Working for Change: Advocacy in the Refugee Sector

Community development evening presentation held on 15 February 2016

Click below to watch the recordings.

Advocacy is often a key element to working within the human and social services sector. In the case of the refugee and asylum seeker context in Australia, advocacy is a cornerstone to best practice. Disseminating information, undertaking processes of negotiation and monitoring to promote equity and access in attitudes, service provision and policy for and with people from refugee background and asylum seekers are all important aspects of advocacy. We may be engaged in such rights based activities on an individual or community level, or working to influence government, other decision makers or wider society.

This presentation provided the insights and experience of two key advocates within the Australian refugee sector. Research and Policy Manager of the Victoria Foundation for Survivors of Torture; Mr Josef Szwarc (right) and Community Coordinator of the NSW Service for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS); Ms Jasmina Bajraktarevic-Hayward discussed their experiences and contribution to social and political change with people from refugee backgrounds and asylum seekers. The speakers provided examples and lessons learned from past and present advocacy initiatives.


Speakers – Josef Szwarc and Jasmina Bajraktarevic-Hayward

Josef Szwarc is Research and Policy Manager of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, which provides a range of services to advance the health and wellbeing of people from refugee backgrounds who have survived torture and other traumatic events. He has worked in a variety of social and legal policy positions in governmental and civil society agencies in Australia and the UK, including research and advocacy at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International.

Jasmina Bajraktarevic-Hayward (right) is a Social Worker (Hon 1, University Medal) and the Community Services Coordinator at STARTTS. Her involvement in the refugee field dates back to 1991, when she became involved in work with Bosnian refugees in Croatia through a local implementing partner of the UNHCR. Jasmina’s knowledge and expertise ranges from individual trauma counselling, through to group work and community development, to management and staff supervision. She is a highly experienced presenter and trainer on refugee issues, particularly in the field of community development.

Please phone (02) 9794 1900 if you have any questions.