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. 2 2016
Catch up with the latest news on our recent activities including the launch of our exciting new resources, interactions with Parliamentarians in New South Wales and South Australia and upcoming workshops.

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Launch of New Touching Base Resources at NSW Parliament

Touching Base was jubilant to launch three new resources for people with disability with a celebration in the Jubilee Room at NSW Parliament House. We have made podcasts of the punchy and inspiring speeches made on the day, including our wonderful host The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps, The Hon. John Ajaka - NSW Minister for Disability Services, The Hon. Mehreen Faruqi MLC, Associate Professor Helen Meekosha, Iris and Murray Loudon, Aby Hutchinson-West and Saul Isbister.
In a room with bookshelves from floor to ceiling – a group of people are assembled. They include The Honourable John Ajaka, Minister for Disability NSW, The Honourable Dr Peter Phelps MLC, Idis Art (Illustrator), and authors of the new booklets – Ashley Burrell, Christopher Waters and Cate Elrick. In the foreground Saul Isbister is speaking at a rostrum with an Auslan interpreter, Amanda Galea, to his left.
Photo: From left - The Honourable John Ajaka, Minister for Disability NSW, The Honourable Dr Peter Phelps MLC, Idis Art (Illustrator), and authors of the new booklets – Ashley Burrell, Christopher Waters and Cate Elrick (Corinne Freeman absent), Saul Isbister  and Auslan interpreter, Amanda Galea.    

In a room with bookshelves from floor to ceiling – three people are facing an audience that you can only see the backs of the heads of. The people are Murray Louden sitting in a wheelchair, Iris Louden speaking at the rostrum and an Auslan interpreter, Jennifer MacLaughlan, to her left.
As you can see from the photo above, the Jubilee Room has bookshelves from floor to ceiling and so was a perfect venue to launch our new publications. There was barely a dry eye in the room by the time Iris and Murray Louden had finished their speech (pictured).  

Introducing the Three New Booklets

Remember, seeing a sex worker is just one of many ways of a person can seek to have their sexual needs met.

Anna Sees a Sex Worker and Tony Sees a Sex Worker are easy to read social stories for people who need a bit of help to work things out. These pictorial story books are the only known publications of their kind on this topic. They use simple words alongside pictures to tell stories aimed to assist a person with intellectual disability decide if seeing a sex worker is the right choice for them.

Whilst these two resources show stories of people pursuing heterosexual choices, Touching Base fully supports people of all genders and sexual orientation

Cover of booklet with title "Anna Sees a Sex Worker" shows a woman in a wheelchair with a man in the background next to a bed
Anna Sees a Sex Worker
Anna has an intellectual disability. She also has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair to get around. This story follows Anna as she explores some sexual options with her support worker. Anna chooses to see a male sex worker and decides she would like to have oral sex and intercourse. It suits Anna to have the sex worker come to her place.
Cover of booklet with title "Tony Sees a Sex Worker" shows a man standing in the foreground with a woman in the background next to a bed
Tony Sees a Sex Worker
Tony has an intellectual disability. This story follows Tony as he explores some sexual options with his support worker. He chooses to see a female sex worker and would like to have a sexy massage and a blow job. He decides he would like to go to a brothel.
Cover of booklet titled "Seeing a Sex Worker - a guide for people with disability" with an abstract symbol and a Touching Base logo

Seeing a Sex Worker – a guide for people with disability
This is a more comprehensive and detailed booklet. Suitable for adults with disability wanting more information, it can also be used as a companion resource when supporting a person with intellectual disability to read one of the social stories.

It includes information about choosing a sex worker and where to find them, your expectations and their expectations, establishing consent and even a glossary of the different types of services that sex workers may offer.

This guide also lists known benefits of sex and identifies a range of reasons why a person with disability may choose to access the services of a sex worker. This additional information may be useful for people with disability preparing a ‘personal care plan’ if they wish to apply for funding to support their access to the services of a sex worker.

Hardcopies of the new booklets can be ordered on our website

Anna Sees a Sex Worker
$5.00 + postage & packaging

Tony Sees a Sex Worker       
$5.00 + postage & packaging

Seeing a Sex Worker – a guide for people with disability
$10.00 + postage & packaging

Touching Base and Parliamentary Select Committees in New South Wales and South Australia

Touching Base appears to have gained some credibility as a source of reliable evidence-based information. We make recommendations in support of a decriminalised model of sex work because it best enables the human rights of sex workers and enhances the support and choices available for people with disability who want to see a sex worker.

So Touching Base was relieved when the New South Wales Government chose to reject the majority of recommendations made by the 2015 NSW Select Committee on the regulation of brothels. We thank all our members, friends and supporters who put in submissions in support of the continuation of decriminalisation of sex work here in New South Wales.

More recently we were invited by the Hon Michelle Lensink MLC, Deputy Liberal Leader of the Legislative Council in South Australia, to provide a "last minute" submission to the Select Committee on the Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2015. Many thanks to the Hon Kelly Vincent, the South Australia member for the Dignity for Disability Party, for pointing them in our direction. Our submission will be uploaded to the Select Committee's website soon.   

On the basis of the Bill being considered by this Select Committee, Touching Base is hopeful that  South Australian Parliamentarians seek to avoid some of the unnecessary over-regulation yet to be corrected in New South Wales and New Zealand models of decriminalisation . 
Kelly Vincent is sitting looking upwards towards the camera and holding a snake, which is climbing onto the arm of another person. There is someone standing in the background ready to grab the snake in case it tries bite her.
Photo - The Hon. Kelly Vincent MLC is a staunch advocate for people with disability in the South Australian Parliament and Touching Base is proud to have her as a member of our organisation.

Touching Base's Work Recognised by The Upper House of NSW Parliament

Screen shot of an Auslan interpreter translating Dr Mehreen Faruqi giving a speech at a podium. There is a Touching Base logo and a subtitle that says "And these simple Plain English booklets, with incredibly wonderful artwork and images"
Having had two recent events at NSW Parliament, we were delightfully surprised when Dr Mehreen Faruqi, member of the NSW Greens in the Upper House, let us know she had successfully moved a motion in Parliament in support of Touching Base. Apparently there was unanimous support from Upper House MPs to congratulate us for our work in connecting people with disability and sex workers. The Upper House also expressed their support for the right of people with disability to express their sexuality.

On our website you can find Dr Faruqi's recent speech at the celebration of the new Touching Base resources (pictured), where she enthusiastically reflects on the quality of the new booklets. She also expresses her hearty support for decriminalisation of sex work in NSW and outlines the positive impacts it has had for sex workers over the last 20 years.

Training workshops

Professional Disability Awareness Training (PDAT) - for sex workers

We have now completed delivering four PDAT Workshops in Queensland in conjunction with RESPECT Inc, the state-based sex worker peer organisation. We would like to thank the staff from RESPECT Inc for all their help in setting up and supporting these workshops.

We also held a PDAT workshop in inner west Sydney in August

In 2017 we plan to deliver PDAT workshops in Victoria and the Northern Territories. We are looking forward to working in conjunction with RhED (Victoria) and SWOP NT (
phone on 08 8944 7777) and sex workers in those states are encouraged to contact these organisations to register their interest in attending 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

Service Provider Awareness Training (SPAT) - for disability service providers and carers

We have two more Service Provide Awareness Training workshops coming up in different locations for NSW in 2016.

See more info about this very popular workshop on the Family Planning NSW website or follow the links below to immediately register for upcoming workshops run in partnership with Family Planning NSW.

Course code
Workshop dates


7 October 2016


21 November 2016

These workshops are supported by Family Planning NSW and IDEAS (Information on Disability Education & Awareness Services)

Touching Base at your place
We have also agreed to deliver SPAT workshops to disability service organisations and aged care providers in Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Contact us via if you would like a quote for us to deliver a workshop for your organisation.

Dementia Awareness Month

The motto of this year’s Dementia Awareness Month in Australia is "You are not alone". To celebrate this theme we are publishing feedback Touching Base has recently received from a daughter who has arranged for a mature-aged sex worker to regularly visit her elderly father.
I would really like to share my family’s story.
My father is 91 and now resides in an aged care facility. He has been a widower for 40 years and has been diagnosed with dementia.
Since being in there his dementia has resulted in an increased sex drive which was starting to cause problems for the female staff and residents.
The head of the facility had heard of Touching Base and we all started researching how it worked and how it may help Dad.
We were contacted by a lovely mature sex worker, who answered all our questions, gave us a run-down of what her services were, listened to us and what we thought would be beneficial for our father and then visited Dad.
She now sees him about once every 4-6 weeks and it has drastically reduced the number of times he has tried to touch the women at the facility and his sometimes overtly sexual behaviour.
He seems more settled and happier.
We couldn’t recommend Touching Base more highly
Thank you
Sophia *(name changed to protect privacy)
Lets Not Forget To Talk About Sex

On our website there is a fascinating presentation by our Secretary Janna Taylor, where she sensitively describes some of the ways dementia may impact on a person’s sexuality and the influence of staff on sexual expression.  Follow this link and scroll down the page to this unique 7 minute podcast:
A women sits at a desk reading from a sheet of paper in front of her. The subtitle text says - But your body still calls to you in a the way that asks for touch, for comfort, for release.


You Can't Ask That
ABC television got in touch with us about their new series called You Can't Ask That.
It's a ten-part factual series that breaks down stereotypes by asking marginalised Australian communities the questions you'd never ask them face to face. The Guardian called it "extremely genuine and heartfelt" while The Australian called it "illuminating, moving at times and often laugh-out-loud". They asked us to help spread the word, and hopefully you will enjoy hearing the program’s where sex workers and wheelchair users answer sensitive questions with humour and patience.

Making a donation

A big thank you to members who have been making monthly donations. What a great way to show your ongoing support for our work and you don’t 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 © 2016 Touching Base Inc., All rights reserved.

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