If you knew that men’s violence against women was caused by gender inequality and you wanted to set things right, how would you go about it? You’d probably want to get lots of people involved at all levels of society – influential ones would be good. Imagine collecting all the leaders in a room and talking to them about what they could do to end violence against women.
That’s just what the Western Metropolitan Regional Management Forum did on 25 June. One hundred and thirty community and business leaders from Melton, Brimbank, Moonee Valley and Hobsons Bay gathered to listen to Tim Cartwright, Acting Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, paint a picture of just how prevalent men’s violence against women is in the western region.
He was followed by Professor Bob Pease, Chair of Social Work at Deakin University, who described how gender role theory and sexism are linked to men’s violence against women. Bob went on to outline a list of twenty really simple and practical things men can do to challenge sexism such as listening when women are talking without interrupting them.
Fiona McCormack, Domestic Violence Victoria CEO, then debunked the myths and exposed the causes. For example, it’s quite common to hear people ask ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ This question absolves the man of his actions and encourages the woman to take on the blame.
Women’s Health West CEO Dr Robyn Gregory went on to describe the prevalence of family violence. Women’s Health West now receive around 800 police referrals a month. But it’s preventable: Robyn spoke about the Preventing Violence Together Partnership for the western region, and how local leaders can get involved. She described practical actions leaders could take in their workplaces to change workplace culture, influence policies and conditions that maintain gender inequity, embed gender equity in staff recruitment and monitor their organisational progress toward this absolutely achievable goal.
The Action for Equity partnership is excited to announce that condom vending machines have been installed in the public toilets at Footscray Library.
Access to condoms is a key public health consideration, because using condoms and lubricant consistently and correctly can prevent the transmission of sexually transmissible infections (STIs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and blood borne viruses, and can protect against unwanted pregnancies.
Research shows that the male condom is the single most efficient available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other STIs. Research also suggests that young people, particularly young men, prefer to access low-cost condoms from semi-private places such as local parks, school toilets and shopping malls.
So while the machines might seem pretty ordinary, they can support big outcomes for the sexual and reproductive health of people in the west.
Installing these machines is part of a regional strategy to improve access and availability to condoms by increasing the number of vending machines in public places. Women’s Health West, on behalf of the partnership, would like to acknowledge Maribyrnong City Council for implementing the condom vending machine project within the City of Maribyrnong.
The condom vending machine project is one of a number of objectives under Action for Equity, the sexual and reproductive health plan for Melbourne’s west.
For more information about the project, please contact us on 9689 9588.
The new condom vending machines at Footscray Library are unassuming but mighty.
Photo by Chiedza Malunga
12 June 2015 | Brimbank Leader
WOMEN’S Health West will be able to offer counselling to an extra 56 children a year, thanks to a much needed cash injection from the State Government. The government has announced a $3.5 million boost to counselling services for survivors of family violence across the state.
The government’s statement said the money would be allocated according to need, with six areas — including Melbourne’s west — facing the greatest demand. Women’s Health West chief executive Dr Robyn Gregory said the organisation was “very pleased” to be given $108,584 for the 2015-16 financial year, although some of the money would come through before then.
Read more here.
More women’s services needed in the west to cope with crisis
10 June 2015 | Moonee Valley Leader
VICTIMS of family violence in Melbourne’s West are not getting the support they need owing to a significant shortage in refuges. Women’s Health West chief executive Dr Robyn Gregory says the west needs at least two more refuges to cater for victims. The western suburbs urgently need at least two more refuges for women who are fleeing extreme family violence, the head of Women’s Health West says.
9 June 2015 | Wyndham Leader
WYNDHAM is in desperate need of a refuge for women fleeing family violence and Women’s Health West wants the State Government to act. In a submission to the Federal Government’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, the service said the population growth in the west had meant women and children escaping violent homes were facing “huge unmet needs” because the region did not have enough shelters to accommodate them.