In Health

Victoria Shadow Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge

Coalition Protects Women Being Treated For Mental Illness From Assault

Victor P Taffa

$4 Million To Create Female-Only Areas In Psychiatric Wards

A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will provide $4 Million to ensure the safety of women being treated in Hospital Psychiatric Wards are protected from assault and harassment with the creation of female-only areas, Shadow Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said today.

“The experiences of women in acute inpatient units in Victoria are vastly different to that of men, with many women feeling vulnerable and at risk of abuse.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“It is important that women who are receiving treatment for a mental illness have a safe nurturing environment and are protected from harm.”

Predominately Psychiatric Wards in Victoria are non-segregated, with men and women sharing the same facility.

Most disturbingly, the Victorian Women and Mental Health Network have reported that more than 60 % of women in inpatient units experience harassment or abuse.

Women in Mental Health Facilities in Victoria have reported Several Assaults in the past year, including the rape of an 18-year-old woman by a Male Patient in an Acute Adult Psychiatric Unit.

“The Coalition believes that women should have the right to receive treatment and care, free from the fear of victimisation, violence, sexual assault and re-traumatisation which often occurs in mixed Psychiatric Wards.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“A Baillieu Government will provide $4 Million to establish gender-specific spaces and corridors and other safety improvements in established psychiatric facilities, which could include designated women’s corridors or lockable bedroom and bathroom doors.”

“As well as creating female-only areas in existing facilities, a Coalition Government will ensure all new mental health facilities incorporate single-sex environments such as designated female rooms, women’s lounge and outdoor recreation space.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

The Coalition will also support training for Mental Health Staff, so that the relevant Chief Psychiatrist and Service guidelines are implemented, ensuring safe and gender-sensitive treatment of all women while in care of acute psychiatric units.

“Despite evidence from interstate and overseas and the State Government’s own Gender sensitivity and safety Project, the Brumby Labor Government has failed to adopt or implement recommendations which would improve the safety of women receiving treatment in a facility.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

For more than 10 years those within the Mental Health Sector and the AMA have repeatedly called on the Brumby Labor Government to provide Single Sex Facilities, but it has ignored their calls.

“A Coalition Government is committed to ensuring women’s safety and the establishment of female only areas will help ensure they are free from harm and are able to receive treatment in a safe and protected environment.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

Editor Victor P Taffa has experienced firsthand the sick state of the New South Wales Public Hospital System. Same-Sex Wards should be abandoned. Other Patients, Nursing Staff and other Health Professionals also support this view.

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