Associate Professor Jan Coles is an academic family physician at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
I am working and researching in the area of sexual violence because of the patients I saw in my clinical practice. It was one young mother who was having difficulty holding and caring for her young son that opened my eyes to severe lifelong consequences of childhood sexual abuse. It was the starkness of her distress and my own lack of training in this area pushed me into research, medical education and advocacy work.
I have since researched in the area of early mothering and breast feeding after childhood sexual abuse and perinatal service provision to survivors. I continue to work with the Sexual Violence Research Initiative in South Africa, running workshops and producing a briefing paper on researcher safety for researchers undertaking sexual violence research http://www.svri.org/traumabooklet.pdf.
My latest project is working with the Australian Longitudinal Women's Health Study, documenting the impacts of childhood sexual violence and adult violence on mental and physical health and perinatal outcomes for Australian young women.
As a medical educator I am working across the primary care disciplines with University partners across Australia to develop an open access online learning module for primary care students across Australia. By better educating our students, we aim to improve the support and services available to survivors. It was in preparing for this work that I discovered the AVA website. I would really like to hear from others working in this area and to establish international links and partnerships.
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