Medical Board releases new guidelines for practitioners and students on blood-borne viruses

Medical Board of Australia, 23 Jun 2020

The Medical Board of Australia is encouraging practitioners and students to review the new Guidelines for registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses before they take effect on 6 July 2020.

The Board’s guidelines are for practitioners and students who perform exposure-prone procedures and registered health practitioners who are treating registered health practitioners or students living with a blood-borne virus who perform exposure-prone procedures.

 

 

 

SIN Press release Re: Introduction of Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offenses) Bill 2020

SIN 18/06/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Re: Introduction of Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offenses) Bill 2020

Today, Tammy Franks, MLC, will be speaking to a new bill that seeks to remove sex work from the SA criminal code. South Australia retains some of the most punitive and archaic sex industry laws in the country. This will be the fourteenth attempt at sex industry law reform in the state with a bill to decriminalise the industry being defeated by a narrow margin in the House of Assembly in November of 2019.

South Australia’s only completely peer based sex worker support organization, SIN, applauds attempts to decriminalise the industry. “Decriminalisation has been evidenced as the best legal framework for ALL sex workers in regard to health and safety”, says Kat Morrison, SIN General Manager. “Sex Industry law reform is long overdue is South Australia. What was once a progressive state that lead the way in inclusive and contemporary law reform now lags embarrassingly behind the times”.

Consensual commercial sexual services, as well as many activities and issues surrounding these transactions, are criminalised within the Summary Offenses Act, 1953 and the Criminal Consolidation Act, 1935. This bill seeks to repeal the inclusion of sex work in these Acts.

Sexual and reproductive health a COVID-19 priority (Statement)

Burnet Institute, 28 May, 2020

Burnet Institute is a member of a consortium of Australian-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academic institutes concerned about the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls globally.

The International Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Consortium, which includes Save the Children, Family Planning NSW, CARE Australia, The Nossal Institute for Global Health, and Médecins Sans Frontières Australia, is calling on the Australian Government to prioritise the needs of women and girls in its response to COVID-19.

Collectively, the consortium works across 160 countries to champion universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It’s concerned that women and girls across the globe are struggling to access critical sexual and reproductive health care, citing evidence that COVID-19 lockdowns are likely to cause millions of unplanned pregnancies.

In the Pacific, travel to rural and remote areas have been curtailed, and physical distancing requirements have forced the cancellation of most group training on sexual and reproductive rights.

A recent UNFPA report determined that a six-month lockdown could mean 47 million women and girls globally cannot access contraception, and seven million will become pregnant.

The consortium has issued a joint statement setting out priorities to ensure Australia’s global response to COVID-19 meets the critical needs of all women and girls, including:

  • Recognise and respond to the gendered impacts of the pandemic, and the increased risk to women and girls from gender-based violence and other harmful practices
  • Improve the supply of contraceptives and menstrual health products which are being impacted by the strain and disruption on global supply chains
  • Increase flexibility in delivering sexual and reproductive health services during lockdown using innovative health delivery models such as task-sharing, tele-health and pharmacy distribution
  • Support sexual and reproductive health workers and clinics to continue delivering services sagely with access to personal protective equipment as well as training on how to refer, test or diagnose COVID-19.

 

SHINE SA media release: INTERNATIONAL SEX WORKERS DAY

SHINE SA, Posted on 

International Sex Workers Day on June 2 provides an opportunity for us to support the rights of sex workers in South Australia and advocate for the decriminalisation of sex work.

Sex work is criminalised in South Australia which means that those engaging in relevant sex work activities can be prosecuted for criminal offences. SIN, SIDAC (Sex Industry Decriminalisation Action Committee) and Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) advocate for decriminalisation which is seen as a best practice model by sex workers and supportive community-based organisations.

The decriminalisation of sex work would improve the safety, sexual health, emotional wellbeing and financial security of sex workers. Whilst sex workers may be more vulnerable to assault and exploitation, research shows this vulnerability is impacted by the policing, stigma and lack of labor rights which current sex work laws encourage.[1]

In a recent statement SIDAC said:

“Sex work will always exist, but is up to us to determine and guarantee, the conditions and safety of those involved. South Australia must decriminalise the industry in the best interests of both sex workers and the broader community.”

On this International Sex Workers Day we continue to support the decriminalisation of sex work in South Australia and its potential for positive impacts on the human rights of sex workers and the health of sex workers and the general public.

 

NOTES: [1] Platt, L., Grenfell, P., Meiksin, R., Elmes, J., Sherman, S. G., Sanders, T., Mwangi, P., & Crago, A. L. (2018). Associations between sex work laws and sex workers’ health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative and qualitative studies. PLoS medicine15(12), e1002680. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002680Bottom of Form

 

Situational Report: Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Australia

Marie Stopes Australia, Updated 17 April 2020

Situational Report: Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Australia – A request for collaboration and action to maintain contraceptive and abortion care throughout the SARS-COV-2 / COVID-19 pandemic

Executive Summary

We are in a context of increased risk of unplanned pregnancy, reproductive coercion, sexually transmitted infections, lack of pregnancy options and a multitude of barriers to healthcare. Access to contraception and abortion throughout the pandemic will mitigate broader public health risks for years to come. 
.
At Marie Stopes Australia, during the pandemic we have had to:

 Cancel surgical abortion care lists- meaning women and pregnant people have had to continue with their pregnancies or are likely to seek a termination at a later gestation
 Reduce our national gestational limit for surgical abortion to 22 weeks
 Face increased costs in the provision of regional healthcare, having no other option than to charter private flights for clinical staff
 Continuously scramble for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
 Reduce in-clinic list capacity to enable physical distancing
 Reduce contraceptive services in order to prioritise abortion access
 Reduce financial support for clients experiencing financial hardship
 Face increased risk of staff fatigue and burn out
 Evolve models of care in an effort to maintain access to care. To address this situation, we need to review legislation and policy, evolve models of care, maintain people’s rights to access care and make healthcare more affordable.

Key recommendations at this point in the pandemic include:
 All Governments, health and hospital services, and health clinics must consider abortion an essential service with Category 1 classification
 Provide access to medical abortion via telehealth for people living in South Australia
 Increase medical abortion provision to 70 days/10 weeks gestation, supported by the  Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
 All accredited sexual and reproductive healthcare providers should have access to the National Medical Stockpile for PPE
 Intrastate travel support is needed for clinical staff in order to maintain surgical abortion provision in regional and remote clinics
 Do not criminalise women and pregnant people who attempt unsafe abortion

[This report contains] further detail on these points and a longer list of recommendations that Australia will need to consider in o order to maintain sexual and reproductive health
rights throughout the pandemic.

 

 

COVID-19: pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding – statements & guidance

Various sources, March 2020