In March the Disability Royal Commission released their latest Issue Paper on CALD communities. The Commission would like to know more about the experiences of people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The Royal Commission uses the term ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ (CALD) to include individuals and communities who identify from an ethnic background. This includes people from many different backgrounds, such as people:
- Born in countries where English isn’t the main language
- With cultural heritage different from Australian culture
- Refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers who identify with a CALD community – regardless of how long you’ve lived here
- Born in Australia who identify with a CALD community
People who are deaf, with hearing impairments, or whose first language is Auslan or another sign language may consider themselves part of a CALD community as well.
Disability and CALD communities
Different cultures approach disability in different ways. This affects the attitudes, beliefs, and services available to people with disability.
The Royal Commission want to understand how disability is viewed in different cultures and how this affects people with disability, their families, and carers. In particular, they’re looking to see if cultural differences lead to increased risk of violence, abuse, exploitation, and neglect.
Barriers to access and inclusion
Research shows that people with disability from a CALD community are often stigmatised and excluded from their own communities.
Some barriers they face include:
- Language barriers and lack of interpreters
- Lack of culturally appropriate information or communication
- Services that aren’t culturally appropriate
- Negative stereotypes and cultural stigmas
- Mistrust of government and organisations
Experiences of CALD groups
There are people with disability who have different experiences as part of a CALD community. This includes refugees, migrants, people on temporary visas, and living in detention. The Commission will also focus on the experiences of children, young people, and women.
People from refugee or migrant backgrounds may have experienced stigma from their previous country. This may create barriers to access and inclusion when living in Australia.
Research shows that young people and children with disability from CALD communities have limited access to supports. Families may struggle to understand and navigate disability supports for their family.
Our next instalment covers some questions to help you make a submission on this topic.