Australia’s longest running regular survey of lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health is collecting data…


Every two years since 1996 the SWASH survey has been asking lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Sydney about their sexual health, mental health, experiences of violence and abuse, tobacco and drug use, alcohol consumption, and health service engagement. In 2010, the survey started running biennially in Perth (as WWASH), and in 2014/5 we ran a one-off survey in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region of NSW.

Data collection for 2018 is now on as part of the Sydney’s LGBTI Mardi Gras events in February. Our peer recruiters will be at over 30 events so you’re sure to bump into one! We’ll be collecting data in the Northern Rivers and Coffs Coast region throughout March (if there is an event or group for LGBTI people/LBQ women, you’ll find us) . The survey will be online throughout March; I’ll promote the online survey when we’re open for business.

SWASH began as a collaboration between researchers and community health workers at the then AIDS Council of NSW, now ACON (Australia’s largest LGBTI health promotion organisation). Since 2009, Rachel Deacon and I have been the lead researchers. It is a massive, passionate, heartfelt, exhausting and super important piece of work for me and a whole bunch of people. Did I mention it is unfunded?

I’m going to be blogging about SWASH over the coming months. I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a community-engaged project. What promises do we (implicitly?) make to community that we will ensure they can record their experiences and that we will then reflect those experiences back to them in our analyses (having so many conversations about this lately). We’re going properly online this year so that is bringing up lots of things to think about, especially methodological issue around sample claims. I am so excited that we are going to be seriously on the ground is the Northern Rivers and Coffs Coast region of NSW, and I want to blog about my experiences and post lots of pics – we’ll be holding some events (like this forum on smoking).

Check out all out the SWASH/WWASH outputs to date here

(Image supplied by ACON; features survey recruiters at Fair Day 2016).


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