‘We need to raise our voices’: Advice from people of refugee backgrounds living with disabilities and their carers was recently launched by the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House).
This report details themes and advice from the Foundation House Disability Project Community Advisory Group and aims to improve services and systems for people from refugee backgrounds living with disabilities and their carers. The Community Advisory Group was made up of people from Iraq and Syria who had settled in the northern suburbs in the last five years who are living with a disability or caring for someone with a disability.
Themes in the report include:
- knowledge, understanding and navigation of services
- frustrations with workers, services and systems;
- complaints and feedback;
- waiting times and prioritisation;
- impact of previous experiences, including trauma;
- the National Disability Insurance Scheme;
- and willingness and skills to help services.
In addition, advisers reflected on the Community Advisory Group model, and the benefits for them included building practical knowledge and skills; increased knowledge and confidence to advocate for their rights; access to service providers and decision-makers; and the importance of being heard.
This report can be used by Refugee Health Nurses and other service providers as a discussion and advocacy tool to improve services working with people from refugee backgrounds who are living with disabilities and their carers.
“If the authorities don’t hear from us, they think everything is ok” (Community adviser)
“I’m not just speaking for us. I’m speaking for any newly arrived person with a disability and the carers. If we have had this experience, they could have it too” (Community adviser)
For more information or to request a hard copy of the report, please contact Samantha Furneaux on (03) 9389 8915 or firstname.lastname@example.org