Legistrative Council E-Petitions

E-petition Number
Build gender-sensitive psychiatric units
The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that separate gender-sensitive psychiatric units are needed in Victoria.

The Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System recommended gender-based separation in all mental health inpatient facilities. However, this issue has been altogether neglected.

Recommendation 13.3 of the Report recommends that the Victorian Government “review and retrofit existing inpatient facilities on a case-by-case basis to…achieve gender-based separation where possible”. Recommendation 13.4 recommends that the Victorian Government “ensure that the Mental Health and Wellbeing Division supports mental health and wellbeing services to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence in bed-based service settings.”.

A 1993 report by Mullen et al, found that a requisite of trauma-informed service delivery is the consideration that women are the group most affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, with 85 per cent who reported a history of abuse admitted to a psychiatric unit or hospital.

The Women’s Mental Health Network Victoria (WMHNV) 2007 report for the ‘Listening to Women Consumers’ Experiences in Mixed Sex Psychiatric Wards’ project, found that women prefer not to be in mixed wards. WMHNV’s submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System concluded that mental health services “should be a place people can get the support they need in a trauma-informed and gender-sensitive way, with a commitment to principles of human rights, collaboration, access and choice." Without this, the Royal Commission's recommendations for the mental health and wellbeing sector may not be met.
The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council call on the Government to build separate gender-sensitive psychiatric units due to trauma-informed concern for the safety and privacy of women and gender diverse individuals.
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