Touching Base Inc logo showing a line drawing of two hands almost touching, and the byline "sex workers and people with disa ility coming together"  at the fingertips

Newsletter No. 1 2017
Catch up with the latest news on our recent activities, appearances, upcoming workshops and reminders for our members.

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Finding Touching Base our own Place

It has never been a more exciting time to be a part of Touching Base. We have grown to the point that it is time to finally get our first publicly available office space. We are putting out the word that Touching Base would be most grateful if somebody would donate a building to us, or provide an accessible suite of offices for peppercorn rent, within Sydney or 5-10 kilometres of the central business district.  Do you know of anyone who can help?  Please contact us at as we’d love to hear from you.
A square map of Sydney showing motorway signs for Central Sydney and surrounding suburbs. There is a textbox with the words "Can you help us find a home for Touching Base?"

Conferences and Presentations

Human Rights and Social Justice –
Shifting Client Control
This national conference aimed to evaluate human rights in the aged and disability sector by bringing together industry heavyweights to discuss the implications and opportunities of the aged care, disability and guardianship sectors undergoing significant reform aimed at increasing client choice.

Our patron The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG and Rachel Wotton were both keynote speakers at this conference in Brisbane on the 23 – 24 March, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza on the Gold Coast.
Michael Kirby sitting at his desk with many papers scattered in front of him. There are book lined shelves in the background.
As Michael Kirby noted in a recent letter of support for Touching Base:

“… We will be joined by other keynote speakers including: the Federal Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, AM MP; Mr Alastair McEwin, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission; Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, President, Australian Law Reform Commission; and Ms Rae Lamb, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.
It is notable that Ms Wotton is the only representative of the not-for profit sector to be selected as a keynote speaker at this prestigious event. This fact of itself demonstrates the high regard that the leading work of Touching Base has earned within the disability and human rights sectors in Australia…”

Photo by Marcus Mok
On the Couch in the Illawarra
On the Couch is an educational forum hosted by the HIV/AIDS and Related Programs Unit in Illawarra-Shoalhaven. Julie Bates and Saul Isbister represented Touching Base alongside Mekita Vanderheyde (an Education Officer with our training partner Family Planning NSW), at the Nan Tien Institute Unanderra, a gorgeous venue that looks across to the Nan Tien temple.

The 2 hour forum was well received by the 22 participants. Here’s some of their feedback:
  • I liked the adult open discussion and the fact that we were free to talk about anything we wanted in regards to sex.
  • I enjoyed it very much and so did my companions/colleagues. I'd like to see mandatory workshops in my local area for the workers in the [disability] industry.
  • I absolutely loved everything that the session had to offer. It was engaging, diverse, thoughtful, safe and most of all a respectful environment
A landscape photo of the Nan Tien temple nestled amongst trees with a mountain in the background.
If you would like a Touching Base presentation at your workplace we are happy to provide a quote. Send us an email to training at
The word "Training" is printed in different coloured fonts

Service Provider Awareness Training SPAT

Our first SPAT workshop for the year was hosted by Quality Health Care who wanted a Touching Base at Your Place training experience. We have consistently received positive feedback from participants of these workshops.
Quality Health Care provided an opportunity for a couple of staff members from BUPA to also attend. Where appropriate Touching Base encourages organisations hosting SPAT workshops to invite other disability service providers in their area to send staff along.
This approach makes it easier for smaller host organisations, or those in regional areas, to meet the maximum class size of 20 participants. It also reduces the host’s costs at the same time as increasing opportunities for networking and skills sharing between more participants.

We have three Service Provide Awareness Training workshops planned in different locations in NSW in 2017.
Location Workshop dates
NEWCASTLE 28 April 2017
ASHFIELD 10 August 2017
DUBBO 14 September 2017

Following this link to our website for more information and a link to the registration form.

Professional Disability Awareness Training PDAT


We have delivered two of our PDAT workshops for sex workers already this year. We were very pleased to see 17 sex workers attend the Melbourne workshop.  We thank RhED for all their help to deliver a great day of training. Many of the participants have already become members of Touching Base so they are eligible to have their working names and profiles added to our ever growing Referral List of disability-friendly sex workers and sex services premises.


Rachel also recently delivered a PDAT workshop in Darwin. It is exciting for Touching Base to extend our reach to sex workers in the Northern Territories for the first time. Many thanks to Leanne and Skye from the Sex Worker Outreach Program- SWOP NT for all their help – including arranging the grant to fund the costs of delivering one of our workshops so far away from our base in Sydney. 
The night before there was a special fundraising screening of the documentary Scarlet Road. The profits will be shared equally between SWOP NT and Touching Base. After the documentary a Q & A panel included Rachel, Jules Kim & Ryan Cole from Scarlet Alliance – Australian Sex Workers Association, and members of SWOP NT.
We thank Rachel for taking time out of her own busy schedule to travel around the country to deliver these workshops.

Sex workers wanting to get advanced notice of the next workshops in other locations, or who want to go on our waiting list, please email us via

New award for a long-standing affiliate member – Family Planning NSW

Rob Hardy and Ee-Lin Chang holding a glass award under a sign saying " NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards"
Last month Family Planning NSW won a Disability Innovation Award in the category of ‘Innovation in improving outcomes for children and young people’ for their Sexuality and Relationships forums. These forums provide parents with much needed information and resources to support their offspring with disability. Touching Base has been very pleased to provide well-informed sex worker presenters to help address concerns and dispel a few myths. After being a finalist for the past three years we are thrilled to see our Committee Member Rob Hardy accepted this overdue award with Ee-Lin Chang, on behalf of their team at Family Planning. The next Parents Forum will be held in Wollongong on 27 May. For booking details, please visit their website.

New Client Story on our website

In a new story on our website One size doesn’t fit all’   Chris tells us about his sexual history and some of the struggles he has faced when exploring his sexual desires.

Touching Base saw an opportunity to use our experience to provide Chris with some insights and information about a few of the issues he raised. Chris appreciated our commentary and advice, saying “It all makes sense now I think about it”. He has agreed for us to publish our comments about using condoms, setting boundaries, masturbation and other sex/relationship options at the end of his story. He thinks they might be helpful to other people with disability and sex workers facing similar situations.

You can find all our client stories on our website

How was it for you?
Maybe you had sex for the first time?  Maybe you tried something in a new way with a sex worker?
We always enjoy hearing stories from people with disability who are willing to contribute to this section of our website. Please feel welcome to send your own stories about seeing a sex worker to 

Did you Feel the Vibe in Ballina? We did.

We had a great time in Ballina with the crew from Northcott at their Feel the Vibe seminar and expo. It was great to hear another open conversation about sex and sexuality and always interesting to hear the questions people ask. Jo and Saul really appreciated all the support from Alicia and Aby from Northcott, and spent some time enjoying the scenery at the Ballina Wharf 
A bronze statue of a pelican sits on top of a pole at the Ballina wharf. In the background there is the sky and sea divided by a strip of forested land


Individual and affiliate membership of Touching Base is a marvelous way of showing your support of our work. It is going to be hard to get funding that will cover all of our work. So as we grow your membership fees will be a really important source of revenue for Touching Base.
However keeping up with the membership renewal process has been an increasing problem as our membership has grown. So we are in the process of installing a new online membership application and renewal process to simplify it all. We hope the new system will be up and running within the next two months.
In the meantime we are updating our membership register in preparation for the new system.

It would be incredibly helpful to Touching Base volunteers if all members who receive their renewal notices within the next few weeks could pay their due fees as soon as possible.
Have you updated your personal details?
As we begin the migration to our new membership system it would be helpful to have up-to-date records.  If you have changed any of your contact details, please contact our Secretary at with any new and updated information such as your telephone number and email address.

Making a donation

A big thank you to the growing number of members who have been making monthly donations. What a great way to show your ongoing support for our work and you don’t even have to be a member to donate.
Remember all donations over $2.00 are tax deductible and because we are unfunded every gift makes a difference. You can donate via our website or click on the GiveNow logo below to directly access our secure online donation portal right now.

Make a donation now


Contact Touching Base

General Enquiries:                   
Phone: 0424 591 409

Postal Address:                         
PO Box 523, Newtown, NSW 2042
Referral List:
Referral Request Form:

ABN: 182 1399 7639

Copyright © 2017 Touching Base Inc., All rights reserved.

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