Table 1

Comparing and contrasting Cultural Safety and cultural competence 40

Cultural SafetyCultural competence
  • Requires practitioners to use critical self-reflection on their own: beliefs and values, white privilege, biases, assumptions, stereotypes and power imbalances.

  • Recognises that sociocultural difference manifests, in part, as a power imbalance between different ethnicities.

  • Recognises the dynamics of institutional racism: that cultural differences, while centrally important to many Indigenous peoples and other ethnic minorities, are not recognised as ‘ordinary’ by the institutions and therefore not often properly provided for.

  • Cultural Safety recognises that it is not just that services need to be culturally appropriate but also if services are delivered inadequately, then the delivery method of those services can become a negative determinant of health outcomes.

  • Requires care to be determined by the recipient of care.

  • A broad concept with various definitions based on a number of frameworks.

  • Originally defined by Cross et al in 1989 as: ‘A set of congruent behaviours attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals to work effectively in cross cultural situations’.

  • Limited by focusing on mastery of knowledge, skills attitudes by inferring it is a static outcome that can be checked off some list.

  • Relies on recognition of social and cultural influences and creating interventions that take these into account.

  • Cultural competence has potential to confuse professionals with complex jargon. Multiple terms are often used interchangeably: cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, cultural security and cultural humility