Consumer Enablement Guide

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Working with Refugees

People who come to Australia as refugees have complex healthcare needs.

  • Compassionate, respectful healthcare can be a significant contributor to re-establishing people’s dignity, self-respect and self-esteem. The Royal Australasian College of Physicians recommends that health services should consistently affirm the dignity of refugees.1
  • Refugees can have high rates of preventable conditions and psychosocial morbidity. They may have had poor access to health services in their home countries and suffer chronic conditions as a consequence of poorly managed acute conditions or injuries.
  • The impact of trauma can significantly affect the health of refuges and their ability to access and engage with healthcare. Refugees often suffer trauma from experiences of natural disasters, war, genocide, torture, rape, oppression and loss of family and friends; and the effects may persist in subsequent generations.
ACI Trauma trauma-informed care and practice
in mental health services project

Where do Australia’s refugees come from?2

Country of birth

Visas granted 2015-16

Iraq

4,358

Syria

4,261

Myanmar

1,951

Afghanistan

1,714

Democratic Republic of the Congo

657

Bhutan

515

Somalia

437

Iran

337

Ethiopia

337

Eritrea

291