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.

Interpreter trial ensures hospitals are no longer places where Aboriginal people ‘go to die’

ABC News, ABC Kimberley

By Matt Bamford,  

Many Aboriginal people feel like hospital is a place where they “go to die” but a groundbreaking trial is underway to change that.

Interpreters have been introduced at hospitals in Western Australia’s far north to improve patients’ relationships with medical staff.

Speaking between three and nine languages each, the 22 interpreters are being stationed at five hospitals between Broome and Kununurra in a six-month State Government partnership with Aboriginal Interpreting WA.

‘People are scared’: the fight against a deadly virus no one has heard of

Guardian Australia, Tue 24 Apr 2018 

An Aboriginal woman – we’ll call her B – is sitting in a dry creek bed outside her community and telling the world “this is a very bad disease. But we have to talk in a way not to shame people. Not telling them straight out. Telling them gently and quietly.”

B is talking about a sickness that has killed her family member and is a potential tragedy facing Aboriginal communities in central Australia, who have the world’s highest rates of a fatal, human immune virus for which there is no current cure, no treatment and no coordinated public health response.

Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusion and from mother to child by breastfeeding. It can cause a rapidly fatal form of leukaemia. Some people die within weeks of diagnosis. HTLV-1 also causes inflammation of the spinal cord leading to paralysis, severe lung disease known as bronchiectasis and other inflammatory disease.

In five communities around Alice Springs, more than 45% of adults tested have the virus, a rate thousands of times higher than for non-Indigenous Australians.

Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea recently detected in Australia: media release

Professor Brendan Murphy, Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health 

17 April 2018

Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea have been recently detected in Australia. One case was diagnosed in Western Australia and a second case diagnosed in Queensland. 

Multi-drug resistant strains can be difficult to treat and it is important to prevent further spread.

Evidence suggests that one of the Australian cases acquired their infection in Southeast Asia.

The situation is being closely monitored by public health authorities.

New sexual health videos for international students

WA Department of Health, 2018

The WA Department of Health has launched its 2018 “Be Safe. Stay Well” sexual health campaign for international students. The four short videos, available on the Healthy WA website were developed in consultation with international students and aim to give students from across the world a good understanding of sexual health topics and the health care system in WA.

Video – Health service costs

Read the video transcript – Health service costs

Video – Discussing sexually transmitted infections

Read the video transcript – Discussing sexually transmitted infections

Video – Sex and the law

Read the video transcript – Sex and the law

Video – Importance of safe sex

Read the video transcript – Importance of safe sex

Syphilis jumps to WA: doctors say ‘complacent’ safe sex attitudes to blame

ABC News, 17/03/2018

Some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Western Australia, with Aboriginal communities in the north hit particularly hard by a syphilis outbreak.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said Aboriginal people in the north had been failed.

“It’s really sad that we’ve actually had and outbreak of syphilis that started in north Queensland that’s gone right across the north of Australia, through the Northern Territory and into the Kimberley through our Aboriginal populations,” Dr Khorshid said.

“In this day and age, in a medical system that’s had a cure for that condition for many decades, the fact we are still seeing an outbreak of such an easily treated infectious disease really says a lot about our failure as a community to deal with the health issues in our Aboriginal communities.”