Cultural diversity, discrimination and client rights
As well as being important for your own professional development, an appreciation of cultural differences is important from the point of view of clients/customers and their rights. Dealing with cultural diversity is especially important if your practicum is in the human services institutions such as social security, hospitals or schools. In these institutions people from a wide range of backgrounds are dependent on you and your professional skills. It might be a good idea to refresh your memory on the Australian Government's Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society that sets out the responsibilities of staff in this context.
The handling of cultural or gender differences can result in discriminatory practice. Thus it is important for professionals to respond to cultural differences in terms of individuals’ rights to be treated fairly and in an unbiased way.
In Australia, legislation protects people against discrimination because of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or race. It is important that you understand and comply with this legislation as part of your preparation for the practicum. These rights are embodied to some extent in Equal Opportunity (EO) legislation, and are covered more fully in Module 5.2.