Findings and recommendations about how we can minimise COVID-19’s impact on Victorians experiencing disadvantage.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying isolation restrictions have had an unequal social, health and economic impact on people facing disadvantage.

Given the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s (BSL) unique role in working with people and communities across the life spectrum – children and their families, young people, as well as adults and older people, including those with a disability and people from multicultural backgrounds – we sought to understand and unpack how a pandemic can further exacerbate financial and social exclusion. Amplifying their voices is our contribution to the public debate.

This insight series and its recommendations aim to inform future policy-making, community service sector delivery as well as the public debate whilst illuminating:

  • How COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting disadvantaged communities;
  • Ways that communities are utilising their strengths and/or how government could further harness their assets; and
  • Insights we didn’t expect as well as verification of themes already canvassed in the media.

COVID-19 Listening Tour

As part of our COVID-19 Listening Tour, we conducted consultations with 300 of our service delivery staff to learn from them and program participants about the impacts the pandemic has had. We sought to hear both the negative impacts as well as the positive ways in which communities harnessed their strengths and resilience. We feature the direct voices of the people who receive BSL services who, through their first-hand accounts, illustrate the key themes. We conclude each chapter with policy, program and/or practice recommendations to address the issues raised, as well as highlight how communities can be better supported in the recovery.

Voices from the Frontline Report

The full report will be available shortly as well as individual chapters.

Crosscutting themes:

This chapter details the five main findings across all demographic communities.

Six demographic-specific reports:

  • Employment and Economic security
  • Families and Homeschooling
  • Young People
  • Multicultural Communities
  • People with a Disability
  • Older People and Aged care.

For further information about these reports, please contact Ms Hutch Hussein, Senior Manager, COVID-19 Policy & Program Response Taskforce, via hutchhussein@bsl.org.au .

"The point is not that everybody is equally vulnerable. This crisis is not the great leveller some claim – poor people will become poorer, those with insecure work will become less secure, those already sick will suffer most. Like every crisis, the virus simply makes visible what was already true."

Sean Kelly, The Age, 8 April 2020