Hosting an asylum seeker in Australia: A nationwide exploratory study

Hebbani, Aparna, Khawaja, Nigar G., & Famularo, Janece (2016) Hosting an asylum seeker in Australia: A nationwide exploratory study. Australian Psychologist, 51(2), pp. 154-163.

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In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of people seeking asylum in Australia, resulting in over-crowded detention centres in various parts of the country. Appropriate management and assistance of asylum seekers has been an issue of major socio-political concern. In mid-2012, the Australian ruling government introduced a ‘first of its kind’ community placement initiative, which involved relocating low-risk asylum seekers from detention centres to homes of those Australian families who volunteered for this program. The present study investigated host families’ motivations for volunteering into this scheme and their resulting experiences. Twenty-four men and women from all over Australia were interviewed in person or over the telephone. Consistent with theoretical frameworks of altruism, acculturation, and intergroup contact, thematic analysis indicated participants’ interest in diversity/humanitarian issues were major factors that motivated them to host asylum seekers. Language and cultural barriers were reported as challenges, but generally, participants found the experience positive and rewarding. The initiative was regarded as an excellent avenue of learning about new cultures. The hosts played a strong role in promoting the English language proficiency and intercultural settlement of the asylum seekers. The scheme was considered as one way of diffusing fear/biases against asylum seekers prevalent amongst the Australian community at-large. Participants also provided suggestions to improve the scheme.

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ID Code: 81857
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Asylum seeker, Community placement, Acculturation, Altruism, Intergroup contact
DOI: 10.1111/ap.12123
ISSN: 1742-9544
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Australian Psychological Society
Copyright Statement: This is an electronic version of an article published in [include the complete citation information for the final version of the article as published in the print edition of the journal]
Deposited On: 17 Feb 2015 22:47
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 03:26

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