Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) has partnered with Carers Victoria to improve outcomes for carers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. 

Funded through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), the Recognising and Respecting Carers from Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds project seeks to address priorities set out by the Victorian Government in the Victorian Carer Strategy 2018-22. 

These priorities ensure that carers:

  • are healthy and well,
  • are engaged in education, employment and community,
  • can access respite and other supports they need,
  • have less financial stress, and
  • are recognised, acknowledged and respected.

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to family members and friends with a disability, mental illness, chronic health issue and/or age-related condition. Carers Australia estimates that 25–30% (approximately 500,000) of all Australian carers are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. However, this figure is likely to be an underestimate due to the lack of reporting or identification of the caring role within this group.

Current research indicates this cohort is often underrepresented within carer support services, in addition to being a group at risk of isolation, economic insecurity and poor health.

By leveraging the multicultural community relationships of ECCV, alongside the subject and service expertise of Carers Victoria, this project aims to identify needs and develop solutions to help improve outcomes for carers from CALD backgrounds.

The project will focus on building the capacity of carer support group leaders to identify support services and to share that knowledge with carers within their groups. 

It will also engage with ‘hidden carers’ within the community who are a particularly vulnerable group among the carer cohort. A hidden carer, often a family member, is an individual who holds a caring role yet who does not identify as a carer, and may not access support groups or services made available to them.  

The project also aims to raise awareness of the issue of elder abuse through open discussion and by looking at culturally safe ways to address it. When communities openly talk about the issue through trusted relationships such as community and faith leaders, it gives older people permission to speak up if they or someone they know is experiencing abuse. Healthy communities give people the respect and dignity they deserve to make informed and respectful decisions about where to seek support.

If you or your organisation is involved in carer support and would like to find out more about the project, please contact ECCV Carer Capacity Building Project Coordinator Hayat Doughan at hdoughan@eccv.org.au or on 0478 217 956.

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