Authors: Karen Dixon, Robyn Humphries, Ania Krysztofiak, Hannah Friebel, Calvin Jutasi, Katie McKibbin
Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference
Subject: women, lgbt, diversity, sexual safety, services
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: SYMPOSIUM: Increasing safety through innovative practice and working together at Monash Mental Health
This symposium will focus on how the Mental Health program at Monash Health is improving sexual safety for all consumers and staff in acute inpatient units
Mental health inpatient units are complex environments where many consumers feel distressed, fearful and vulnerable. For consumers and staff, the pace is hectic, the milieu is unpredictable, and there are many competing demands. Creating a safe environment, and improving the experience of consumers in these environments requires a concerted and multifaceted approach. Integration of policy, practice, education, training, and co-design of improvement initiatives is essential if sustainable change is to be achieved.
In 2021 the Mental Health Program established a Sexual Safety Clinical Coordinator position and a Right to be Safe Steering Committee, to lead the development and implementation of a range of initiatives to improve sexual safety in our adolescent (12-18years), young adult (18 - 25 years), adult, and aged persons' mental health inpatient units.
In this symposium speakers will present the research and evidence that underpins our work; the roles of the Sexual Safety Clinical Coordinator and Right To Be Safe steering committee; an overview of the policy, training and practice improvement initiatives underway at Monash Health; showcase the Quick Guide we have developed to improve recognition of, responding to, and reporting sexual safety incidents, and the "Welcome Project" which aims to provide patients with meaningful orientation to the acute unit environment and assist staff to have conversations with consumers about their own safety needs and how they can contribute to a safe environment for everyone; the systemic and cultural challenges involved in improving sexual safety in public sector mental health inpatient units; how this work links with consumer choice more broadly; and the cumulative impact on staff of exposure to verbal and physical incidents of a sexual nature
Safety for all when accessing Mental Health services Karen Dixon - 15 minutes
For many years we have known that safety for female and LBGTI+ consumers, in particular, has been problematic. In Victoria, despite strong advocacy by the Women's Mental Health Network, the Office of Chief Psychiatrist Sexual Safety Guidelines, and the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner's Right To Be Safe report in 2018, little has changed. Furthermore, there has been very little attention paid to the impact on staff of exposure to verbal and physical assault of a sexual nature.
Karen will present on the existing evidence and how the Mental Health service at Monash Health is responding to the need for improvement by working together to develop innovative practice.
Exploring Lived Experience Engagement in the Right to Be Safe Project by Hannah Friebel Consumer Consultant and Ania Krysztofiak – Sexual Safety Coordinator – 30 minutes
In response to the “Right to Be Safe. Ensuring sexual safety in acute mental health inpatient units: sexual safety project report” (Mental Health Complaints Commission, 2018) Monash Health formed the Right to Be Safe Project. This project was formed to strengthen staff’s awareness and understanding of sexual safety across the Mental Health Program, and to ensure timely, comprehensive and effective responses to sexual safety incidents. The ultimate aim of the Right To Be Safe Project is to drive changed practices and revise the care model in order to strive for a reduction in sexual safety incidents involving staff and consumers on mental health inpatient units. Hannah and Ania will present on the work of the project and in particular, highlight how the project has aimed to engage the lived experience voices of consumers, carers and staff in the development of the project.
Sexual violence in the workplace and it’s impact on staff. Calvin Jutasi, Forensic Clinical Specialist, and Dr Katie McKibbin, Senior Forensic Psychologist - 15 minutes
In recent years there has been an increased focus on the issue of sexual safety in mental health services, however, very little research has examined the experience of sexual harassment by patients on staff working on adult acute psychiatric inpatient units. Our research hopes to determine the extent, severity and impact of the issue for staff, as well as examine their experience of the health services’ response. Calvin and Katie will present their plans and work to this date on understanding the impact on staff who have experienced sexual assault whilst in their roles as mental health clinicians.
Panel discussion – all
Following the presentations, all will join a panel Q&A to discuss:
• What have been the outcomes so far whilst striving to increase safety for all on mental health units at Monash Health?
• Has the team achieved the goal of including diverse consumer, carer and staff voices and their lived experiences when planning, delivering and evaluating the project?
• What are the barriers and enablers to success in improving sexual safety for consumers, carers and staff in acute inpatient units?
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