Freedom from Discrimination Action Group

 

What is Freedom from Discrimination?

Freedom from Discrimination is an internationally recognised human right. Discrimination is the process by which a member, or members, of a socially defined group are treated differently (especially unfairly) because of their membership of that group. Exposure to discrimination has been linked to the development of a range of mental and physical health problems (VicHealth, 2010). Freedom from discrimination is a determinant of mental and physical wellbeing (VicHealth, 2009).

What was the G21 Freedom from Discrimination Action Group?

The G21 Freedom from Discrimination Action Group was formed in May 2010 and sat within the G21 Health and Wellbeing Pillar. The work of the Action Group contributed to the regional health priority of addressing mental health and wellbeing. The group was based on a human rights approach where everyone has a right to be free from discrimination and the right to health.

The G21 Freedom from Discrimination Action Group was a partnership of organisations who worked to address discrimination and support the diversity of people within the G21 region. These organisations included: G21, Barwon Health, Diversitat, City of Greater Geelong, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, Barwon Medicare Local, BATForce, Geelong Adolescent Sexuality Project (GASP), Department of Health, Department of Human Services and The Department of Justice.

The Action Group produced a number of resources to assist people who were affected by discrimination:

Who is at risk of discrimination in the G21 region?

By consulting with local agencies, the G21 Freedom from Discrimination Action Group identified the following populations who were at greatest risk of experiencing discrimination in the G21 region:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) people, and people from a refugee background
  • People who have a disability
  • People who are same sex attracted or gender questioning

How did the G21 Freedom From Discrimination Action Group address discrimination in the G21 region?

The G21 Freedom From Discrimination Action Group aimed to provide a strategic response to addressing discrimination and supporting diversity across the G21 region. A number of strategies were developed in order to achieve this:

  • The development of an anti-discrimination social marketing and media campaign.
  • A community arts project whereby photographs are taken of community members displaying hand written messages which challenge discrimination and celebrate diversity. These images were printed and displayed in a range of venues throughout Geelong, and appeared in a number of resources and campaigns developed by the G21 FFD Action Group.
  • The development of an anti-discrimination resource pack, including a locally filmed short documentary “Know me, Know my Story”, posters, postcards, information booklet and tip sheets.
  • An anti-discrimination workforce development strategy to ensure that our local workforce is able to support all members of the community.

The G21 Freedom from Discrimination Photo Arts Project

The G21 Freedom from Discrimination Photo Project gave community members the opportunity to contribute to a region wide awareness campaign. Seeing others celebrating diversity and speaking out about discrimination had positive effects on community attitudes and behaviours.

The Project involved community members creating hand-written or drawn messages which celebrate diversity and challenge discrimination. Photographs were taken of the community members displaying their messages. The project aimed to reflect the vibrancy of our wonderfully diverse community. Anyone could be involved!

Since the launch of the arts project at Pako Festa 2011, photographic images were captured at community events and organisations including Diversity Week celebrations at Corio Community Health Centre, The Refugee Week Justice Expo and the City of Greater Geelong’s Multicultural Action Plan Launch.

Images were displayed in numerous locations throughout Geelong. A series of billboards on display in high traffic areas featured images from this project, whilst others were displayed at public events and within local organisations. Many of the photographs were included in the Freedom from Discrimination resources and posters.

The Freedom from Discrimination Project was proven to be an enormous success, with over 300 photographic images captured.