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In  this assignment students are  required  to prepare a case  study. The case  study must be on a specific diversity group in the Australian community. The case study will examine their specific needs, the history this  group  has  endured,  the  obstacles  that  exist  for  this  group  to  access  care  and  services  and  the opportunities  available  for  accessing  the  needed  services.  The  case  study  will  also  explore  the  role  of community  services  and  the  specific  skills  and knowledge  set  required  to  competently  provision  this group.   

  • An introduction about the diversity group focused on in the case study
  • A discussion as to what this group has endured historically, socially and politically
  • A brief review of current literature on the group and their respective issues  
  • An investigation of the obstacles that exist for this group when accessing care and services and the opportunities that exist for this group to be supported through the community
  • The  discussion  should  address  the  skills  and  knowledge  set  needed  to  develop  culturally competent services and practices for working with this group.

The Concept of Diversity in the Australian Community

Diversity forms an integral part of the society of the nation of Australia and this particular element of their culture is being manifested in the wide range of cultural entities that form an important part of the nation itself (Hill et al., 2017 p-802). The nation of Australia is a multi-cultural one and has absorbed the different cultural entities which form an integral part of the nation into the overall national culture of the nation itself (Hill et al., 2017 p-802). In short, the nation can be seen as a microcosm of the diverse cultural as well as ethnic groups with which the nation is composed of (Armstrong et al., 2017 p-300). The concept of diversity becomes even more important if a look at the different kinds of people or the individuals who form a part of the population of the nation is taken into consideration (Armstrong et al., 2017 p-300). For example, on the one hand there are the indigenous people, then there are the various aboriginals, there are the white skinned people and finally there are the various immigrants and the people who have come to the nation for diverse reasons (Carey et al., 2017 p-265). It becomes important for the nation to develop the kind of practices as well as policies which not only respects and acknowledges the presence of these diverse groups within the framework of the nation but at the same time to create the kind of environment wherein they would be able to co-exist together (Carey et al., 2017 p-265). This paper will analyze the cultural group of “Torres Strait Islanders” and also their historical background. The paper will at the same time analyze the problems or the obstacles faced by them and how they can be effectively mitigated through the initiative of the community and the governmental authorities.


The “Torres Strait Islanders” belong to the category of the indigenous people of the nation of Australia although they are often confused with the aboriginals of the nation (Price, 2015 p-56). It is pertinent to note that there are two groups of these islanders, namely the ones belonging to Bamaga and the others belonging to Seisia (Price, 2015 p-56). However, at the same time it is seen that the lifestyle as well as the habits that are followed by them is very different from the ones followed by the aboriginals (Funston & Herring, 2016 p-51). These people originally belong to the Torres Strait Island and they have formed an integral part of the nation of Australia for more than 3000 years (Funston & Herring, 2016 p-51). However, they later on migrated to the inlands of the nation of Australia leaving their native lands and established various cultural communities in diverse parts of the nation. Furthermore, it was also seen that they not only integrated with their own culture with the culture of the location in which they formed their community but at the same formed cultural hybrids as well often taking the best aspects that the local cultures had to offer them.

Background on Torres Strait Islanders

During the colonial period it was seen that they were much oppressed by the colonizers and were even driven out from the communities that they have formed in the inlands of the nation (Valery et al., 2018 p-870). They had to face various kinds of hardships on this score and it was not until the 19th century that were recognized as part of the Australian nation and provided with the rights that the other people of the nation usually had access to (Valery et al., 2018 p-870). In addition to these, it was also seen that the health care facilities that have been provided to them by the national government of the nation was very rudimentary in nature and this has adversely affected the fortunes of the concerned people. As per an estimate there are “6,800 Torres Strait Islanders who live in the area of the Torres Strait, and 42,000 others who live outside the area, mostly in the north of Queensland, particularly in Townsville and Cairns” (Townsend et al., 2018 p-270). However, at the same time it is important to note that inspite of having such a vast population these individuals have been deprived of some of their most basic rights and this is generally considered as one of the major reasons for the lack of development of this particular community of the nation of Australia. In particular context, it can be said that although these people are very distinct from the aboriginals of the nation yet the kind of treatment which have received at the hands of the Australian people and the national government and also the rudimentary facilities that has been provided to them are no way very different from the ones which have been provided to the aboriginals (Townsend et al., 2018 p-270).  

The “Torres Strait Islanders” by nature are sea faring people and generally like to indulge in various kinds of adventurous sports activities (Couzos & Thiele, 2016 p-6). It is significant to note that sea faring and fishing has formed an integral part of their lives since the traditional times and they are not only used as adventurous sports but at the same time as means of livelihood by these people as well (Couzos & Thiele, 2016 p-6). In addition to this, it is also seen that these individuals at the same time indulge in various kinds of agricultural activities so as to cultivate the required amount of crops with which they can sustain themselves (Markwick et al., 2014 p-598). Furthermore, the fishing skills developed by these individuals over the years have at the same time also helped these individuals in a significant to undertake fishing as a livelihood with the motive to sustain themselves. In addition to these, various kinds of hunting activities also form an integrate part of their lives. Furthermore, it is also seen that the various hunting activities which are being undertaken by them are not merely for fun but at the same time to sustain themselves as well.

Challenges and Obstacles Faced by Torres Strait Islanders


The culture of these people is different from the ones of the people of the mainland and also of the other aboriginal people of the nation. It is significant to note that the culture of these people is more similar to the people of the Papua New Guinea (McNamara et al., 2014 p-570). Furthermore, the entity of land forms an integral part of their culture and as a matter of fact the major cultural practices of these people have been designed on the basis of this particular fact only (McNamara et al., 2014 p-570). It is a reflection of this particular factor that inspite of facing various kinds f harsh treatments at the hands of the colonizers and even the mainlanders of the nation of Australia they held on to the lands which had since the traditional times. Furthermore, it is also seen that the majority of these people till the 19th century were untouched by the various precepts of the religion of Christianity and followed the various kinds of pagan religious systems (McNamara et al., 2014 p-570). It was only in the later part of the 19th century that these people started to embrace the various precepts of the religion of Christianity (Altman & Taylor, 2018 p-56). The pagan religious practices followed by them are generally considered to be one of the major reasons why these people are often grouped with the aboriginals of the nation (Altman & Taylor, 2018 p-56).  Moreover, family values also form an integral part of their lives and it is generally seen that the various activities and even the migrations undertaken by them are done from the perspective of the benefits that these activities are likely to provide to them as well as their family members.

The cultural group under discussion has not received much political help or support from the national government of the nation of Australia since the traditional times. For example, during the time of the colonial reign in the nation of Australia these individuals were subjected to various kinds of tortures as well as harsh treatments from the colonizers and there were even attempts to take the land of these individuals by force (Gibson-Helm et al., 2016 p-118). Furthermore, even after Australia got freedom from the yolk of colonialism the condition of these people did not improve in any significant manner as a matter of fact their condition remained more or less the same. In addition to these, it was seen that the people as well as the national government of the mainland of Australia viewed these individuals as separate from the mainland community and thus not many initiatives were take for the growth of these people (Gibson-Helm et al., 2016 p-118). It is a reflection of this particular that in the recent times these people have their own representative flag and even community government which are to some extent different from the ones that are being followed in the mainland of Australia. Thus, it can be said that one of the major reasons for the lack of development of these individuals is the lack of effective support which they have got since the traditional times from the nation of Australia.

Opportunities for Accessing Needed Services

The “Torres Strait Islanders” have been subjected to much negative portrayal as well as stereotyping since the traditional times not only in the various literary works but also in the various kinds of media (Graham et al., 2016 p-17). It is significant to note that for many years they were not only treated on par with the aboriginals of the nation of Australia but at the same time equated with the savages as well. Furthermore, at the same time it was also seen that there has been much stereotyping around the identity of these people and thus they have been generally depicted in the negative light. It was also seen that some of the literary texts even depicted them as cannibals and even went on to the extent of saying that they belong to the genre of cannibalistic people (Graham et al., 2016 p-17). One of the major issues that these individuals have to face since the traditional times is the problem of racism because of the color of their skin and also because of the fact of their ethnicity (Auld & Djabibba, 2015 p-69). Furthermore, it was also seen until the passing of the Anti-Discrimination Legislation they had to various kinds of discrimination and stereotyping which adversely affected the prospects of their growth in a significant manner (Auld & Djabibba, 2015 p-69). The contemporary media have also added in a significant manner towards the discrimination which these people have faced since the traditional times as it was seen that the various forms of media depicted them as buffoons and also as the people who lack not only imagination but also intelligence as well.


One of the most basic psychosocial needs of these people is the access to adequate health facilities which the nation of Australia has failed to provide them since the traditional times (Altman, Bek & Arthur, 2018 p-45). In addition to this, it is also seen that the other psychosocial needs of these people like adequate education, job facilities, social support from the mainland community of the nation of Australia, sexual needs, emotional needs and others also have not been provided to them in the best possible manner by the national government of Australia (Altman, Bek & Arthur, 2018 p-45). Many experts are of the viewpoint that safety or the security is another basic psychosocial need of these people which have been deprived to them since the ancient times (Campbell et al., 2017 p-560). In this particular context it is significant to note that these individuals have not only been the victims of various kinds of harsh treatments but at the same time they have been deprived of their native land and forced to relocate to various different locations so that they would be able to assimilate with the national culture of the nation (Campbell et al., 2017 p-560). In addition to these, the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs also states that the individuals would be able to attain the stage of self actualization only and only if all their basis needs are being fulfilled in the best possible (Taylor, Thompson & McDermott, 2016 p-369). Thus, the effective fulfillment of these needs are very important and it is generally seen as one of the major factors for the lack of development that these people have been able to achieve over the years.

Role of Community Services for Torres Strait Islanders

There are various obstacles which inhibit the mainland community as well as the national government of Australia to provide the kinds of facilities that are normally being provided to the other citizens of the nation. One of the major factors which inhibit this particular process is the skeptical nature of these people towards the achievements of the people of Australia especially the ones made in the field of medicine and health care (Morris & Burgess, 2018 p-9). It is significant to note that these people have been used to various kinds of traditional treatment measures and this particular fact deters them in a significant manner to take the help of the medical advancements of the concerned nation. Another important factor which is involved in the process is the factor of cultural differences between the two communities (Parker & Milroy, 2014 p-31). For example, it is seen that the people of this particular community are very conservative in nature and this particular fact is being manifested in the lifestyle which they normally follow. The lack of education which these have is another factor that deters them from taking the help that the national government lately has been trying to provide to them (Parker & Milroy, 2014 p-31). The lack of cultural competency of the health and social care about the culture of these individuals is another factor which contributes in a significant towards this particular process (Morris & Burgess, 2018 p-9). Furthermore, these individuals have been used to various kinds of racism and discrimination since the traditional times and this is generally considered to be one of the major which these individuals face during the taking of the various kinds of helps that is being provided to them (Parker & Milroy, 2014 p-31).

There are various opportunities that the health and social care provider can utilize for the process of providing diverse kinds of facilities to these individuals. One of the most basic opportunities that they can utilize is the factor of cultural competency (Townsend et al., 2018 p-270). It is significant to note that if the health and social care providers develop an effective as well as working knowledge of the culture of these individuals then they would be able to provide help to them in the most effective manner. Furthermore, these help providers can at the same time take the help of the various legislations of the national government like the Anti-Discrimination Act, Equality Act and others to remove the discrimination which they face and thus help them to integrate into the national culture of the nation (Townsend et al., 2018 p-270). In addition to these, providing the right kind of education is also likely to help these individuals to overcome the skepticism which they have towards the people of the mainland and at the same time would help them to feel more confident towards the help offered by them (Altman & Taylor, 2018 p-56). Moreover, the use of the various techniques of cross cultural communication is also likely to help them in a significant manner to interact as well as take the help of the aids and the other benefits which are being offered to them by the national government of the nation (Altman & Taylor, 2018 p-56).

Cultural Practices of Torres Strait Islanders

To conclude, in the present times it is seen that diversity has become an important part of the modern society. Thus, within the framework of the present day society it is seen that there are various kinds of cultural groups with their own cultural beliefs as well as values. Furthermore, the effectiveness of a particular society depends on the extent to which it is being able to integrate the different entities which form an important part of their society in the best possible manner. However, at sometimes it is seen that there are some cultural and ethnic groups which are not only marginalized but at the same time are not being provided to the access to the kind of benefits which the other groups have access to. One of the most important examples of this particular fact is the cultural group of “Torres Strait Islanders” in the nation of Australia. It is significant to note that even though these people have formed an integral part of the nation for a very long time yet they have been subjected to racism and various others kinds of harsh treatment and this in turn had impeded the growth of the community in a significant manner.

References

Altman, J., & Taylor, J. (2018). The 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: Findings and Future Prospects. Canberra, ACT: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Research School of Social Sciences, College of Arts & Social Sciences, The Australian National University.

Altman, J., Bek, H. J., & Arthur, B. W. (2018). Indigenous participation in commercial fisheries in Torres Strait: A preliminary discussion. Canberra, ACT: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), Research School of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University.

Armstrong, G., Ironfield, N., Kelly, C. M., Dart, K., Arabena, K., Bond, K., & Jorm, A. F. (2017). Re-development of mental health first aid guidelines for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are engaging in non-suicidal self-injury. BMC psychiatry, 17(1), 300.

Auld, G., & Djabibba, L. (2015). Using digital technologies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Teaching and digital technologies: Big issues and critical questions, 57-70.

Campbell, S., Roux, N., Preece, C., Rafter, E., Davis, B., Mein, J., ... & Chamberlain, C. (2017). Paths to improving care of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women following gestational diabetes. Primary health care research & development, 18(6), 549-562.

Carey, T. A., Dudgeon, P., Hammond, S. W., Hirvonen, T., Kyrios, M., Roufeil, L., & Smith, P. (2017). The Australian Psychological Society's Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Australian Psychologist, 52(4), 261-267.

Political Support for Torres Strait Islanders

Couzos, S., & Thiele, D. D. (2016). Aboriginal peoples participation in their health care: A patient right and an obligation for health care providers. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 40, 6.

Funston, L., & Herring, S. (2016). When will the stolen generations end?: A qualitative critical exploration of contemporary'child protection'practices in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand, 7(1), 51.

Gibson-Helm, M. E., Rumbold, A. R., Teede, H. J., Ranasinha, S., Bailie, R. S., & Boyle, J. A. (2016). Improving the provision of pregnancy care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: a continuous quality improvement initiative. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 16(1), 118.

Graham, S., Harrod, M. E., Iversen, J., & Hocking, J. S. (2016). Prevalence of hepatitis C among Australian aboriginal and torres strait Islander people: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hepatitis monthly, 16(7).

Hill, K., Ward, P., Grace, B. S., & Gleadle, J. (2017). Social disparities in the prevalence of diabetes in Australia and in the development of end stage renal disease due to diabetes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia and Maori and Pacific Islanders in New Zealand. BMC public health, 17(1), 802.

Markwick, A., Ansari, Z., Sullivan, M., & McNeil, J. (2014). Social determinants and lifestyle risk factors only partially explain the higher prevalence of food insecurity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian state of Victoria: a cross-sectional study. BMC public health, 14(1), 598.

McNamara, B. J., Banks, E., Gubhaju, L., Williamson, A., Joshy, G., Raphael, B., & Eades, S. J. (2014). Measuring psychological distress in older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Australians: a comparison of the K?10 and K?5. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 38(6), 567-573.

Morris, A., & Burgess, C. (2018). The intellectual quality and inclusivity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in the NSW Stage 5 History syllabus. Curriculum Perspectives, 1-10.

Parker, R., & Milroy, H. (2014). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health: an overview. Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice. 2nd ed. Canberra: Department of The Prime Minister and Cabinet, 25-38.

Price, K. (2015). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: An introduction for the teaching profession. Cambridge University Press.

Taylor, S., Thompson, F., & McDermott, R. (2016). Barriers to insulin treatment among Australian Torres Strait Islanders with poorly controlled diabetes. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 24(6), 363-370.

Townsend, C., White, P., Cullen, J., Wright, C. J., & Zeeman, H. (2018). Making every Australian count: challenges for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the equal inclusion of homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with neurocognitive disability. Australian Health Review, 42(2), 227-229.

Valery, P. C., Bernardes, C. M., Beesley, V., Hawkes, A. L., Baade, P., & Garvey, G. (2017). Unmet supportive care needs of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with cancer: a prospective, longitudinal study. Supportive Care in Cancer, 25(3), 869-877.

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