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ID: HR23-544
Presenting author: Nic Robinson

Presenting author biography:

Having spent over 10-years working in the AOD sector as a Social worker in Melbourne, Victoria, Nic’s primary work has been in the harm-reduction area. This has included drafting and activating an organisation-wide Naloxone policy, developing/launching peer-support harm-reduction groups for LGBTIQ+ community members, and now launching Safe Space sobering-up centre.

Safe Space: A Harm-Reduction Centre underpinned by Trauma Informed and Feminist frameworks

Lititia Swiderski, Nic Robinson
Launched in 2022, with the key aims of preventing the deaths of Indigenous Australians in police custody, Safe Place is the first medically supported sobering up service to open in the State of Victoria, Australia.

Staffed by a nurse and harm-reduction practitioner at all times, Safe Place operates 24hrs from Friday to Monday afternoon in an area known for alcohol and drug use. Safe Space invites people who use drugs and/or alcohol to access the centre at any time during operating hours for some rest, nursing support, harm-reduction support and/or material aid.

Contending with historic notions of ‘the drunk tank’, or historically underfunded and poorly resourced (now defunct) sobering-up-services, Safe Place staff developed the centre with the key aim of dismantling and then re-writing the concept of ‘the drunk tank’. This has been realised through the development of a well-considered, trauma informed service, underpinned by principles of Feminist agency.

From strategies to advocate against the use of security, to the application of de-medicalised nursing practice, this oral presentation will use examples from Safe Place to take participants through how to apply a trauma-informed lens in their context, and how feminist frameworks can be implemented to improve the delivery of harm reduction service.