Screening To Safety is an initiative of Children by Choice, launched in August 2016 after a grant was secured to run a project focussed on the intersection of domestic violence, unplanned pregnancy, and abortion. Women living with violence are more likely to experience unplanned pregnancy and abortion, are more likely to experience coercion to pregnancy or abortion (a pattern of behaviours known as reproductive coercion, encompassing contraceptive sabotage through to emotional or financial manipulation, physical threats and other types of violence), and are more likely to present later in pregnancy for care than women not living with violence. It’s all pretty grim but you can read about it over on the Children by Choice website.
The Screening To Safety project aimed to do something about this by focusing on working with abortion providers to screen for violence amongst their patients and equip them to better respond when faced with disclosure. This included training with clinicians and resources to help them in this work. One of the resources I’m most proud of creating (ever, across every piece of design I’ve done) is an A4 trifold ‘brochure’ to help doctors and domestic violence workers to provide contraceptive counselling for women living with violence, whose contraceptive needs may be different to women not living with violence, and which are dependent on the types of violence they are living with. The resource includes all the usual info about contraceptive options, as well as specific details for each method on whether they are detectable by someone else, and whether they can be tampered with. It also includes some guiding questions for practitioners to help them assess the unique needs of the woman they’re talking to, based on what types of violence and control she’s living with. It’s the first resource of its kind in Australia and Liz, Screening to Safety project officer and all round legend, and I took to calling it The Beast due to the sheer amount of wrangling we had to do to fit so much content into the space we had available. But it’s done, and despite the sadness I feel about it having to exist in the first place I’m really glad I got to have a hand in bringing it into the world. You can download a full pdf of it from the Children by Choice website.
Also as part of the project, I designed a set of posters aimed at raising awareness of the issue of reproductive coercion – these were developed as part of Queensland Women’s Week 2018 and have been distributed to services statewide and viewed over 20,000 times online already – as well as some smaller brochures for women about pregnancy decision making and coercion.