As part of marking November’s Trans Awareness Week (13-20 November), ACON has launched a digital animation resource, Here & Now, to support to trans and gender diverse people who have experienced sexual assault.
ACON developed the resources in response to national research from The Kirby Institute, which found that more than half of the trans people sampled had experienced sexual violence, which is four times higher than the general Australian population. The research also revealed that most trans people had never reported these experiences, nor sought help.
These findings come after the release earlier this year of the The Crossing the Line study from the Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), conducted at Western Sydney University (WSU), which found that trans women of colour were more likely than cis women to report having been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed multiple times.
Teddy Cook, Manager of Trans Heath Equity at ACON, said: “During Trans Awareness Week, it’s important that we shine a light on the issues trans people are facing locally. In NSW and across Australia, trans people are experiencing an epidemic of sexual violence and most never tell anyone about it, or seek help,”
“Here & Now has been developed by trans people for trans people and offers the community some guidance for accessing support and medical care after experiencing sexual violence.”
Dr Eleanor Freedman from Education Centre Against Violence (ECAV) and the NSW Ministry of Health said: “The research tells us that trans people face many barriers to engaging with health services. ECAV and the Ministry of Health have partnered with ACON to make it clear that specialist NSW Health Sexual Assault Services are open across the state and welcome trans people of all genders who have experienced sexual assault, either recently or in the past.”
Professor Basil Donovan, head of the Sexual Health Program at The Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, said that the animation resource delivers a profound message to the many trans who have experienced sexual violence.
“Research into the lived experiences of trans people in Australia tells us that there is a pressing need for interventions that are both trans-led and meaningful for this population. It is critically important that there is help available. Equally important, this resource reminds survivors of sexual assault that they remain in control of what happens to them.”
Professor Jane Ussher at WSU and ANROWS said: “Our work with trans women of colour gave voice to an incredibly resilient group of women who are subject to regular verbal sexual violence and assault across both public and private life, yet felt they had few avenues for legal redress or formal support. Here & Now centres the story of a Sistergirl Claire as she decides the options for support and care that work best for her. An essential story to tell.”
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said that the resources are siginifcant in supporting trans people and improving ACON’s work in improving the health outcomes of trans people: “Here & Now offers trans people the tools and information needed to help support, nurture and affirm their wellbeing after experiencing the kind of violence no one should ever go through.”
Cook added: “ACON’s online TransHub resource has given us an opportunity to engage with trans people, allies and clinicians about issues that move beyond how we affirm our gender. Access to evidence-based and community centred resources make a big difference to the lives and futures of trans people, and we are proud to be furthering our work with, and for, the community.”
Here & Now comprises of four animations, five new TransHub pages and two posters on the importance of pronouns. Resources for community members will be released during Trans Awareness Week and resources for sexual assault services will launch the following week.
Here & Now is funded by the NSW Ministry of Health’s Prevention and Response to Violence and Neglect Unit.
Watch the animations and access the support resources at transhub.org.au/herenow.