Mapping the Refugee Settlement Projects of the Australian Churches A project of the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy, with advice from Prof. Sandy Gifford, Director of the Refugee Health Research Centre, La Trobe University.
The churches have historically played a highly significant role in the settlement of refugees in Australia, not only in providing services and support, but in establishing networks of inclusion, community and integration. The study will help churches identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps in their work with refugees. The results will help inform responses from governments as well as churches in helping sometimes traumatised refugees settle into Australia.
Caz Coleman: Best practice in settlement for asylum seekers and refugees
Until recently director of
Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project and a current member of a
government advisory committee, Caz Coleman has taken over this research
into how to resettle asylum seekers and refugees in the most humane and
effective way. Drawing on her extensive experience, she is outlining
what has worked well in the past, and how to extend the community
settlement schemes in Australia. The project intends to help shape
government policy and inform public opinion
about better policies for asylum seekers.
The morality of torture in the light of Christian social traditions, with special reference to Australian public opinion
This project surveys what the main Christian traditions have said about the morality of torture, and examines the thinking of leading Christian ethicists in current debates. The project considers the military codes of practice of the Australian intelligence and defence forces, in relation to US military or intelligence practice, with special reference to treatment of people detained as possible terrorists following the 9/11 attacks on New York. It also considers use of interrogation techniques in policing. In addition, the project examines debates about the reliability of information gained through torture.
Relevance of the project: a study by the Australian Red Cross to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions revealed that 40 per cent of respondents thought captured soldiers sometimes deserved to die, and 43 per cent of respondents believed it “OK” to torture captured soldiers to obtain “important military information”.
The research proposal aims to clarify Christian social thinking on this issue, with a view to helping inform public opinion.
Youth, Religious Belief and Social Justice
Sociological studies have indicated an association between religious commitment and involvement in social welfare / justice activities. Research focusing on youth (aged 13-24 years) also suggests an association between faith orientation and social concern and involvement. The research is a study of youth engaged in social justice activities and the religious / non-religious factors associated with such engagement. A main question posed by the research relates to the motivation behind youth engagement in social justice activities: To what extent is it motivated by basic human compassion, religious faith, or some other factor or combination of factors? Further to this is the issue of what factors help to sustain social justice involvement: For example, to what extent does religious faith help to sustain this type of engagement? To what extent is modelling important?
Long-term health costs of extended mandatory detention of asylum seekers
This report is part of a project by the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy, funded by the Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand. The project aims at developing mechanisms to assist the processing of asylum seekers, and to improve the ease of transition into Australian society for successful asylum claimants.
This first stage of the project, Long-term health costs of extended mandatory detention of asylum seekers,
was completed by Dr Tony Ward of Milbur Consulting, and was launched in Melbourne by Rev Alistair Macrae, President of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church of Australia on 12 October 2011. Dr Ward reported that prolonged detention had significant effects on people's mental health, and this would result in increased costs for mental health treatment, amounting to 50% more than average over a lifetime. The report attracted significant media interest, includin in the Age
newspaper. The full report is attached.
Bishop Hilton Deakin and the Church's role in East Timor's Struggle for Independence:
researchers, Drs Jim and Therese D'Orsa
Drs Jim and Therese D’Orsa have been working with Bishop Hilton
to write up his recollections of the involvement of the Catholic Church
in East Timor’s struggles for independence. They are currently
organising extensive collections of material, and working closely with
Bishop Deakin, are planning to
complete the project by the end of 2013. We expect that this project
will make a significant contribution to understanding this critical
period, involving the interlocking religious and political dimensions
for Australia and internationally. To read more about this project,
Fr Kevin Mogg and the development of Catholic social services in Victoria:
researcher, Anne Tuohey
Ms Anne Tuohey has wide experience in social services in
Victoria and is well placed to work with Fr Kevin Mogg with these
memoirs. Fr Mogg initially was involved with youth movements and the YCW
groups, and became very concerned about the wellbeing of poor and
disadvantaged groups. Inspired by the Second Vatican Council, he became
part of various initiatives, especially prison visitation and
chaplaincy. Later as the episcopal vicar for Catholic service providers,
he helped coordinate the many Catholic social welfare organisations
into Catholic Social Services Victoria.