Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic) and the Association of Participating Service Users (APSU) have worked in partnership to support Harm Reduction Peer Workers (HRPW’s) working in mainstream harm reduction services for the last 4 years.
We have been able to build on this network and increase the regularity, length, depth and frequency of meetings and support interventions. The partnership will continue to support, mentor, and build on the skills of HRPW’s funded through Reducing Harmful Drug Use Through Peer-led Network (RHDUPLN).
We have secured funding to build this living experience workforce and have now become Fuse Initiatives, which includes the very important Fuse Networks (the Victorian living experience community of practice) that offers peer to peer support for this workforce.
Fuse Initiatives incorporates greater “meaningful involvement of people who use drugs” and “Nothing about us without us” as core principles and practices, in the development of Fuse Initiatives.
This project is integral to building a strong and resilient living experience workforce and discipline and aligning the sector to better understand peer engagement and in turn offer the best possible service delivery to benefit the health and wellbeing of all PWUD accessing services
Victoria has fantastic peer workforces with a range of goals and communities and experiences. We all utilize our experiences to work with our communities.
These are some definitions of the specific workforce that Fuse is supporting:
• Harm Reduction Peer Worker- someone who is in a defined peer role that brings living experience to their role. They are affected by similar issues – ie. health issues, such as overdose or blood borne virus transmission - as the community they work with and support
• Living Experience -Is someone who is accepted by the community of people who use drugs (PWUD) as being part of that community. Their experience of issues related to illicit drug use is current.
• PWUD – People who use and or inject drugs.
The Primary Aims
Provide a support function for HRPW’s through Fuse Networks (the Victorian living experience community of practice)
Coordinate, convene and co-chair the Fuse Initiatives Advisory Group (FIAG). FIAG has been developed and will help HRVIC and APSU engage with the funders, PLN stakeholders and HRPWs and encourage transparent information flow between all the key stakeholders
Coordinate a Harm Reduction Peer Workforce strategic approach across Victoria
Engage with all stakeholders, and enhance their understanding of the principle of meaningful involvement of people who use drugs, and ensure that it is a practice at the centre any work being delivered and asked of the living experience workforce and the programs they work in
Key Focus Areas Of Fuse Initiatives
Offer support, mentoring, peer supervision to all HRPWs working in designated roles in AOD and Harm Reduction
Affirm that support strategies meet the needs of the HRPWs, use yearly HRPW consultation outcomes to inform our strategies
Develop support & supervision frameworks to outline pathways between support intervention to One-on-One peer supervision
Develop confidential, non – identifiable means for capturing themes for support interventions
Offer support to workers with living experience in non-designated roles, where possible and appropriate
• Provide workforce development opportunities
• Provide training opportunities for all HRPW’s via different platforms and meet individual skill development needs
• Undertake ongoing training needs analysis development through consultation and feedback from HRPWs
• Develop organisational readiness training, audits, and stigma and discrimination training for all staff that may work with HRPW’s with a living experience lens
• Sector development and training to support a greater understanding of the benefits of the living experience peer workforce
• Develop strategic framework to guide the strengthening of the living experience workforce in Victoria