Submission to the NT Committee on action to prevent Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

FARE’s submission to the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory (NT) Select Committee on action to prevent Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) proposes 12 tangible and practical recommendations that will reduce the incidence of FASD and vastly improve the life outcomes of people affected by FASD and their carers.

These solutions are based on FARE’s Australian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Action Plan 2013-2016 and target FASD across the spectrum, from prevention and diagnosis to management across the lifespan.

Recommendations

  1. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government conducts a territory-wide ongoing public education campaign about the harms associated with consuming alcohol during pregnancy. The campaign should use a range of media including television, radio, print materials and social media.
  2. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government provides training to educate health professionals on FASD and enable them to routinely ask and advise all women about the harms associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This training should make use of the resources and training materials from FARE’s Women Want to Know
  3. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government provides specialist support services to women who are pregnant and have alcohol-use disorders. This involves:
    providing funding to alcohol and drug treatment services across the Northern Territory to allow them to develop women-centred practices, with a particular focus on women who are pregnant; and
    developing a Northern Territory Model of Care for women who have alcohol-use disorders with clearly defined referral pathways into treatment.
  4. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government representative on the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation supports the introduction of mandatory pregnancy alcohol warning labels.
  5. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government introduces evidence-based policies that address the pricing, promotion and availability of alcohol, as part of its strategy to prevent FASD.
  6. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government trials and evaluates the Australian FASD diagnostic instrument.
  7. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government establishes at least one dedicated FASD diagnostic clinic in the Northern Territory.
  8. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government provides funding to create a FASD diagnostic team that specialises in remote areas. This should be based on the Lililwan Project. The diagnostic team should train local health professionals who work in the community on FASD diagnosis so that this can continue once the diagnostic team leaves the area.
  9. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government ensures that all people diagnosed with FASD in the Northern Territory are provided with a treatment and management plan that is evidence-based and designed to meet individual needs.
  10. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government provides funding to organisations that support people with FASD, their parents and their carers.
  11. That the Committee recommends that the Department of Education develops resources and training for teachers and other education professionals on understanding FASD and teaching strategies for students with FASD.
  12. That the Committee recommends that the Northern Territory Government pilots a training program for judges, magistrates and correctional officers to assist them in identifying and managing FASD in people who are in contact with the criminal justice system.

FARE supports policy reforms that contribute to a reduction in alcohol-related harms in Australia. Our policy work is informed by the evidence of what is most effective in reducing alcohol-related harms. We support the progression of population-based health measures, which take into consideration the far reaching and complex impacts of alcohol-related harms.

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