Health Looking after mums on the inside

Looking after mums on the inside

Sometimes mothers end up in prison and researchers from University of Technology Sydney and The University of Newcastle have been working to find the best way to support them.

Their study of Indigenous female inmates in NSW and Western Australia found that we need better targeted health programs in prisons.

“Many of the mothers had a history of removal from their families and almost half were caring for children under five prior to imprisonment,” said Professor Elizabeth Sullivan from University of Technology Sydney and The University of Newcastle.

“We need to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma, with over 450 children adversely impacted by their mothers’ incarceration in our one study alone,” Professor Sullivan said.

The research found current prison healthcare models were limited in scope and cultural awareness, but a more holistic, patient-centred approach that considered Aboriginal connection to land, culture and community could deliver better outcomes.

“Listening to these women is the first step towards developing better health programs to deliver within the prison environment that help improve ongoing health and social outcomes for Aboriginal women and their families,” Professor Sullivan says.

The study was a joint initiative between The University of Newcastle, University of Technology Sydney, The University of Sydney, UNSW Sydney, Curtin University, The Australian National University and The University of Western Australia.

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