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CULTURAL DIVERSITY POLICY

 

  1. Purpose and Scope

Australian Home and Community Care recognises, respects and values the diversity of its staff, clients and the community in which it operates.

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to Board members, staff, students, and visitors of Australian Home and Community Care are aware for ensuring diversity is recognised, valued and respected.

  1. Definitions

Culturally and linguistically diverse refers to different linguistic, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Cultural diversity embraces Indigenous Australian and multicultural perspectives.

Culturally secure ways of working respect the legitimate rights, values and expectations of people and acknowledge the diversity within and between communities living in remote, regional and metropolitan areas.

A disability may be defined as an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairment or a combination of those impairments.

Diversity refers to aspects of people such as beliefs, attitudes, languages, social circumstances, ability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender history, health status and age.

Diverse sexualities include people identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (GLBTI).

Inclusive language is free of bias, discrimination and avoids stereotyping and mistaken assumptions about people on the basis of their, sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, breast feeding, sexual orientation, gender history, health status, race, nationality, colour or ethnic origin, age, religious or political conviction, impairment or disability, family responsibility or family status.

  1. Principles

Valuing diversity contributes to better outcomes for clients.

Information about the organisation and its services and programs is accessible to individuals and groups with specific diversity attributes.

Individuals seeking support from Australian Home and Community Care are provided with care that is free from stigma, discrimination and stereotyping.

Australian Home and Community Care is committed to providing sensitive and relevant services for clients with diverse needs. 110

 

Unlawful discrimination will not be tolerated by Board members, staff, students, volunteers, contractors, clients and visitors of Australian Home and Community Care.

  1. Outcomes

Australian Home and Community Care practices are free from discrimination.

Staff treat all clients equally with a welcoming, non judgemental and professional attitude.

A diverse, flexible and creative work environment exists in which Australian Home and Community Care actively acknowledges, supports, encourages and values diversity.

Services and programs provided by Australian Home and Community Care are communicated, relevant, accessible, and effective for a broad spectrum of individuals with diverse needs

 

Risk Management

Australian Home and Community Care ensure this policy does not breach any of its legal obligations.

The Director ensures decisions and actions relating to diversity are transparent and respectful.

All Board members, staff, volunteers and students are made aware of this policy during orientation.

Board members and staff are provided with ongoing support and professional development to assist them to implement diversity policies and practice effectively.

This policy will be reviewed in line with Australian Home and Community Care’s quality improvement program and/or relevant legislative changes.

  1. Policy Implementation

This policy is developed in consultation with all employees and approved by the Director.

This policy is to be part of all staff orientation processes and all employees, volunteers and students are responsible for understanding and adhering to this policy.

This policy should be referenced in relevant policies, procedures and other supporting documents to ensure that it is familiar to all staff and actively used.

  1. Policy Detail

Australian Home and Community Care uses diversity sensitive practices and provides all clients with a welcoming, inclusive environment.

As far as is practicable, disclosures regarding personal diversity are determined by the client, and confidentiality is maintained by Australian Home and Community Care.

Staff understand and use diversity sensitive client communication strategies.

8.1 Legal responsibilities

Australian Home and Community Care policies and practices are free from discrimination and comply with anti-discrimination legislation, including:

– Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)

– Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1996 (Commonwealth)

– Industrial Relations Act 1996 (VIC)

– Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (VIC)

– Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Commonwealth).

 

8.2 Clients attributes

 

Board members, staff, volunteers and students make themselves aware of specific issues related to, and respond effectively to, diversity aspects of clients, including but not limited to:

– Cultural and linguistic backgrounds

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– Aboriginality

– Sexuality

– Gender/gender history

– Age

– Health

– Disability (physical, intellectual, and others)

– Religious and spiritual beliefs.

 

In supporting clients with diverse needs, staff acknowledge personal, cultural and social issues beyond drug use and facilitate integration of a case management approach into the client’s support, ensuring referral to and liaison with appropriate services.

Australian Home and Community Care promotes and provides access to information about its services in a manner which is likely to reach potential clients with diverse needs.

8.2.1 Aboriginal People

 

Australian Home and Community Care staff have an understanding of the specific cultural and historical patterns that have structured Aboriginal peoples lives in the past and the ways in which these patterns continue to be expressed in contemporary

Culturally secure ways of working with Aboriginal people, their families and communities are used by the organisation, ensuring treatment and services:

– Incorporates an Aboriginal holistic concept of health and wellbeing

– Are grounded in an Aboriginal understanding of the historical factors, including traditional life, the impact of colonisation and the ongoing effects

– Aim to strengthen Aboriginal family systems of care, control and responsibility

– Address culturally secure approaches to harm reduction

– Work from within empowerment principles

– Understand the need for developing rapport and trust with Aboriginal people to better provide care and services.

 

Australian Home and Community Care acknowledges the complexity of the factors contributing to drug and alcohol problems by Aboriginal people and facilitates partnerships and collaboration between government, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal agencies and individuals.

Australian Home and Community Care has developed a [insert name of policy] for working with Aboriginal people.

8.2.2 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

 

Australian Home and Community Care considers issues of culture and diversity in the delivery of programs/services.

Australian Home and Community Care involves other services to support the needs of culturally diverse clients and is aware of potential issues when considering using an interpreter. Client concerns may include confidentiality, the interpreter coming from their own community or being known to them, and difficulty translating some languages accurately. 113

 

Staff are aware of the potential need to include family members in treatment, particularly if the client comes from a collectivist perspective and requests family involvement.

Questions the organisation asks to improve cultural competency include:

– Are we working in a client-centred way that allows reflection on assumptions about culture and language?

– How might clients and families from CALD backgrounds understand concepts like treatment or counselling?

– What impact does shame have on clients seeking support, and how may clients understand confidentiality?

– How does cross-generational conflict and new roles and freedoms affect how communities function?

– How has the migration and/or refugee experience affected the resilience of the client?

– Do we develop relationships with relevant community organisations and services to address access issues for CALD clients?

– Is the information we display and produce in simple and plain English and/or community languages?

 

Australian Home and Community Care has developed a Cultural Diversity for working with clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

8.2.3 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex

 

Australian Home and Community Care understands specific drug issues in the GLBTI community such as using drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with ‘coming out’ or hiding sexual orientation or gender identity, to assist in entering into the gay and lesbian social scene and the links with sexual risk-taking behaviours.

Australian Home and Community Care develops working relationships with GLBTI health services and provides appropriate referral pathways when needed.

Australian Home and Community Care has developed a [insert name of policy] for working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex clients.

8.2.4 Disability

 

Australian Home and Community Care will not preclude client access to programs and services on the grounds of disability.

Education, information and support are provided to staff and volunteers on service responsibilities and best practice when working with people with disabilities presenting for drug and alcohol treatment.

Working relationships with disability services are developed. Where appropriate, clients are linked to disability support networks as part of treatment, case management and continuing care.

Australian Home and Community Care has developed a [insert name of policy] for working with clients with a disability.