16 October 2023

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Catherine House presents at the National Dental Hygienists Association of Australia

In our experience at Catherine House, many women miss out on dental care not just due to affordability but due to anxiety about their psychological and physical safety, what they may be asked, and not being able to deal with the shame or judgement they fear will be part of the process. This means women wait too long for treatment and endure pain, which affects what they can eat and, if left long enough, can lead to other health complications and more evasive remedial dental procedures. 

So we were delighted to be asked to present at the National Dental Hygienists Association of Australia Ltd alongside Sharon Liberali. Deirdre Flynn, Manager of Client Services, spoke from a service perspective, with key learning outcomes for the audience.

  • Understand the extent and impact of family and domestic violence in our community
  • Recognise the impact of psychological trauma from family and domestic violence in a dental setting
  • Greater understanding of how to create a trauma-informed dental practice setting for clients
  • Strategies to assist in the provision of oral healthcare for people who have experienced trauma

As is our standard approach to public presentations, we invite a current or former client with lived experience to present with us, ensuring their expertise is the key focus. A client from our Crisis Accommodation Service delivered an outstanding conference address about the barriers, both in childhood and adult life, for women dealing with domestic violence and homelessness. Not a sound could be heard as the over 300 delegates listened attentively as she shared her very personal story. The Panel Chair, Karen Lam, requested her presentation so she could compile some of the very useful suggestions she made to improve access for women facing many barriers to dental care. 

It was a powerful moment for our client to take in, presenting to a huge auditorium full of health professionals who had come to hear about this most important topic.

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