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Funding for problem gambling in CALD communities

12 November 20190 comments

The Victorian Government has recently announced funding for a series of programs to tackle problem gambling across the state with many focused on refugee and migrant communities.

Gaming and liquor regulation minister Marlene Kairouz, announced the funding for the 14 new projects at a Gambling Harm Awareness Week workshop in Bendigo.

The recipients include six regional-based organisations, eight that work with refugee and migrant communities, and one Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

Collectively, they will share close to $2 million to deliver their projects over 2019–2021.

The funding is being channelled through the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s Prevention Partnerships Program.

The program has been operating since 2014, funding diverse organisations to run projects to prevent and reduce gambling harm in local communities and among at-risk groups.

The projects help build social connection and resilience, break down the stigma associated with gambling harm and encourage people affected to seek support.

Minister Kariouz said: “These grants will help create positive change in local communities by providing support and advice to individuals who are vulnerable to gambling harm”.

One of the programs aims to help refugee communities in Bendigo tackle problem gambling.

The city is home to more than 2500 Karen community members, as well as many people who have fled Afghanistan and South Sudan.

Kaye Graves, cultural diversity team leader at Bendigo Community Health Services, says that the city’s refugee communities have brought strength, warmth and culture, enriching the community.

But she says that gambling harm is occurring within these communities, and that people are not accessing Gambler’s Help services and that the risk of harm is compounded by the stress and complex emotions involved in humanitarian settlement.

“Due to no fault of their own, they’ve lived a life of deprivation. For some people, it’s the first time they’ll handle money, it’s the first time they’ll see an iPad, the first time the kids get a soccer uniform on, and the first time they see sponsorship that supports soccer,” Kaye said.

With local refugee communities also wanting to understand why family and friends are gambling and what they can do about it, Kaye and her team will work with them on a project to identify what gambling issues look like.

They will co-design resources in Karen and Dari and increase the capacity of Gambler’s Help services to support refugee communities.

“We wanted to develop a targeted, tailored, bottom-up approach, working with community,” Kaye said.

A key purpose of the Prevention Partnerships Program is to test new ideas and build evidence for effective practice in preventing gambling harm.

It is also aimed at building replicable models that can be used in other settings.

Another aim is to inserting awareness-raising activities within refugee settlement programs and embed knowledge and practice in mainstream organisations that interact with refugee communities, such as employment agencies, health service providers, mental health services, youth services, and educational settings.