Foundation House, Brunswick, Australia, Victorian Refugee Health Network, Brunswick, Australia
The welcome expansion in 2012 of the waiver of visa health requirements for humanitarian visa holders has created more pathways for people from refugee backgrounds living with a disability to resettle in Australia.
Access to appropriate services and supports can be complex for people living with a disability and these challenges are compounded for people from refugee backgrounds who may:
• arrive with undiagnosed, poorly managed or not formally diagnosed conditions, which may or may not be familiar to Australian practitioners
• be an adult presenting with a condition that is typically treated in childhood, and/or
• arrive without necessary aids and equipment (for example, a wheelchair or walking aids).
These challenges are in addition to the broader settlement challenges facing people from refugee backgrounds, including the impact of torture or other traumatic events.
This project ran from 2018-2019 and aimed to:
• better understand and document the experiences and service access issues for people from refugee backgrounds living with a disability
• build the capacity of community advisors from refugee backgrounds who are living with a disability and/or their family or carers to advocate for access to appropriate services
• build the capacity of health, settlement and disability services to provide accessible and appropriate services that meet the needs of people from refugee backgrounds who are living with a disability. A community capacity building approach was used to facilitate dialogue between people from refugee backgrounds with disabilities and service providers. The project took a pace-based approach in northern Melbourne, Australia.
This presentation will explore challenges encountered during the planning, delivery and evaluation of this project.
IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
This project sought to add an often unheard voice to discussions about disability. Findings with a broader applicability for other regions, communities and service providers will be shared