The (CERSH) Rural Sexual Health Conference 2015
Ethics, Culture and Relationships

This stream is focusing on sexual ethics, culture and relationships and the intersections between these and rural life in Australia. We are inviting the submission of abstracts (see example for format) that address one or more of the following elements:

  • How do cultures, sexual ethics, and relationships play out in rural Australian communities?

  • Ethical and cultural considerations for rural sexual health practitioners and researchers.

  • Partnerships between researchers and practitioners and communities: ethical and cultural considerations to bring about change.

  • A debate about culture, spirituality and sexual ethics.
  • Ethical consent and new social media.

Example Abstract


Willis J1, Davie R2, Keane Y2, Peters K2, Frawley, P3

1Golden City Support Services, 2Living Safer Sexual Lives: Respectful Relationships, Bendigo project, 3LaTrobe University, Living with Disabilities Research Group

Background and aims
People with an intellectual disability have few opportunities to access sexuality and relationship information that they can understand, that is delivered in ways that they are comfortable with, and that meets their needs. Living Safer Sexual Lives: Respectful Relationships (LSSL:RR) is a program for people with an intellectual disability run by peer educators who are themselves people with an intellectual disability. The program is co-facilitated by community professionals who work in sexual health and related services. The program was developed and trialled by Dr Patsie Frawley (LaTrobe University) from 2009 to 2011 with a project team including women with an intellectual disability.

A set of life stories of people with an intellectual disability that focus on relationships and sexuality is the basis of the program. These were developed in earlier research by Dr Frawley and colleagues. Peer educators discuss these stories with participants using their own experiences and a set of ‘key messages’ about rights and respect in relationships. Co-facilitators and peer educators support these discussions with a set of activities and provide information about local sexuality and relationship services.

The Bendigo LSSL:RR team have run four programs. In this presentation they will provide a background to the program, demonstrate how they run the program and share their experiences and feedback they have had from program participants. 

Through this program a group of people with an intellectual disability have gained skills in training, public presentation and self-advocacy. Generalist community services have become more accessible to people with disability and 25 people with an intellectual disability in Bendigo have had access to information, education and support in sexuality and relationships.  

Outcomes emerging from current practice suggest this program, and in particular the peer education approach, is making sexuality and relationship information and education more accessible for people with an intellectual disability.  

Disclosure of Interest Statement
Living Safer Sexual Lives: Respectful Relationships is a program developed by Dr. Patsie Frawley and research partners through the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (La Trobe University). 

Golden City Support Services has sponsored the implementation of this program in Bendigo.

The other partners in the Bendigo delivery of the program include: Bendigo Community Health, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, Centre Against Sexual Assault Loddon Campaspe, Country Awareness Network.