Preventing sexual violence against young women from African backgrounds

Prof. Donna Chung, Prof. Colleen Fisher, Dr. Carole Zufferey & Dr. Ravi K Thiara
Australian Institute of Criminology
Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice No. 540, June 2018

This study explored how young women from African refugee and migrant backgrounds understand and experience sexual coercion and violence.

Data was gathered from young women from African backgrounds and a wide range of agencies in two Australian states, Western Australia and South Australia, to better understand the extent of their awareness of and concern about sexual coercion and assault and document how agencies respond to these issues.

The paper concludes it is necessary to improve policy, practice, professional development and training to better respond to the sexual violence experienced by these young women, and raise awareness of the issue in their communities in a culturally sensitive way.

Exploring HIV risks, testing and prevention among sub-Saharan African community members in Australia

International Journal for Equity in Health, 2018, 17:62

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0772-6

Abstract

Background

Significant health disparities persist regarding new and late HIV diagnoses among sub-Saharan African (SSA) communities in Australia. Personal/cultural beliefs and practices influence HIV (risk, prevention, testing) within Australia and during visits to home countries.

Method

A community forum was conducted involving 23 male and female adult African community workers, members and leaders, and health workers; facilitated by cultural workers and an experienced clinician/researcher. The forum comprised small/large group discussions regarding HIV risk/prevention (responses transcribed verbatim; utilising thematic analysis).

Results

Stigma, denial, social norms, tradition and culture permeated perceptions/beliefs regarding HIV testing, prevention and transmission among African Australians, particularly regarding return travel to home countries.

Conclusions

International travel as a risk factor for HIV acquisition requires further examination, as does the role of the doctor in HIV testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Further assessment of PrEP as an appropriate/feasible intervention is needed, with careful attention regarding negative community perceptions and potential impacts.

New study suggests risk of birth defects in babies born to women on HIV medicine dolutegravir

European Medicines Agency, 18/05/2018

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is evaluating preliminary results from a study which found 4 cases of birth defects such as spina bifida (malformed spinal cord) in babies born to mothers who became pregnant while taking dolutegravir. While EMA is assessing the new evidence it has issued the following precautionary advice:

  • Dolutegravir HIV medicines should not be prescribed to women seeking to become pregnant.
  • Women who can become pregnant should use effective contraception while taking dolutegravir medicines.

The study, which looked at babies born to 11,558 HIV-infected women in Botswana, showed that 0.9% of babies (4 of 426) whose mothers became pregnant while taking dolutegravir had a neural tube defect, compared with 0.1% of babies (14 of 11,173) whose mothers took other HIV medicines. Final results are expected in about a year.

Women who have been prescribed dolutegravir should not stop taking their medicine without first consulting their doctor.

EMA will update the recommendations as necessary when it concludes its assessment.

International Best Practice Guide to Equality on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Outright, April 2018

Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people. This guide highlights promising progress from some countries in early or interim stages of introducing measures which safeguard sexual and gender minorities from harm.

It is intended to offer tools and ideas which can support states considering how to ensure equality for sexual and gender minorities. As there is no one way to ensure equality, this guide explores different countries that have initiated different solutions suitable to their national contexts.

Table of Contents:

Introduction
Reforming Laws and Policies
Constitutional Protections
Case Study: Fiji
Law Reform
Case Study: Botswana
Improving Health Outcomes
Case Study: Jamaica
National Leadership Statements
Changing Attitudes
Case Study: Pakistan
Legislation Inspiring Policy Reform
Case Study: Belize
Holistic Reforms
Case Study: Malta
Conclusions

Download report International Best Practice Guide to Equality on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

First criminal prosecution of female genital mutilation in Queensland goes to trial today

ABC News, 21/05/18

The first couple to be prosecuted on female genital mutilation charges in Queensland have pleaded not guilty to allegedly taking two girls aged nine and 12 to Africa to undergo the procedure.

The African man and woman—who cannot be named for legal reasons—were charged in 2015 on two counts each of removing a child from the state for female genital mutilation.

Their case is being heard today at a Beenleigh sitting of the District Court.

Sex education gap haunts Australia’s international students

SBS News, March 2nd, 2018

High numbers of international students with unwanted pregnancies is prompting questions about whether more could be done to better prepare those with little sexual health knowledge for life in Australia.

Marie Stopes Australia, a national provider of sexual and reproductive health services, estimated 4000 international students seek abortions across the country each year.