University Of Tasmania

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Refugees: Sitting at the Nexus of Law Enforcement and Public Health

posted on 2023-05-22, 19:19 authored by Egan-Vine, P, Isabelle Bartkowiak-TheronIsabelle Bartkowiak-Theron, Roberta JulianRoberta Julian
Few groups struggle more, at the intersection of law enforcement and public health, than refugees. With a significant increase internationally in numbers of refugees over recent years, debates have focused on their rights to safety and access to medical services. These discussions, while often being very heated, fail to address the mental health and social justice issues that people with refugee background face when encountering law enforcement matters, whether during their journey or after their resettlement. We will argue that significant fear of police generally impacts significantly on their ability to seek help from police or to access public health services. Over time, when unaddressed, these issues can create an avalanche of difficulties. We argue that, regardless of which country is hosting those forced to flee their country of origin, the responsibility to protect and promote the health lies in de-stigmatised and more considered responses by the whole government. So far most responses have failed to abide by the International health regulations to which most countries are signatories.


Publication title

Law Enforcement and Public Health: Partners for Community Safety and Wellbeing


I Bartkowiak-Theron, J Clover, D Martin, RF Southby and N Crofts






School of Social Sciences


Springer Nature Switzerland AG

Place of publication




Rights statement

Copyright Springer Nature Switzerland AG

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Determinants of health; Law enforcement