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ID: 781

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Practice

Topics: Harm Reduction Services and Service Provision

Presenting author: Rebecca Jenkinson

Presenting author biography:

Rebecca is the recipient of a NHMRC Early Career Fellowship and an Invergowrie Foundation Public Health Fellowship, administered through the Burnet Institute. Rebecca’s Fellowship aims to improve understanding of young people’s engagement in alcohol and other drug use and related behaviours.

‘Establishing the Connection’: identifying gaps and informing service responses to co-occurring sexual victimisation trauma and alcohol and other drug use.

Rebecca Jenkinson, Mary Stathopoulos, Jane Vanderstoel, Trevor King

The sexual assault (SXA) and alcohol and other drug (AOD) sectors have much in common in the context of clients presenting with histories of abuse and trauma, particularly sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse.

The ‘Establishing the Connection’ project aimed to examine the intersections between AOD use and sexual victimisation and trauma, how both support sectors currently work together, and how they can respond more effectively to the needs of those affected. The project involved: i) a detailed literature review; ii) face-to-face qualitative interviews and a quantitative online survey with clinicians, managers and peak bodies; and iii) a forum/workshop to bring together the practice knowledge and needs of both sectors.

Most practitioners and clinicians were aware of the interrelationship between sexual victimisation and substance use, but many lacked access to resources, formal referral processes and pathways, or information about how the other sector works. Both sectors identified the importance of resourcing and formalising governance and collaborative structures.

This research provides an enhanced understanding of the resource needs of practitioners in the AOD and SXA sectors related to supporting and referring shared clients. The new knowledge generated by this research resulted in the development of shared Practice Guidelines to guide practice toward the identification, assessment, response and referral of clients with co-occurring sexual victimisation and substance use issues. This presentation will highlight key findings from the research and showcase the Practice Guidelines.