Constance and her family came to Australia on humanitarian visas.
Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program has two key parts: the resettlement program, or ‘offshore’ component, to resettle people from outside Australia; and the ‘onshore’ component, for people who claim refugee status after arriving in Australia.
On their arrival in Australia Constance and her family were provided with settlement support by local service providers in Wagga Wagga including the Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga; St Vincent de Paul; and the Uniting Church.
Australia is recognised by UNCHR as providing excellent settlement services for humanitarian entrants. The Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) program, administered through the federal government’s Department of Social Services and delivered by service providers in 23 regions across Australia, provides early practical support to humanitarian entrants on arrival, and throughout their initial settlement period.
The Department of Social Services also funds Settlement Services, building upon the foundation services provided by HSS by providing refugee and humanitarian entrants with services to help them become self-reliant and fully participate in Australian society.
UNHCR has been operational in Kenya for more than 50 years. The Kakuma camp, established in 1992, is located in the north-western region of Kenya on the outskirts of Kakuma town. As at August 2016, the camp was well over capacity, with more than 160,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers. UNHCR has negotiated with local governments and the host community to identify land for a new settlement in Kalobeyei, 25km from Kakuma town.
Like many refugees and humanitarian entrants arriving in Australia, Constance has endured experiences prior to her arrival in Australia – including war and prolonged displacement – that can have a long-term traumatic impact, including on her physical and mental health.
Australia has eight specialist torture and trauma agencies (one in each State and Territory) who offer direct services – such as psychological assessments, individual psycho-therapeutic interventions, group and family therapy and youth activities – to survivors of torture and trauma, their families and communities. The eight agencies also offer training and community education, and publications that provide advice for professional interaction with refugees and survivors of torture and trauma.
While these agencies undertake a range of outreach activities outside the metropolitan cities where they are based, there is a lack of trauma support services in regional and rural Australia, where many refugees and humanitarian entrants are resettled.
Constance on the Edge is a film primarily about refugee resettlement, and what it takes to belong in a new community – rather than associated immigration issues of boat arrivals, offshore processing, immigration detention etc.
To learn more about settlement in Australia see information produced by
According to UNHCR, the world is now witnessing unprecedented levels of displacement, with some 65.3 million people around the world – including nearly 21.3 million refugees – having been forced from their homes.
For information about the differences between people seeking asylum and refugees, statistics on the size and cost of Australia’s refugee policies, immigration detention and offshore processing see fact sheets produced by the