Where can I find help in my language or for my cultural background?
There are many culturally supportive services in Victoria. There is also information, interpreters and support for people who speak a language other than English. Using family and friends, and is often easier, however some medical terms may not be accurately interpreted. It is important that you are supported to access and understand your medical care.
This directory of services indicates if a service includes culturally responsive help and also offers languages other than English.
Finding translated health information
Health Translations is a website with health information in more than 100 languages. It links to multilingual resources published by government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals and community health and welfare organisations. It checks that the content is credible and accurate. It‘s a Victorian Government initiative and is run by the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health.
Using a phone interpreter
For 24/7 telephone interpreting service, call TIS on 131 450. TIS will then call the service you need.
In an emergency, always call 000 directly to contact ambulance, police or fire services. The 000 service will call TIS and connect you with an interpreter.
Getting help for people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum
Some organisations have medical clinics specifically for people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum. They offer a range of services, like a GP, including referrals. Examples include the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub.
The Refugee Health Program works in 17 local government areas of Victoria. (Other local government areas also provide services for refugees.) The program is delivered by community health services. Search for local community health services using the Victorian Government’s Community Health Directory.
Getting documents translated
The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs offers a free service that lets permanent residents and some visa holders get 10 documents translated into English.
For other options for document translation, contact National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
Australian Government Department of Home Affairs
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub
Refugee and asylum seeker health
Refugees Health Guide
National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI)
This information is general guidance and may not be applicable to your specific circumstances. For personal advice, please contact a medical or legal practitioner or a spiritual, cultural or community leader.
This content was written for people in Victoria, Australia. Laws and practices differ in other states, territories and countries.