What we do
The Network brings together a wide range of representatives from the health, settlement and community sectors who actively participate in the projects and initiatives of the Network. This work builds on the many activities and programs around the state, past and current, to support refugee health and wellbeing.
The networks activities are influenced by the current Strategic Plan.
Shaping and Influencing Policy
Victorian Refugee Health Network work to promote the broader health and wellbeing needs of the refugee communities through formal and informal engagement with government and service providers. We harness the expertise from the health sector and the community to identify and respond to systemic issues and provide credible, trusted advice towards policy and service development.
Our strategic priority is to keep the relevant governance and systemic structures informed of the needs of people of refugee backgrounds and advocate for the appropriate resourcing of services to meet the health needs of the refugee community.
Below is a summary of publications and submissions that the Network has produced or has produced in collaboration with others.
- Victorian Refugee Health Network’s submission to inform the development of the NDIA Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Strategy.
- Victorian Refugee Health Network’s findings from a survey on interpreter access issues for people of refugee backgrounds in Victoria
- Victorian Refugee Health Network’s submission to inform the NDIS Independent Review
- Joint submission to the independent review of compulsory assessment and treatment criteria and alignment of decision-making laws
- Victorian Refugee Health Network’s submission to the Coordinator General for Migrant Services in response to the Discussion Paper: ‘Next steps to improve Australia’s settlement and integration of refugees’
- Victorian Refugee Health Network’s submission to the Disability Royal Commission
- VRHN State Budget Submission
- Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2021-2022: Submission on the management and composition of the program
- Victorian Refugee Health Network’s submission on the Mental Health Reform Engagement: Mental Health and Wellbeing Act
- Victorian Refugee Health Network’s submission on the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy
- Submissions to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into early childhood engagement of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities (October, 2019):
- Victorian Refugee Health Network, Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 [Provisions] (August, 2019)
- Submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System:
- Victorian Refugee Health Network, Submission to the Australian Government’s Review into integration, employment and settlement outcomes for refugee and humanitarian entrants (January, 2019)
- Philippa Duell-Piening, Assunta Hunter, Samantha Furneaux & Sue Casey, ‘Service responses for people with disabilities from refugee backgrounds’, poster presented at Primary Health Care Research Conference, Melbourne (August, 2018)
- Victorian Refugee Health Network, Service responses for people with disabilities from refugee backgrounds in northern Melbourne (July, 2018)
- Samantha Furneaux, Toni Mansfield, Philippa Duell-Piening, & Sue Casey, ‘Supporting primary care to work with people from refugee backgrounds: resources’, poster presented at North American Refugee Health Conference (June, 2018)
- Samantha Furneaux, Toni Mansfield, Merilyn Spratling, Philippa Duell-Piening, & Sue Casey, ‘Supporting primary care to work with people from refugee backgrounds: resources’, poster presented at APNA national conference, Brisbane (May, 2018)
- Lauren Tyrrell, Toni Mansfield, & Sue Casey, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Oral Health Recall Tool – Development and Pilot: Final Report, Victorian Refugee Health Network, Melbourne (2017)
- Lauren Tyrrell, Philippa Duell-Piening, Michal Morris, & Sue Casey, Talking about health and experiences of using health services with people from refugee backgrounds, Victorian Refugee Health Network: Melbourne (September 2016)
- Samantha Furneaux, Philippa Duell-Piening, Sarah Christensen, Sue Jaraba, Maria Loupetis & Ruth Varenica, Engaging and supporting general practice in refugee health: Final report, Victorian Refugee Health Network, EACH Social and Community Health and ISIS Primary Care (September 2016)
- Victorian Refugee Health Network, Response to ‘A discussion paper of the Victorian state disability plan 2017-2020’ (July, 2016)
- Health Issues Centre and the Victorian Refugee Health Network, ‘Working together to improve health literacy of refugee background women: Final Report’, Health Issues Centre, Melbourne VIC (January 2016)
- Elisha Riggs, Jane Yelland, Philippa Duell-Piening and Stephanie Brown, ‘Improving health literacy in refugee populations’, Medical Journal of Australia, Vol 204:1, pp 9-10 (January, 2016)
- Elisha Riggs, Jane Yelland, Josef Szwarc, Sayed Wahidid, Sue Casey, Donna Chesters, Fatema Fouladi, Philippa Duell-Piening, Rebecca Giallo and Stephanie Brown, ‘Fatherhood in a New Country: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Experiences of Afghan Men and Implications for Health Services‘, Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care (online 2015)
- Jane Yelland, Elisha Riggs, Josef Szwarc, Sue Casey, Philippa Duell-Piening, Donna Chesters, Sayed Wahidid, Fatema Fouladi, and Stephanie Brown, Compromised communication: a qualitative study exploring Afghan families and health professionals’ experience of interpreting support in Australian maternity care (June, 2015)
- Submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence:
- Elisha Riggs, Jane Yelland, Josef Szwarc, Sue Casey, Donna Chesters, Philippa Duell-Piening, Sayed Wahidi, Fatema Fouladi, Stephanie Brown, Promoting the inclusion of Afghan women and men in research: reflections from research and community partners involved in implementing a ‘proof of concept’ project (January, 2015)
Settlement Data Bulletin
Every quarter, the Victorian Refugee Health Network compiles data on settlement trends for refugee communities across Victoria as well as information about people who are in Immigration Detention or have temporary protection visas e.g., Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV).
For the full data set please contact our team at Victorian Refugee Health Network (email@example.com).
The Network publishes a monthly e-Bulletin that shares current news and resources and showcases good practice from the refugee health sector in Victoria and Australia.
The e-Bulletin helps us to achieve our aims to:
- build the capacity of the Victorian health sector to respond to health concerns experienced by people of refugee backgrounds and address health inequality through health promotion
- support services to be more accessible to people from refugee backgrounds particularly in regional and outer metropolitan areas
- improve service coordination for recent arrivals and those with more complex needs.
The Victorian Refugee Health Network is responsive to emerging issues happening in the Sector and facilitates sector coordination calls for greater collaboration amongst health and community services on certain areas requiring a coordinated response. Some examples include:
COVID-19 Sector Coordination Calls (March 2020 – June 2023)
The COVID-19 Sector Coordination meetings were established in March 2020 to provide a forum for health and settlement service providers to share information and updates on changes to service availability and/or delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. These meetings also provided an important opportunity to streamline information from the COVID-19 Response team at the Department of Health to the refugee health service sector and vice versa.
Afghanistan Arrivals Health Coordination Working Group (August 2021 – August 2022)
The purpose of the group was to provide a coordinating forum for health and settlement support services involved in providing care to the Afghan Humanitarian intake to share information, coordinate services, identify and respond to health issues and any emerging trends of this cohort in Victoria. It also helped facilitate the sharing of ideas, resources, and development of strategic and operational approaches to problem-solving, including policy guidance.