Community-based interventions for building social inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia: A systematic review

Di Mahoney, Samantha Siyambalapitiya


As refugee and asylum seeker numbers increase in Australia, their effective integration into society is facilitated by inclusion in social, economic and community life. This systematic review of the literature explored community-based programs that contribute to inclusion and social participation of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Four scholarly databases were searched for articles published between 2007 and 2017 resulting in five articles which met inclusion criteria. Although the studies identified were of variable quality, the findings suggest a number of factors that facilitate program effectiveness. These included where: (a) English language and communications skills were considered; (b) programs built on refugees’ own skills and experience prior to resettlement; (c) volunteers and mentors were involved; and (d) participants engaged in diverse projects that enabled new connections. The review highlights the paucity of well-researched interventions that build social inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Emerging evidence suggests that community-based programs can positively increase social inclusion and connectedness amongst refugees and asylum seekers. Additional well-designed programs and evaluation of such programs are needed to better understand and identify effective interventions targeting social inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers.

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