A survey of the sexual behaviour and sexual health of Australian prisoners [ 2005 - 2007 ]

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Tony Butler (Principal investigator) ,  Dr Anthony Falconer Prof Basil Donovan Prof Juliet Richters

Brief description The Australian Study of Health and Relationships telephone survey recently reported on the sexual attitudes, knowledge, health and behaviour of over 19,000 Australians. One of the groups that was omitted from that survey was prisoners. Yet prisoners are a high-risk group for sexual ill health. Prisoners are mostly drawn from the most disadvantaged groups in society: they are more likely to be unemployed, they have less education and lower incomes than other Australians, and many suffer from minor intellectual disabilities and-or mental illness. This proposed survey of inmates in Australian prisons will fill in this missing data. Prisoners are the forgotten population in many countries. Only a few surveys of prisoners' health have been performed. There are some surveys of sexual behaviour in particular prisons overseas, though most of them concentrate on HIV risks and do not explore the sexual lives of prisoners in the same way as the major national sex surveys in the US, the UK and France did for people living outside prison. Prison is itself a dangerous place for people's sexual health. In prison, much of the sex that occurs is not voluntary. Sexual assault in prisons can lead to serious physical injury as well as risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV-AIDS. Although some of these injuries can be sufficiently serious to require surgery, only a small proportion are reported to the authorities. Younger prisoners (aged 18-25) and those who are small, slightly built or gay, are at higher risk of being assaulted. This study will explore the factors surrounding sexual assault in prison and make recommendations for preventing it.

Funding Amount $AUD 591,000.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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