Working with CALD and ATSI people

By Support

Working with CALD and ATSI people

1. Background/Overview

People from diverse backgrounds face a range of challenges in Australian society. These include difficulties accessing good jobs, housing, political influence and the social and cultural life of the average Australian. Navigating systems and institutions such as education, justice and welfare can also be complex and difficult, especially where a language barrier exists. Racism, discrimination and other forms of exclusion add another layer of disadvantage for many, including Aboriginal Australians.

All Australians, whatever their background, ethnicity, ability or sexuality, have a right to access community and health services. The last thing they need is more barriers and nasty surprises when they need a service. Health and welfare workers in particular need to understand and be sensitive to the challenges that people from diverse backgrounds face. We need to know how to help people feel welcome and safe in our services.

2. Brief

Your ability to identify and manage your own values and biases will be explored. Your knowledge of communication issues with ATSI and other diverse clients will be tested. Concepts of diversity and cultural safety will also be examined.

Question 1 List 3 methods to find out more about a client’s background with regard to their particular culture/race/ethnicity or country of origin.

Question 2 Choose ONE of the following cultures:

• Remote/traditional Aboriginal
• Sunni Iraqi
• Filipino
• Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people (LGBT Culture)

a) Clearly identify 3 areas where YOUR values may differ with those of a client from the background you chose and HOW they differ

b) Reflect on and then explain why it is important not to show disapproval about these differences in values. Research your answer/s using the Internet and provide the links to your research. (about 50 words)

Working with CALD and ATSI people

c) Explain 3 methods to increase the participation of people from your chosen cultural group in its programs? For example, ‘Hire staff from the same cultural group’.

Question 3 Give three reasons why an accredited interpreter should be used instead of a client’s family member and provide a

Question 4 Name five barriers for people from diverse backgrounds when accessing mental health services. Briefly explain HOW the barrier impacts access to a service. (About 10-20 words each)

Question 5 Give 3 reasons why an Aboriginal person may appear to be, or may actually be, reluctant to discuss family matters with an Anglo-Australian worker?

Question 6 The National Mental Health Standards state that all care delivered is subject to the informed consent of the voluntary consumer and wherever possible, by the involuntary consumer in accordance with Commonwealth and state / territory jurisdictional and legislative requirements. What can a service do to ensure informed consent for treatment is properly obtained? Give 3 methods.

Question 7 Where a language barrier exists, name three strategies to aid efficient communication and improve understanding.


Question 8 Name 2 verbal and two non-verbal communication techniques to establish trust, rapport and effective communication with clients from diverse backgrounds (where NO language barrier exists)

Match the term in column 1 to its description in column 2



Unfair treatment of different categories of people, especially based on the grounds of race, age, or sex rather than individual merit

The correct letter to match term 1 is






The extent to which an organization has people from diverse backgrounds or communities involved as board members, staff, volunteers or clients

The correct letter to match term 2 is






Viewing behaviours that differ from one’s own values and beliefs as being wrong or abnormal

The correct letter to match term 3 is






Something to be valued and appreciated in the workplace

The correct letter to match term 4 is





Cultural bias


Something that those who have it may be unaware of

The correct letter to match term 5 is







A government policy that responds to the needs of a  range of ethnicities and cultures

The correct letter to match term 6 is






A generalisation, usually oversimplified and often negative, about a group or culture

The correct letter to match term 7 is



Question 10

AOD worker Mark has been making jokes about Rajesh’s accent and Indian background that Rajesh finds offensive. Rajesh decides to resolve the situation, following a series of steps that can be escalated to the next level if he is not satisfied with the outcome. Rajesh knows the steps but can’t remember what order they are supposed to be in. He asks you for help.

The steps are shown below in the wrong order. Put the steps in the correct order.

A – Rajesh could contact either: solicitor, union, anti-discrimination board, Australian Human Rights Commission or Work Health & Safety Authority to take action.

B – Rajesh should talk with his manager or other person in authority who could run a mediation session. Both Rajesh and Mark should be allowed to have a support person present.

C – If Rajesh is comfortable to do so, he should speak with the person about his/her behaviour; sometimes, people do not realize the impact of their actions on others.

D – Rajesh should be offered a mediation session with Mark, conducted by an external agency such as multicultural service.

Working with CALD and ATSI people

Question 11

Mark, a non-Aboriginal AOD worker, complains to his supervisor about Alan. Alan is an 18 yr old East-Arnheim (remote Northern Territory) Aboriginal man referred by the courts after being charged for possession of cannabis.
Mark says to his supervisor:
“Alan is a resistant, passive-aggressive client. Even though he can speak some English he takes far too long to answer questions, will not look me in the eye when he does – so I assume he’s probably lying – and he agrees to anything I suggest but then does not do it. I told him he’d cop it if he kept on having a lend of us but he took no notice.”
The supervisor recognises that Mark has probably misread the situation. He has a few things to say to Mark. Complete the following sentences.

Question 12

a) Both Aboriginal Australians living in town camps and refugees from war-torn countries have in common some risk factors that affect their cognitive functioning and/or ability to communicate. Give 3 examples of such risk factors:

b) Explain how trauma can impact on a person’s ability to function in modern Australian society. (About 100 words)