UoM Research Project 2020

PROJECT TITLE: Describing The Health Care Experiences of People Who Practice BDSM in Australia

We invite you to participate in a research project that aims to investigate the experiences of people who acquire an accidental injury as part of their BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and submission, and Sadomasochism) practice.

Who is conducting the research?

This research is being conducted by researchers at the Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH) in the Department of Rural Health at the University of Melbourne. The research is being led by Associate Professor Jane Tomnay from CERSH, and supported by Professor Jane Hocking and Hannah Sprod, who is completing a Doctorate of Medicine with the University of Melbourne. Funding for CERSH is provided through a service agreement between the Department of Health, Victoria and The University of Melbourne.

This research is endorsed by KNOTbound Ltd a Registered Australian Charity serving the BDSM communities. KNOTbound Ltd is assisting in recruiting participants and provision of support to participants if needed through the Chain helpline and Kink Educated Professionals List.

Rena’ Leigh is the contact person at KNOTbound Ltd for this research project. Hannah Sprod is a volunteer and researcher at KNOTbound Ltd. In order to prevent any conflict of interest Hannah Sprod will not be involved in any element of KNOTbound Ltd’s work relating to this project.

What is the research about?

The research team will be asking people who participate in the interviews about:

– Interactions with health and medical professionals

– Interactions with medical professionals

– Disclosure (or non-disclosure) of BDSM practice

– Perceived / experienced stigma related to BDSM practice

– Health care needs and preferences of people who practice BDSM

The results of the research will be shared within the BDSM community through organisations such as KNOTbound Ltd and appropriate BDSM publications, and medical organisations including Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH) and the Australian Lesbian Medical Association (ALMA). A summary of the report will be available on the KNOTbound website and the CERSH website by September 2020.

What will I be asked to do?

If you agree to participate, you will be invited to either complete an online survey or to take part in an interview with a member of the research team.

The online survey involves answering multiple choice and short answer questions. It should take approximately 20 minutes to complete depending on how much you choose to write in response to the questions.

The interview can be done over the phone or in person in Melbourne. It will be audio- recorded so that it can be transcribed later for analysis. The interview will take approximately 30 minutes of your time. Hannah Sprod and Associate Professor Jane Tomnay will be carrying out the interviews. If you know Hannah or for any other reason would prefer to be interviewed by Associate Professor Jane Tomnay, you can indicate this preference by contacting Associate Professor Jane Tomnay directly.

How will my confidentiality be protected?

The online survey is completely anonymous.

If you agree to participate in an interview you can choose to use a false name, wear a mask if you participate in a face-to-face interview or conceal your phone number.

All information gathered during the research project, within the limits of the law, will be treated as strictly confidential. Please note that the small participant size increases the risk that participants are identifiable. This risk will be managed through the removal of all identifying information (such as your name and age) in any reports, publications, journal articles or conference presentations resulting from the research.

Only the research team named above will have access to the data. All information provided will be kept in a secure, locked storage unit, or in password-protected files on a University server at the Department of Rural Health. Information gathered from the research will be destroyed after five years following the publication of the final report, resource or journal article from the research. Documents will be shredded and electronic recording material will be erased. The interviews will be transcribed by a professional transcription company. Transcriptionists sign a confidentiality agreement and will be informed of the sensitive nature of these interviews. This company will not retain any records of the interviews.

Will any information I give be disclosed?

It is possible for information to be subject to subpoena, freedom of information request or mandated reporting by some professions. However, given the general nature of the information sought in this research, its release as a consequence of these legal processes is extremely unlikely.

Do I have to take part?

Participation in this research is voluntary.

If you begin to complete the survey and then change your mind, you can delete your answers or skip to the final question and withdraw your consent. However, as the survey is anonymous your responses will not be able to be withdrawn once submitted.

If you agree to participate in an interview and then change your mind you are free to withdraw your consent at any time during the project, without any consequences. If you decide to withdraw, all data related to your responses will be excluded from the project if analysis has not already been completed.

Where can I get further information?

If you would like to know more about the research, or if you have any concerns during the course of the research, please email or telephone us using the details below:

Associate Professor Jane TomnayPh: 0427 276 032E: jtomnay@unimelb.edu.au
Hannah SprodPh: 0412 262 359E: hannahsprod@knotbound.com.au

A report and a journal article will be produced from this research. You can receive copies of these, or a brief summary of the findings, by accessing a research report summary on the CERSH or KNOTbound Ltd websites.

What if talking about the research topic causes me some emotional discomfort?

We understand that discussing personal topics may, at times, cause some emotional discomfort. If you feel that you would like to discuss some of your emotional reactions to the topics covered by the research project, we advise that you make use of the free counselling services provided by Lifeline: 13 11 14. This service is available 24 hours a day and also provides referral services, if you need to meet with a local mental health provider. If you wish to receive BDSM specific support contact KNOTbound Ltd: 0408 318 943. This line is currently monitored by Rena’ Leigh, Executive Director of KNOTbound Ltd. For further support a list of Kink Educated Professionals can found at knotbound.com.au/kap/

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Melbourne. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this research project, which you do not wish to discuss with a member of the research team, you should contact the Manager, Human Research Ethics, Office for Research Ethics and Integrity, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010. Tel: +61 3 8344 2073 or Email: HumanEthics-complaints@unimelb.edu.au 

All complaints will be treated confidentially. In any correspondence please provide the name of the research team or the name or ethics ID number of the research project.

How do I agree to participate?

If you are willing to participate in the interview please read, complete and return the consent form provided to you by the researcher. Consent can also be provided verbally in the case of a phone interview. You can schedule a phone interview by calling or emailing either Hannah Sprod or Associate Professor Jane Tomnay.