The St Vincent de Paul Society assists all refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.

Many countries in the world do not enjoy the peace and democracy of Australia. This can often lead to terrible conflict and warfare, and persecution of minority groups in much of the world. People may be forced from their homes and jobs, kidnapped and subjected to torture, or ostracised because of their race or religion. They may fear for their own and their children's lives. This forces many millions of people around the world to migrate out of their home countries. A small number of these people use their human right under the Refugee Convention to come to Australia and seek asylum here. We are fortunate enough to be a wealthy country, with the ability to welcome many of the people who seek safety here, and in turn we benefit enormously from their skills, perspectives and experiences.

What Vinnies does

The St Vincent de Paul Society has a long history of helping migrants and refugees. We do this both by providing services to asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, and by advocating to government on their behalf. Our services include providing financial and information support to migrants and refugees, for example through home visitation, food and financial help, visits to detention centres, and homework centres. There are also dedicated Vinnies migrant and refugee centres and committees in some states, which coordinate these activities and also offer information services.

Our advocacy is led by the National Office, and the Vincentian Refugee Network.  Advocacy includes spreading the true stories of migrants and refugees, writing submissions to various bodies, media work, and some events. Our main areas of concern are the negative outcomes of detention centres, which we absolutely oppose, and inadequate financial support for refugees and asylum seekers living in the community. For more information read our Refugee Policy and our latest media releases. You may also wish to read the life stories of asylum seekers and refugees who have been assisted by Vinnies.

In this video the Society’s National Council CEO Dr John Falzon addresses a large contingent of asylum seeker and refugee rights supporters at a Palm Sunday rally in Canberra on 9 April, 2017. He told the group it was time to resist the politics of cruelty that kept people locked up at detention centres, and replace it with the politics of love.

Other rallies like it took place across major capital cities and in some regional towns on the same day.

Media releases, briefing notes, statements and other news

The Society's National Council office regularly calls on the federal government to end the detention of asylum seekers and refugees at Nauru and on Manus Island, and bring them to Australia.

The following media releases, briefing notes and statements were issued:

2017

2016

Vinnies welcomed the Australia Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) report, The Forgotten Children, which was made public in February 2015 following the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. We support the Commission's recommendations that all children and families in detention in Australia and Nauru be released into the community immediately; for all Christmas Island detention facilities to be closed; and for a Royal Commission to examine the long term impacts on the physical and mental health of children immigration detention.

What can you do?

  • Support our migrant and refugee services by donating funds, or supporting our shops.
  • Volunteer your time by becoming an English tutor for students in special after school programs.
  • Contact the main Vinnies office in your state or territory to find out more about how you can help out.
  • Tell your story. Are you a refugee who has been helped by Vinnies?  Are you a Vinnies volunteer on the ground helping those who need it the most? We would love to hear from you. Contact the National Council office.

Submissions

2017

2015

2014

2012-2013