Publications & Resources

Foundation House develops publications and resources to enhance the understanding of the needs of people from refugee backgrounds among health and other professionals, government and the wider community. Recently produced publications encompass areas such as refugee health and wellbeing, school and education resources and curriculum material.

Foundation House also prepares policy documents and submissions to government inquiries or for wider distribution in policy areas which impact the well being and rights of our client group. Recent work includes submissions and policy papers on immigration detention policy, the federal government citizenship test and the education needs of young refugees.


Our publications and resources are available on this website for free download to ensure they are available to the widest possible audience, however please read our Copyright Notice by clicking here for information on how the various materials can be used or distributed. 

Publications & Resources Available for download

Refugee Health

  • Promoting the engagement of interpreters in Victorian health services (June 2013)
    A report by the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture. This report documents findings from a two year study that was undertaken in response to regular reports from Foundation House clients with low English proficiency about not being provided with a credentialed interpreter when accessing health care. Reports from other sources indicate that the issue is widespread and longstanding in Victoria and nationally. The study examined a range of evidence about the barriers to - and facilitators of - the engagement of interpreters, as experienced by the health sector and its practitioners.
  • Barriers to and facilitators of utilisation of mental health services by young people of refugee background (2012)
    The study that informed this report canvassed the views of more than 100 practitioners in mental health services or in contact with mental health services about “what works” and “what does not work” in engaging young people from refugee backgrounds with mental health services. It was conducted by Dr Erminia Colucci (Centre for International Mental Health) as a collaborative project between Foundation House and Associate Professor Harry Minas (Centre for International Mental Health), Dr Georgia Paxton (Royal Children’s Hospital) and Carmel Guerra (Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues). The research was supported by grants from the Myer Foundation and the William Buckland Foundation. 
  • Paper published re use of mental health services by young people of refugee background
    The utilisation of mental health services by children and young people from a refugee background: a systematic literature review. Authors: Erminia Colucci(a)*, Josef Szwarc(b), Harry Minas(a), Georgia Paxton(c) and Carmel Guerra(d)

    (a) Centre for International Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; (b)Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, Melbourne, Australia; (c) Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; (d) Centre for Multicultural Youth, Melbourne, Australia

    Foundation House has collaborated on a study which has found that “young people of refugee background are at increased risk, compared with immigrant or Indigenous children and young people, for psychological symptoms and psychiatric disorders because of forced migration, traumatic events and resettlement in unfamiliar environments”.

    The article, published in the International Journal of Culture and Mental Health in August 2012, presents the main findings in relation to mental-health services utilization by children and young people of refugee background. An overview of literature on the general (i.e. adults or not-youth specific) refugee population has also been included to provide, where possible, a comparison between the former and the latter. 
  • Promoting Refugee Health: A guide for doctors, nurses and other health care providers caring for people from refugee backgrounds (380pp; 3rd edition)
    A comprehensive guide to working with clients from refugee backgrounds. This guide includes an introduction to refugee health and why is it important, to torture and trauma, clinical issues and models of care. This guide also includes information on asylum seeker health and the health and service eligibility of asylum seekers.
  • Caring for refugee patients in general practice: A desk–top guide (24pp; 4th edition)
    A concise guide that provides important summary information for GPs working with clients from refugee backgrounds.
    Australian Capital Territory guide  download 
    New South Wales guide
    Northern Territory guide  download
    Queensland guide  download
    South Australian guide
    Tasmanian guide download 
    Victorian guide download  
    Western Australian guide download 
  • Rebuilding Shattered Lives (1998)
    Rebuilding Shattered Lives was developed to assist in the improvement of services to survivors of torture and trauma. The focus of the guide is on adults and the family. 
  • Towards a health strategy for refugees and asylum seekers in Victoria (2004)
    Report to the Victorian Department of Human Services to provide the basis for the development of a statewide health services strategy for refugees and asylum seekers. 
  • Sexual Violence and Refugee Women from West and Central Africa (2005)
    With increasing numbers of refugees coming from the countries of West and Central Africa, this Paper focuses on the experiences of refugee women, in particular the prevalence and impact of sexual violence. It provides information on women’s experiences of war and seeking refuge and the specific health concerns related to sexual violence. Through sensitive and appropriate interventions, GPs and other health professionals can contribute to their health and support them in the process of recovery. 
  • "Where is the Justice? Stories from behind closed doors" (2008) - a book by Rosa Vasseghi. "Where is the Justice?" powerfully tells the stories collected by Rosa over many years of the imprisonment, abuse and torture of many women.The book is available in hard copy only and is accompanied by an original CD of music and songs. Order form for Australia - click here; Order form for overseas purchasers (in US dollars) - click here
  • Having a baby in a new country: the experience of Afghan families
    There is a dearth of evidence regarding the experiences of health and health care of women of refugee backgrounds in Victoria. This lack of evidence curtails efforts to respond adequately to the needs of women and families. Having a baby in a new country is a descriptive exploratory study using participatory approaches to engaging community in research. The study documents the experiences of Afghan women and families having a baby in Melbourne, and explores the experiences of health professionals providing maternity and postnatal care to families. The study was undertaken in partnership with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

Schools & Education

  • School's In for Refugees: A whole-school approach to supporting students of refugee background (2011)
    This resource has been produced in consultation with teachers and others in the community, health, family services and education sectors. It includes background information about understanding the refugee experience and the impact of trauma on learning, development and wellbeing to support those who work in and with schools. This resource also includes case studies, professional learning activities, templates and tools for teachers to use in their work, to assist planning and change processes in a school environment.

    Copies of School’s In for Refugees are available via the Foundation House website and as part of the Foundation House professional learning program for schools.

    Each Resource, Tool, Professional learning activity and Case study in Part 2 of the publication is available as an individual file or as a ZIP folder. 
    Follow this link to download
  • For a complete list of schools resources, click here
  • A guide to working with young people who are refugees (1996 & 2000) Strategies for Providing Individual Counselling and Group Work. Includes the Kaleidoscope Program with 6 session structured group program for secondary school. Also available in hardcopy for $20 (inc. gst) plus $5 postage. 
  • The Rainbow Program for Children in Refugee Families (2002)
    Seven session structured group program for primary aged children (age 9-12). Also available in hardcopy for $20 (inc. gst) plus $5 postage.
  • HealthWize - health literacy teaching resource for refugee and other ESL students (2004)
    Health literacy program for secondary school aged students from refugee and other culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. To access the audio files that accompany this resource, please click on the following links:
    HealthWize Intro
    HealthWize Unit 1, Activity 7
    HealthWize Unit 2, Activity 5
    HealthWize Unit 3, Activity 3
    HealthWize Unit 4, Activity 13
    HealthWize Unit 5, Activity 2
    HealthWize, Unit 6, Activity 5
    HealthWize, Unit 7, Activity 2
    HealthWize Unit 7, Activity 3
    HealthWize Unit 7, Activity 5
    HealthWize Unit 9, Activity 1
    HealthWize Unit 9, Activity 2  
    download resource
  • Taking Action - Human Rights and Refugee Issues Teaching Resource (2005)
    Eleven lesson curriculum unit that aims to develop attitudes and behaviours that promote human rights. 
  • Klassroom Kaleidoscope A program to facilitate connectedness and well-being in the culturally diverse classroom (2007)
    Ten lesson unit adapted from the Kaleidoscope Program for the mainstream classroom of both refugee and non-refugee students 
  • Education & Refugee Students from Southern Sudan
    This profile provides information on the background and experiences of South Sudanese students. It aims to help schools understand their needs in order to provide a more supportive educational environment. It includes information on the conflict in Sudan and its impact on education, the refugee journey and issues that may affect learning and settlement. 
  • Talk's In. Families of refugee background and schools in dialogue 
    A resource to strengthen the capacity of school communities to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for families of refugee backgrounds.  The resource includes background information, practical suggestions and resources for workshops with school stafff and families.
    Talk's In (booklet) download 
    Workshop for Families (Powerpoint Presentation) download 
    Workshop for Staff (pdf) download  
  • Evaluation of Foundation House Refugee Action Network Strategy 2009–2010
    This report documents Foundation House’s work with 41 school communities across four metropolitan regions of Melbourne and one regional area of Victoria over the 2009–2010 period. The focus of this report is an evaluation of the work undertaken in partnership with these schools and provides information about the kinds of activities schools did using a whole school approach to support children, young people and families of refugee backgrounds. 

Policy, Research & Submissions

  • Responding to challenges of misuse of alcohol and other drugs by young people of refugee backgrounds Reflections from two projects
    In 2010 two projects were independently initiated in Western Melbourne, in response to concerns raised by community and local services that mainstream services encountered difficulties engaging young people from refugee backgrounds, especially those considered marginalised and ‘at risk’. The projects were the Brimbank Young Men’s Project established by the Centre for Multicultural Youth and Engaging Youth: Promoting the Wellbeing of Vulnerable Karen Young Men established by the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture.
    This report shares reflections from the projects and drawing on the experience of the host organisations and the literature, offers recommendations for the consideration of policy makers, service providers and staff to enable them to engage and work more effectively with young people of refugee backgrounds who may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol and drug misuse . 
  • Submission to the consultation on “Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2012–13 and beyond”
    The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture has submitted a response to the Australian Government’s consultation on Australia’s humanitarian program in 2012–13 and beyond. The submission focuses on a number of questions posed in the Government’s Information Paper, such as the Special Humanitarian Program, Private Sponsorship etc.
  • Submission regarding the Government's Vision for Citizenship in a Multicultural Victoria
    The VFST's submission focuses on two specific questions posed in a section of the Victorian Government's Vision for Citizenship in a Multicultural Victoria, 'Towards a new policy framework': How can the Government improve access to services for our diverse communities; and How can we more accurately measure the effectiveness of Government policy and service delivery relating to the needs of diverse Victorians? 
  • Foundation House has recently released a discussion paper 'exploring barriers and facilitators to the use of qualified interpreters in health'.
    The catalyst for the paper was regular reports from Foundation House clients with low English proficiency not being provided with a qualified interpreter when accessing health care in Victoria. The purpose of the discussion paper is to summarise evidence regarding the importance of using qualified interpreters, their use in various health settings and the main barriers and facilitators to their use. download
  • Submission to the Access and Equity Inquiry into the Responsiveness of Australian Government Services to Australia’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Population
    The VFST’s submission deals primarily with two subjects: the first is a framework to monitor and promote access and equity and the second is the identification of a significant area where current policy imposes a significant barrier to the use of important health services by people who are not proficient in English: that is the lack of access to fee-free interpreting for a range of Commonwealth funded allied health and mental health services. 
  • Submission to the Victorian Government’s Action Plan to Address Violence against Women and their Children
    This submission is concerned particularly with Question 7 of the Action Plan: potential barriers and risks to be managed and mitigated. The VFST welcomes that the Action Plan consultation document explicitly states that it will address the needs of ‘families from diverse communities and backgrounds’. 
  • Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties Inquiry into ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)
    The VFST considers that there are compelling domestic and international reasons for Australia to ratify OPCAT. In particular, the evidence indicates that ratification would significantly enhance current arrangements to ensure people deprived of their liberty within Australia are not subjected to acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. This submission focuses upon the benefits of ratification for the monitoring of immigration detention, the area with which we are particularly familiar. 
  • The Education Needs of Young Refugees in Victoria
    This document aims to support the development of a government policy position to improve existing levels of support for the well-being and educational achievement of students from refugee backgrounds. It was developed by the Refugee Education Partnership Project, a collaborative effort of both government and non-government organisations, co-ordinated by Foundation House.
  • Understanding the mental health and wellbeing of Afghan women in SE Melbourne. Author: Angela Rintoul, a Fellow in the Victorian Public Health Training Scheme while on placement at Foundation House.
    In early 2009, a consortium of health professionals in the Dandenong area identified a need to address mental health concerns among Afghan families of a refugee background. This research explores and documents issues contributing to poor mental health and wellbeing among women of childbearing age and their families. The research project was conducted through a collaboration of the Department of Health, Monash University and Foundation House and made possible with the financial support of the Sidney Myer Fund and William Buckland Foundation. 
  • The meaning and mental health consequences of long-term immigration detention for people seeking asylum. Authors: Maria Tucci, Guy J. Coffey, Ida Kaplan and Robyn C. Sampson, Social Science & Medicine journal. 
    This article reports the findings of a Foundation House research project examining the experience of extended periods of immigration detention from the perspective of previously detained asylum seekers and to identify the consequences of these experiences for life after release. All participants were struggling to rebuild their lives in the years following release from immigration detention, and for the majority the difficulties experienced were pervasive. Participants suffered ongoing insecurity and injustice, difficulties with relationships, profound changes to view of self and poor mental health. Depression and demoralisation, concentration and memory disturbances and persistent anxiety were very commonly reported. The results strongly suggest that the psychological and interpersonal difficulties participants were suffering at the time of interview were the legacy of their adverse experiences while detained. Click here for the full version of the article. (Please note there is restricted access to this article as per the Science Direct website.)
  • Comment on the Discussion Paper of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health, A Mentally Healthy Future for All Australians.
    Foundation House commends the Discussion Paper for its identification of key issues and its proposals for a comprehensive framework to promote the mental health of the Australian population. The Discussion Paper properly points to the fact that certain Australians face particularly high risks of mental health problems and barriers to accessing appropriate services. 
  • Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee Inquiry into the
    Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Bill 2009
    The Bill proposed to provide an improved procedure for the consideration of claims by individuals that, while they are not refugees, Australia was obliged under international treaty not to return them to their countries of origin because they may be subject to serious harm such as torture and the death penalty. Foundation House submitted that while it generally supported the measure, the Committee should recommend certain amendments. Click here to read Foundation House's  full submission.
  • Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission's African Australians Project: Human rights and social inclusion issues
    This submission provides additional information about formal schooling for African Australian children and young people. In particular Foundation House responds to the request for information about ‘what works’ or is promising to address issues of concern. The submission is concerned in particular with issues relating to children and young people of refugee backgrounds. 
  • Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2006.
    The Foundation House submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2006 highlights in detail the grave concerns Foundation House holds in relation to the effects of the proposed bill on:
    • Honouring human rights obligations
    • Mental health impact of detention
    • Adverse effects on children & families
  • Perspectives on Torture : the law, the effects, the debate
    This paper outlines key issues including:
    • international definitions of torture and 'cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment'
    • where and how torture is currently being used
    • the effects of torture on victims, their families and communities
    • international laws prohibiting torture
    • the debate about whether torture should be legalised in certain circumstances (such as dealing with terrorist suspects)
  • FASSTT Joint Standing Committee on Migration Immigration Detention Enquiry Submission 
    The submission prepared for the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, Inquiry into Immigration Detention. This submission was prepared by VFST on behalf of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma and submitted in August 2008.

Annual Reports

  • The Foundation House 2012/13 Annual Report click here
  • The Foundation House 2011/12 Annual Report click here
  • The Foundation House 2010/11 Annual Report click here 
  • The Foundation House 2009/10 Annual Report click here 
  • The Foundation House 2008/09 Annual Report click here 
  • The Foundation House 2007/08 Annual Report click here
  • The Foundation House 2007/08 Annual Report Direct Service Data click here
  • More Than Just Words: The 20th Anniversary of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture. In 2007 Foundation House marked its 20th Anniversary. This publication commemorates this milestone documenting the story and work of the organisation, though the eyes of members of the Foundation House community including clients, staff, patrons, members and supporters. 
  • The Foundation House 2006/07 Annual Report
    click here
  • The Foundation House 2005/06 Annual Report
    click here
  • The Foundation House 2004/05 Annual Report
    click here

  Community Development

  • Coming together: Two cultures, one life
    Community Development with Sudanese Refugees: A Case Study

    Designed as a case study example of the application of community development principles and practices to refugee settlement programs, "Coming Together" tells the story of Foundation House's work in partnership with a Sudanese community group settling in the western suburbs of Melbourne. A useful resource which may guide the work of other service providers working with refugees. 

Family Strengthening

  • Raising Children in Australia - resources for early childhood services working with parents from African Backgrounds (2007)
    The resources comprise a guide for early childhood services working with parents from African backgrounds and a DVD for parents from African backgrounds with young children. For a copy of the DVD (packaged for parents) or Guide (includes a DVD) email or phone 1800 050 009. 

Food and Nutrition