Editorials: A different kind of treatment

Bond, Chelsea J.R., Spurling, Geoffrey K., & Askew, Deborah A. (2014) Editorials: A different kind of treatment. Medical Journal of Australia, 201(1), p. 10.

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Health professionals' duty of care includes combating racism in society as well as in health care settings.

The Australian Government's proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and the repeal of section 18C has transfixed national debates on legally defining racial discrimination.1 Under these changes, racial discrimination would no longer include acts that “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person based on the person's race, colour or national or ethnic origin and instead be limited to acts that “incite hatred” or “cause fear of physical harm”.2 These proposed changes have been framed in the context of enabling “free speech”, yet, evidence presented in this issue of the Journal shows that they have potential to cause harm. In this issue, Kelaher and colleagues highlight the prevalence of racism as experienced by Indigenous Australians and its deleterious effects on mental health.3 Alarmingly, almost every Aboriginal Victorian participating in this study reported an experience of racism in the preceding 12 months, which included jokes, stereotypes, verbal abuse and exclusionary practices. The experiences of racism reported here neither incited hatred nor caused fear of physical harm, yet resulted in harm such as psychological distress, especially when meted out in our health care system. These findings are a stark reminder that racism is indeed an important health issue, and as health professionals, our duty of care extends to contributing to these broader policy discussions...

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ID Code: 81962
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: racism, Indigenous health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, race, primary health care
DOI: 10.5694/mja14.00794
ISSN: 1326-5377
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (111701)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Deposited On: 04 Mar 2015 23:02
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2015 21:15

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