Position paper

Cultural safety through responsive health practice: policy position statement

Health systems Indigenous health Racism Cultural awareness Australia

It is well recognised that people who live or work within a culture other than their own need to recognise that their own beliefs and behaviours (i.e. 'culture') will have an impact upon their treatment and care of, or service provision to, their clientele. Cultural safety represents a key philosophical shift from providing a service regardless of difference to providing care that takes account of peoples’ unique needs. It requires all people to undertake an ongoing process of self‐reflection and cultural self‐ awareness and an acknowledgement of how these impact on interactions and service delivery.

Key findings:

  • Cultural safety describes a state, where people are enabled and feel they can access health care that suits their needs, are able to challenge personal or institutional racism (when they experience it), establish trust in services, and expect effective, quality care.
  • Applying cultural safety to transform practice requires understanding the centrality of culture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and nations; and respect for the diverse cultures, languages, practices and beliefs across Australia.
  • It is important to recognise that culture is expressed at both group and individual levels. It is dynamic rather than static and the complex beliefs and behaviours of cultural groups are not held or expressed uniformly by all members of those groups.
Publication Details
Publication Year: