Australian Governement - Department of Health

On 9 September 2019, International FASD Awareness Day, an inquiry was referred to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee into effective approaches to prevention and diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and strategies for optimising life outcomes for people with FASD.

Individuals, organisations, and institutions across Australia made submissions which explored the breadth of the impact of FASD on Australian communities. NOFASD Australia reviewed all submissions and extracted a series of quotes which define themes that arose across the submissions.

In today’s blog, we explore the theme of FASD as a systemic issue within Australian society.

  • Systemic issues are those which is are caused by broad social influences rather than individual actions. FASD is systemic because it is caused by several issues which influence women to consume alcohol during pregnancy including drinking culture, alcohol dependence, colonisation, inadequate education about alcohol and pregnancy, and inadequate training of health professionals;
  • Systemic issues must be addressed by governments and institutions actively engaging with targeted prevention and education for their employees and communities;
  • FASD is a health issue facing every community within Australia because FASD exists where alcohol exists;
  • There is no blame. FASD is a condition that is an outcome of parents either not being aware of the dangers of alcohol use when pregnant or planning a pregnancy, or not being supported to stay healthy and strong during pregnancy;
  • Australian culture can make it difficult to abstain from alcohol, and we know it’s much easier to say no to alcohol with a support person than alone;
  • Every person can address the systemic factors influencing the development of FASD by becoming FASD informed and encouraging others to do the same; and
  • Become FASD informed by completing the FREE FASD training course online here.

Click here to view NOFASD’s FINDINGS: FASD is a systemic issue; it is created by wider social issues and is not limited to one community.

View alcohol and pregnancy statistics in this Get FASD Informed Infographic.

The final report from the Senate inquiry was released on 17th March 2021.

Stay tuned to the NOFASD blogs for a summary of the findings.

Click here to view all of the Senate inquiry submissions.


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