History of SL&RR

In March, SL&RR hosted a Sexuality and Disability Masterclass. Presenters included:

  • Associate Professor Michael Gill, Syracuse University, New York
  • Paul Milner, Donald Beasley Institute, New Zealand
  • Associate Professor Patsie Frawley & Linda Stokoe, Deakin University
  • Dr Amie O’Shea, Rhys Nagas, & Sarina Rakidzic, Deakin University
  • Nathan Despott, Inclusion Melbourne

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The masterclass featured in Disability Magazine Link

Amie O’Shea visited the VIP:RR program in Sweden in March 2019

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New Peer Educators in the Blue Mountains and Victoria were trained to run the SL&RR program. Linda, Patsie, Amie, Rhys and Monica were a part of the training team.

The SL&RR Synapse site were trained and piloted the SL&RR: Brain Injury program. SL&RR worked with Caleb Rixon from Genyus Network to develop the new stories into video.  

For the last half of the year, Patsie Frawley worked with the Donald Beasley Institute in New Zealand. A part of her work helped on a project to develop stories of New Zealand people with Intellectual Disability about relationships in their lives. 

Patsie also attend the 2019 IASSID world congress in Glasgow, and presented on sexuality rights and a paper written by Amie O’Shea on the SL&RR LGTBIQ pilot program in 2018.

Linda Stokoe featured an article with Disability Services Consulting about sexuality rights. 

Patsie has featured in the Australian media about the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. You can read it the article in the Sunday Morning Herald and The Conversation

Side projects which the SL&RR team have been involved with at Deakin University include a project in partnership with 1800RESPECT about using accessible resources with women who access violence and abuse response services, and another in partnership with Pride Foundation about improving understanding about the experiences of LGTBIQA+ people with disability.

Other presentations throughout 2019 included:


SL&RR trainers Linda Stokoe, Rhys Nagas and Amie O’Shea began training new Peer Educators and Program Partners in Sydney for the SL&RR brain injury pilot project.

Associate Professor Patsie Frawley received a Fellowship of the Australasian Society of Disability at the 2018 ASID conference on November, 2018.

SL&RR hosted the annual conference at Deakin Downtown on the 25th October 2018

SL&RR introduced its inaugural Janice Slattery award presented at the 2018 SL&RR Conference in Melbourne on the 26th October 2018. Shane Edwards was the recipient of the inaugural award.

The SL&RR LGTBIQ pilot program was awarded a National Disability Leadership award. The amazing Janice Slattery also received the Lesley Hall Lifetime Achievement award!

Linda Stokoe received the ‘Volunteering and Employment’ award at the Geelong awards ceremony for People with Disability.

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SL&RR collaborated with the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability to establish sites in the Blue Mountains.

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The SL&RR National team were contracted by Synapse to do research with people with an ABI, develop stories from this research, develop a SL&RR program for people with an ABI

The project to evaluate SL&RR in NSW concluded in collaboration with Honorary Professor Kelly Johnson.

This is a photo of the Research Advisory Group presenting their work to the Sydney network.

SL&RR collaborated with Inclusion Melbourne and received funding from the Gay and Lesbian Funding Association (GALFA) to gather new stories from people who identify with the LGTBIQ community and pilot a program for people in LGTBIQ networks.

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Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association were funded by Family and Community Services to establish SL&RR sites in NSW. The Deakin University SL&RR team were contracted to support the development of these sites and to evaluate the development and implementation of this work. Millie Oclay was employed by Deakin University to complete the action research evaluation and Emily Ardley and Alisha Gilliland were employed in a job share position to mentor the Peer Educators and Program Partners in NSW and to support the work of the new sites. Sites were established in Blacktown and Liverpool.

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SL&RR received funding from the Victorian Women’s Trust Con Irwin Sub-Fund to host the inaugural SL&RR conference and professional development day ‘Working Together’ at Deakin Downtown in Melbourne SL&RR PD day Summary Report SL&RR PD Day Full Report 2017.

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In 2017, SL&RR was nominated for the ‘Excellence in Innovation’ National Disability award, the ‘Improving Health and Equity’ VicHealth Award and the ‘Industry Engagement in Research’ Deakin University Vice Chancellor’s Award.

Frawley, P., O’Shea, A., Ardley, E., Cini, V., Davie, R., Stokoe, L., Wellington, M. (2017) Sexual Lives & Respectful Relationships Training Manual. Deakin University. Geelong

A project team, Amie O’Shea, Emily Ardley, Linda Stokoe, Monica Wellington, Patsie Frawley, Rebecca Davie, and Victoria Cini, were employed in 2016 to review the LSSL:RR program. A revised edition of the program manual was developed.

As part of this review, new videos of 4 stories used in the program were developed alongside new resources, and the program changed it’s name to Sexual Lives & Respectful Relationships.


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The VIP program in Sweden collaborated with the SL&RR national team to develop the VIP-RR model. https://www.arvsfonden.se/projekt/vip-rr-respektfulla-relationer

SL&RR was a finalist in the 2016 Victorian Disability Awards in the category ‘Excellence in Advocacy and Promotion of Human Rights’


In 2015, LSSL:RR was transferred to Deakin University with Dr Patsie Frawley.


In 2014 the LSSL:RR Bendigo network was a finalist in the National Disability Awards

This is a photo of SL&RR at the 2014 National Disability Awards Ceremony. The people in this photo from left to right are: Amie O’Shea, Rebecca Davie, Shea MacDonough, Liz Wright, Shane Edwards, Victoria Cini, Jess Smart, Daniella Kotevski, Yvette Keane, Linda Stokoe, Heidi Peart, Kat Peters, & Patsie Frawley.

The project led by Dr Patsie Frawley received a research grant from the VicHealth innovation grants to undertake research on the impact of LSSL:RR in the communities where sites had been set up and on the range of stakeholders that had been involved in implementing the program. A research report was written by Patsie Frawley and Sian Anderson.

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SL&RR was featured in the 2014 VicHealth promotion resources ‘Enabling Health’ as an example of best practice on improving the health of people with disability in Australia


New sites were established in Bendigo and Western Melbourne.

SL&RR Bendigo presented at the inaugural 2013 University of Melbourne Centre of Excellence in Rural Sexual Health SexRurality conference in Bendigo. 


There were five pilot sites for this program: 3 in Victoria Gippsland, Geelong and Northern Metropolitan Melbourne and 2 in Tasmania – Hobart and Burnie.

An evaluation of the LSSL:RR pilot program was completed by Dr Catherine Barrett and Dr Sue Dyson from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at LaTrobe University. This evaluation used a participatory arts based action research approach to engage with the project team and other people involved in the pilot sites. The evaluation was published by ARCSHS in 2012. http://arrow.latrobe.edu.au:8080/vital/access/manager/Repository/latrobe:33993


The Australian Government funded the development of Living Safer Sexual Lives to become a peer education program through the first National Plan to Reduce Violence against women and children. At this time, the program was called ‘Living Safer Sexual Lives: Respectful Relationships.

Frawley, P., Slattery, J., Stokoe, L., Houghton, D., & O’Shea, A. (2011). Living Safer Sexual Lives: Respectful Relationships. Melbourne: ARCSHS, LaTrobe University


In 2010, LSSL featured in the following publication, continuing to influence understandings of best practice in research:

Hillier, L, Johnson, K & Traustadóttir, R 2007, ‘Research with people with intellectual disabilities’, in M Pitts & A Smith (eds), Researching the Margins: Strategies for Ethical and Rigorous Research with Marginalised Communities, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 84-95.


In 2003 the Living Safer Sexual Lives research was awarded the Victorian Public Health Award for Innovation in Research.

A training program using the Living Safer Sexual Lives research and stories was developed and piloted across a number of services in Australia. In 2003 the training manual Living Safer Sexual Lives: A training and resource pack for people with an intellectual disability and those who support them was published in the UK through Pavilion Publishing (Frawley, Johnson, Hillier & Harrison, 2003: Pavilion Publishing: UK)

The LSSL training manual was used to run workshops in Australia by Patsie Frawley and by Kelley Johnson and in Ireland, the Czech Republic and other parts of Europe.

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In 2009 a second edition of the training manual was published by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at LaTrobe University.


In 2002,  journal articles reported on the research in the Tizard Learning Disability Review, the Scandinavian journal of disability research and Intellectual Disability Australasia.

Harrison, L, Johnson, K, Hillier, L & Strong, R 2002, ‘‘Nothing about us without us’: the ideals and realities of participatory action research with people with an intellectual disability.’, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 75-81.

Hillier, L, Johnson, K & Harrison, L 2002, ‘Sex, secrets and desire: people with intellectual disabilities talk about their lives’, Intellectual Disability Australasia, no. March, pp. 6-8.


In 2001, narrative research with 25 people was completed and used to develop the Living Safer Sexual Lives stories. This research formed the basis of a report about the stories and the themes that came from this research http://apo.org.au/system/files/8657/apo-nid8657-75686.pdf].

Johnson, K, Hillier, L, Harrison, L & Frawley, P 2001, Living Safer Sexual Lives: Final Report, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne.


Kelley Johnson, Lynne Hillier and Lyn Harrison began research at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), LaTrobe University with funding from VicHealth.

In 2000, two books were written about the rights of women with intellectual disabilities to make their own choices.

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