexual abuse, if they were part of the Stolen Generations, they also experience the cultural trauma from being forcibly removed from family as children because they were Aboriginal. These children were denied connection to community, country, spirituality, language and culture.

This context and its impacts today, including ongoing disadvantage and systemic racism, needs to be understood in developing healing solutions for Aboriginal survivors.

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”.

Preventing sexual violence against young women from African backgrounds

Prof. Donna Chung, Prof. Colleen Fisher, Dr. Carole Zufferey & Dr. Ravi K Thiara
Australian Institute of Criminology
Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice No. 540, June 2018

This study explored how young women from African refugee and migrant backgrounds understand and experience sexual coercion and violence.

Data was gathered from young women from African backgrounds and a wide range of agencies in two Australian states, Western Australia and South Australia, to better understand the extent of their awareness of and concern about sexual coercion and assault and document how agencies respond to these issues.

The paper concludes it is necessary to improve policy, practice, professional development and training to better respond to the sexual violence experienced by these young women, and raise awareness of the issue in their communities in a culturally sensitive way.

‘Changing the picture’ of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Our Watch, July 18th 2018

Our Watch has today launched a resource aimed at tackling the horrific prevalence of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Changing the picture contains a set of clear actions that are needed to address the many drivers of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and is aimed at encouraging, guiding and supporting a national effort to prevent this violence.

Download report:

Report Changing the picture
Six-page executive summary
Background paper

Read more of article:

‘Changing the picture’ of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women