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What is the research study about?

You are invited to take part in the UnLEASH research study. UnLEASH explores lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women’s health and wellbeing and the relationship with smoking, drinking and using drugs.

You have been invited to take part because you have indicated that you are an LBQ woman and have expressed interest in participating in the study, via response to our online advertisements.



This research is being carried out by a group of researchers and community health experts who have decades of experience conducting research with LGBTIQ people or on tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, and who are committed to advancing the health of LBQ women.


The study is being carried out by the following researchers:

Chief Investigator: Dr Sonja Memedovic, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Co-investigators:  Dr Julie Mooney-Somers (University of Sydney), Dr Nicola Black (Macquarie University), Professor Louisa Degenhardt (NDARC, UNSW), Dr Mo Hammoud (Kirby Institute, UNSW), Associate Professor Garrett Prestage (Kirby Institute, UNSW), Associate Professor Adam Bourne (Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe), and Dr Toby Lea (Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW).


Research Funder: This research is being funded by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, which receives funding from the Australian Government Department of Health under the Drug and Alcohol Program.


To be eligible to participate in this study, you will need to:

  • Be aged 16 years or older

  • Identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer, or another non-heterosexual identity (e.g. pansexual)

  • Identity as a woman (cisgender or transgender)

  • Currently live in Australia

  • Provide your email address and/or phone number to take part in the follow up studies. 



Participation in this research study is voluntary. If you do not wish to take part, you do not have to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw from the study at any stage. Your decision on whether or not to take part will not affect your relationship with the organisations involved in this project or any service you receive care from.


What does participation in this research require, and are there any risks involved?

If you decide to take part in this research study, you will be asked to:

  • Read this information carefully

  • Complete one online survey now

  • Complete follow-up surveys in 3 months and 12 months to help us understand how LBQ women’s beliefs and experiences of smoking, drinking and using drugs change and their relationship to health and wellbeing change over the time. 

  • Provide us with an email address (and optional mobile phone number) so that we can reach out to you when it is time to complete the follow-up surveys (this information will be stored separately from your survey answers to ensure that your survey responses remain confidential).

You don't have to give your name...


...and if you give your email address / mobile number, these will not be stored with your responses. We also do not collect IP addresses.


The first survey: If you decide to take part in this research study, we will ask you to complete an online survey. The survey will take approximately 45 minutes to complete and will cover a range of topics including general information about you (demographics), ii) tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use patterns and behaviours, iii) health and wellbeing (including mental health topics such as depression, anxiety, experiences of trauma, and self-harm), iv) experiences of discrimination and stigma, v) intimate relationships (including experiences of intimate partner violence), vi) health service access and use, vii), community and social connection, and vii) your thoughts about follow up studies. You don’t have to complete the whole survey in one go - you will receive an email with a link to the survey (when you sign up) and you can use that link to return to the survey at another time.


Follow-up surveys: The follow-up surveys will be shorter than 45 minutes but similar in content to the first survey. The follow-up surveys will focus on how LBQ women’s beliefs and experiences related to smoking, drinking and drug use, and their relationship to health and wellbeing, change over time.


Reimbursement and incentives: You will be given the option to be entered into a prize draw on completion of each survey. Once you have completed the survey, you will be redirected to a secure link where you can select whether you would like to enter the prize draw by ticking a checkbox and entering your email address (if you have not already done so during the consent process).


The prize draw for the first survey is a chance to win one of 10 x $50 GiftPay vouchers. There will be similar prize draws for the second and third survey, the details will be announced when it is time to complete them. Prizes will be drawn on 14 days after the surveys close. If there is no response from recipients within 14 days, prizes will be re-drawn.


You may feel that some of the questions we ask are stressful or upsetting. If you do not wish to answer a question, you may skip it and move on to the next question, or stop and exit the survey. If at any stage during the study you become distressed or require additional support, please call:

  • QLife 1800 184 527; (3pm-midnight)

  • Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours)

  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (24 hours)

  • National Alcohol & Other Drug Hotline: 1800 250 015

  • Family Drug Support 24-hour line: 1300 368 186

  • 1800RESPECT (sexual assault and domestic / family violence helpline): 1800 737 732


You will be able to access this list of support services during and at the end of the survey, and on our project website (visit the Support Services tab).




Although we cannot promise that you will experience any direct benefits from this study, we hope the results will provide us with an understanding of the needs and concerns of LBQ women people in relation to smoking, drinking and drug use. We also hope that we will be able to use this information to improve access to appropriate support services for this group in the future. 


what will happen to information about me?


By ticking the ’I give consent’ box on the next page, you agree (consent) to us collecting and using information about you for the study.


Survey data will be collected using a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases. Data entered into this application are stored on UNSW Sydney’s servers, which provides increased security. Your data will be kept for a minimum of 7 years after the completion of the research.

All information we collect from you will be stored securely and treated confidentially. We will not give your information to anyone without your permission or except as required by law.


Your information will only be used for publication of ‘group level’ or aggregate data. We aim to publish the results of this study in a variety of ways, including reports for people in government and for the public, as well as academic journal articles.  You will not be identified in any of these publications; any information that might identify you will be anonymised or removed.

If you join the study for the 1-year period, the information about you will be stored in a:

  • Re-identifiable format, where any identifiers such as your email address and mobile number will be replaced with a unique code.

  • Any potentially identifying information (such as your email or mobile number) will only be used to send you your follow-up survey and will be stored separately from your survey responses to ensure that your responses remain confidential.

  • Your contact information will be erased from the system upon completion of the follow-up survey, or if you choose to withdraw your consent.


We may seek permission from participants who join the study for 1 year to join a longer study (subject to funding); you would be under no obligation to agree. You will be asked to provide your consent for the research team to contact you in the future about continuing on in the study. Data will not be shared with other researchers.

How and when will I find out what the results of the study are?


The research team intend to publish and report the results of the research. All information will be published in a way that will not identify you.

If you would like to receive a copy of the results you can let the research team know by ticking a checkbox at the end of the survey. If you choose this option, you will receive an email containing an overview of the survey results after each stage of data collection. You will also be able to access this information, as well as other dissemination information from this project webpage (and Facebook page).

What if I want to withdraw from the research study?

If you do consent to participate, you may withdraw at any time. You can do so by completing the ‘Withdrawal of Consent Form’ which will be emailed to you. Alternatively, you can email the research team and tell them you no longer want to participate. If you decide to leave the research study, the researchers will destroy any information that has already been collected and no additional information will be collected from you.


Your decision not to participate or to withdraw from the study will not affect your relationship with the organisations involved in this project.


The information you provide is personal information for the purposes of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW). You have the right of access to personal information held about you by the University, the right to request correction and amendment of it, and the right to make a compliant about a breach of the Information Protection Principles as contained in the PPIP Act.  Further information on how the University protects personal information is available in the UNSW Privacy Management Plan.


What should I do if I have further questions about my involvement in the research study?



The person you may need to contact will depend on the nature of your query.

If you require further information regarding this study or if you have any problems which may be related to your involvement in the study, you can contact the following member/s of the research team:

Name: Dr Sonja Memedovic

Position: Chief Investigator

Telephone: 02 9065 8117


If you require additional support from someone not involved in the research, a list of Support Resources is available.



If you have a complaint regarding any aspect of the study or the way it is being conducted, please contact the UNSW Human Ethics Coordinator:

Position: Human Research Ethics Coordinator

Telephone: + 61 2 9385 6222

HC Reference number: HC200711

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