Safe access zones a proposal for reform in Western Australia

10 February 2020

This Report on ‘Safe access zones – A proposal for reform in Western Australia’ presents the recommendations from the Department of Health to the Minister for Health on the question of whether there is value introducing legislation to establish safe access zones in Western Australia around abortion services and other health services.

The policy outcome is to ensure patients can access health services, including abortion services, without fear of harassment or intimidation. The right to safety, privacy, dignity and respect when accessing health care is a right that should be protected. The same protection should also be available to staff who work at these health services.

The State Government has announced it will legislate to establish safe access zones around premises that provide abortion services in Western Australia.

The legislation is now being drafted and is expected to be introduced into Parliament later this year.

In considering an appropriate approach to protect the safety and wellbeing of patients and staff, a Discussion Paper was released by the Department of Health in April 2019. The Discussion Paper sought community feedback on the value of introducing safe access zone legislation in WA, including feedback on key considerations in the design of a legislative framework.

Community consultation on the Discussion Paper commenced on 17 April 2019 and closed on 31 May 2019 and resulted in significant community and industry engagement, including more than 4,000 submissions from the general public and from more than 40 public and private organisations.