New arrivals at greater risk of drowning
A new report shows a quarter of all drownings last year involved people who were born overseas.
Life Saving Victoria’s annual drowning report has identified several groups of people that require swimming and water safety education.
Nigel Taylor, Life Saving Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer, said he was concerned that of the 39 drowning deaths over the last year, nine were born overseas.
This is a 55 per cent increase in the average, which was six between 2004 and 2014.
Many migrants and refugees in Australia may have never had the opportunity to learn to swim, or are unaware of the country’s unique water conditions.
While there are swimming programs for both children and adult migrants, increased education is a necessary step in decreasing both fatal and non-fatal drowning.
“Life Saving Victoria continues to work closely with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to provide water safety education but more is needed following deaths of nine people in 2014-2015,” said Mr Taylor.
People in regional areas were almost twice as likely to drown as people in cities, with 12 people drowning in inland waterways.
“Identifying the most vulnerable groups and trends helps us tackle the issue. This latest Victorian Drowning Report outlines the emerging trends in fatal and non-fatal drowning to identify areas for further development,” said Mr Taylor.
From 2009-2014 there was a 36 per cent increase in non-fatal drowning rate of children aged 5-14 years, a percentage Mr Taylor wants to lower through providing education to families from all walks of life.
“The Lifesaving in Schools initiative aims to provide innovative solutions to ensure every Victorian child has the opportunity to learn vital swimming and water safety skills regardless of location, physical capability, cultural background and socio-economic circumstances.
The in-depth analysis provides government, industry, practitioners and the community with valuable tools to create targeted drowning prevention strategies.
AMES Australia Staff Writer