EXIT SITE

Submissions

Women’s Health West engages in advocacy designed to change the structural factors that cause and maintain the conditions under which women and their children face discrimination. The titles below link to our submissions to government in response to white papers, inquiries, legislation and the like.

September 2016

Submission to the Family Violence Information Sharing Legisation Consultation

Victorian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet

Changes to the family violence information sharing legislation will provide sustainable system-wide improvements that support the safety of women and children affected by family violence, hold perpetrators to account, and reduce the incidence of family violence in Victoria. Women’s Health West supports legislation that is clear and concise and enables front-line practitioners to effectively apply it in practice.

Women’s Health West’s recommendations further strengthen the proposed family violence information sharing regime.

March 2016

Submission to the Federal Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality

Senate Finance and Public Administration Committees

Women’s Health West welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback to the Federal Government for the Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality. We provided fourteen recommendations. Our submission highlighted the various ways in which rigid gender stereotypes contribute to cultural conditions that fuel family violence as per the terms of reference provided by the Federal Government. We also included key measures to redress gender inequity as a key driver of family violence, including promoting women’s participation in leadership and decision making roles, redressing the pay and superannuation gap, increasing paid parental leave entitlements and funding accessible childcare services across Australia.

Submission to the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy

Women and Royal Commission Branch, Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet

The business case for government action on gender equity is clear. It enhances health and wellbeing, quality of life, improves work productivity and economic growth, increases the capacity for learning and education, and contributes to poverty reduction, social inclusion and civic participation. Achieving gender equity for Victorian women and girls is a long-term goal, which requires a long-term strategy. Women’s Health West would like to congratulate the Victorian government on its commitment to achieving gender equity in Victoria via the development of the state’s first Gender Equality Strategy. We deem this a significant milestone for the advancement of equality, safety and justice for Victorian women and girls. Women’s Health West’s submission provides twenty-three recommendations to support and strengthen the effective implementation of this strategy.

January 2016

Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the phenomenon colloquially referred to as ‘revenge porn’

Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee

Women’s Health West deems the Australian Labor Party’s intent to amend the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code) to criminalise ‘revenge porn’ under federal law to be highly important in creating a gender equitable, safe, inclusive and fair Australia for women and girls. We assert that this is a gendered phenomenon and recommend that the federal government respond to ‘revenge porn’ within the broader framework of men’s violence against women.

October 2015

Open letter in support of women’s right to choose

To the Premier, Minister for Health and Minister for Women

This open letter addressed to the Premier, Minister for Health and Minister for Women is written in support of Victoria’s current abortion laws. Women’s Health West is one of 40 signatory organisations to the letter. “We do not support further restrictions on when an abortion can be provided, nor changes to section 8 or any other part of this or any other Act that would reduce women’s access to appropriate, safe and legal abortions.”

September 2015

Victoria’s next 10-year mental health strategy

Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet

Women’s Health West welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback to Victoria’s next 10-year mental health strategy and commends the Victorian government for the development of this strategy. To strengthen the strategy’s capacity to optimise the mental health and wellbeing of all Victorians, WHW recommended a stronger commitment to gender equity and the social determinants that drive good mental health, as well as promoting a society where Victorians live free from violence and discrimination through effective primary prevention, early intervention and response efforts.

August 2015

Inquiry into portability of long service leave entitlements for Victorian workers

Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee, Parliament House

Women’s Health West supports the principle of portable long service leave and is pleased that the Committee will examine existing portable long service leave schemes, the financial and economic impacts of portable long service leave arrangements and whether alternative mechanisms could better meet the objectives of such a scheme. Our recommendations proposed a cost neutral model that ensures against a loss of funds to support service delivery, that funds be provided to support additional costs of portability, that a business impact assessment and consultation is undertaken prior to implementation, that the model be administratively simple and that it includes a wide range of sectors.

Victorian Residential Tenancies Act Review

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Women’s Health West welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback and recommendations to the Laying the Groundwork – Consultation Paper for the Residential Tenancies Act 2007. Our eight recommendations included a call for sex-disaggregated data pertaining to tenancy and embedding gender-responsive principles in the new Act, the development of a long-term affordable housing strategy, a dedicated supply of low cost housing to means tested households, protections for tenants so they are not discriminated against due to factors unrelated to tenancy, improved measures to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness for women who can safely stay in their housing, and establishing a rapid rehousing program to assist women and children escaping family violence.

June 2015

Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into abuse within Disability Services

Family and Community Development Committee

WHW welcomed the opportunity to provide evidence and recommendations for the Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services and commend the Victorian Government for initiating this inquiry. Our nine recommendations included a call for the collection of sex disaggregated data regarding incidence of abuse within disability services, a state-wide gender audit of disability services, examination of the evidence base for preventing violence against women for preventing abuse within the disability service system, funding for disability service providers to implement workplace primary prevention strategies, funding for primary prevention programs and compulsory training for services responding to disclosures or suspicion of abuse.

May 2015

Re-think Tax Discussion Paper

Tax White Paper Task Force

WHW are clear that the current taxation arrangements for workers in the NFP sector offer a more competitive wage than would otherwise be possible through funding alone. If tax benefits such as salary packaging were removed, NFPs would require an increase in funding to continue to offer the equivalent in wages.

Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence

Submission from Women’s Health West
Family violence response and family violence prevention, as separate but interlinked systems of effort, promise to deliver a society in which all Victorian women and their children can live free from violence. To achieve this we require sustained effort, focus, investment and strategic intent, from government and community. The recommendations put forward in this submission have been developed with this in mind. We see them as steps that will have the greatest impact in the short and medium term, to achieve the longer-term goal of a society in which violence against women is no longer tolerated or conceivable.

Submission from the Preventing Violence Together partnership
Women’s Health West leads this regional partnership that works together to prevent violence against women in the west. These eight recommendations were formulated in a collaborative process that reflects the views of all eighteen members.

Getting serious about change: the building blocks for effective primary prevention of men’s violence against women in Victoria
Joint statement from the following organisations and peak membership bodies:

  • CASA Forum Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault  
  • Domestic Violence Victoria
  • Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
  • No To Violence
  • Our Watch
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
  • Women with Disabilities Victoria
  • Women’s Health Association of Victoria (Women’s Health West is a member organisation)
  • Women’s Health Victoria

Submission from the peak body for Victorian women’s health services, Women’s Health Association of Victoria

Women’s Health West is a member of the Women’s Health Association of Victoria and contributed to this submission that focuses on the prevention of family violence.

  • Women’s Health Victoria
  • Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
  • Women’s Health In the North
  • Women’s Health in the Southeast
  • Women’s Health East
  • Women’s Health West
  • Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West
  • Women’s Health Grampians
  • Women’s Health Loddon Mallee
  • Women’s Health Goulburn North East
  • Gippsland Women’s Health

Submission from the Western Integrated Family Violence Partnership (Women and Children)

Women’s Health West is a member of the Western Integrated Family Violence Partnership (Women and Children) and contributed to this submission that focusses on the regional and statewide structures that will support integration and thus an improvement of the family violence response system.

  • Women’s Health West
  • cohealth Community Health Centre
  • McAuley Community Services for Women
  • MacKillop Family Services
  • Elizabeth Morgan House

Family violence, homelessness and affordable housing

Women’s Health West is a signatory to this joint submission from 129 organisations calling for urgent investment in affordable housing and services in Victoria to address the current links between family violence, housing and homelessness across the state.

July 2014

Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into Domestic Violence in Australia

Parliament of Australia
WHW provided 19 recommendations to this parliamentary inquiry into domestic violence outlining practical measures to promote gender equity, dedicated funding for primary prevention of violence against women across key sectors including respectful relationships education, continued funding of programs designed to prevent women and children from becoming homeless as a result of domestic violence and review current levels of funding to ensure services are able to meet increasing demand.

July 2014

Joint letter to the Attorney General regarding the Federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner’s role

Together with six other signatories, WHW wrote in support of the continuation of the federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner’s role, which will become vacant in July 2014. We consider the role as an essential mechanism for progressing the rights of Australians with disabilities, and value the nonpartisan, high-level leadership the commissioner provides.

April 2014

Response to proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975

Following an open letter signed by 155 organisations in Dec 2013, WHW again recommended against repealing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. Unaltered, the Act provides a strong statement from government that racist behaviour is unacceptable in all areas of Australian society. We argued that repealing Section 18C would dilute efforts to combat racism in Australia.

March 2014

Submission to the Review of the National Curriculum

Australian Government Department of Education
WHW recommended that respectful relationships education be more specifically and consistently included across the Australian curriculum and other relevant learning areas. We also recommended the inclusion of both age appropriate and relevant sexuality education, that respects the diversity of human relationships and includes HIV/AIDS and STI prevention information.

March 2014

Victorian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) Health and Wellbeing Plan

Women’s Health West participated in the community consultations to inform the development of a health and wellbeing plan for the GLBTI community, which is proposed in the Victorian Health Priorities Framework 2012-2022. Our submission argues that action is needed across multiple settings where GLBTI communities experience violence and discrimination. We also highlight lack of specialised sexual and reproductive services that are youth and GLBTI friendly in Melbourne’s west, in comparison with other regions.

February 2014

Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Social Inclusion for People with a Disability

WHW’s submission argues for need to redress harmful stereotypes, stigma and violence that undermine the health and wellbeing of people with a disability and contribute to their exclusion from social life. We recommend that intersectional experiences of gender and disability are given greater attention in policy planning and development, particularly in relation to access to sexual and reproductive health services, information and education, and initiatives to prevent and respond to violence against women with a disability.

January 2014

AHRC National Review pregnancy and work discrimination submission

Australian Human Rights Commission

WHW’s submission argues gender stereotypes have a significant impact on discrimination in the workplace related to pregnancy, parental leave and returning to work after parental leave, resulting in different experiences and consequences for women and men. We recommend stronger education, capacity building initiatives and action to enforce workplace laws relating to pregnancy and parenting discrimination, including strategies for negotiating flexible workplace practice.

September 2013

Stakeholder engagement and the National Research Agenda

National Centre for Excellence to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children

WHW’s submission argues that in working towards a society in which all women and their children are free from violence, it is vital that we undertake significant work in the prevention of violence against women before it occurs – namely, primary prevention. The NCE are ideally placed to provide the national leadership that Australia strongly needs in building the evidence for effective primary prevention practice.

April 2013

Inquiry into Health Insurance Amendment (Medicare Funding for Certain Types of Abortion) Bill 2013

Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration – Legislation Committee

WHW’s submission, based on Women’s Health Victoria’s submission, recommends not to pass the Health Insurance Amendment (Medicare Funding for Certain Types of Abortion) Bill into law. While we do not support sex selective abortion, there is little evidence to suggest it is prevalent in Australia. Restrictions on abortion are not an appropriate way of dealing with gender inequality as they can impact on women’s access to abortion in general.

April 2013

Towards a more effective and sustainable community services system

Victorian Council of Social Service

WHW argued that given the history of chronic underfunding of the community services sector, it is highly unlikely that reform will be achieved without the leverage of additional investment to make the system and capacity changes that are necessary to support reform.

March 2013

Comments on the proposed changes to pregnancy termination laws in Tasmania

Population Health Equity Branch, DH&HS, Tasmania
Women’s Health West responded to the draft Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill that is designed to bring laws related to termination of pregnancy into line with current clinical practice and community attitudes in Tasmania. We support the proposed legislation.

February 2013

Senate inquiry into involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia

Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs

WHW’s submission argues that forced sterilisation is a gendered practice and a violation of human rights that has its origins not only in the historical control of women’s bodies and their sexual and reproductive lives, but also in the discrimination and exclusion of people with a disability from society. We advocate for its prohibition by law, as well as a number of non-legislative measures to prevent the demand in society for such procedures.

June 2012

Victorian Law Reform Inquiry into Sexting

Law Reform Committee
WHW advocated for law reform and a clearer recognition of the gendered nature of sexting and the propensity of the practice to be harmful, non-consensual and a form of violence against women.

Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Service Reform response

Department of Health
WHW advocated for a gender sensitive approach to be embedded within the PDRSS reform framework, as well as a series of recommendations aimed to better ensure that supports and services for women and girls enhance recovery and wellbeing.

May 2012

Child Aware Initiative Approach

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Funding application for a specialist family violence consultant model aimed at building the capacity of mainstream and specialist services to better respond to the multiple and complex needs of children affected by family violence.

May 2012

National Anti-Racism Strategy

WHW recommends ways the strategy can be strengthened to ensure that people’s – particularly women and girl’s – rights to liberty and freedom from racial discrimination, violence and prejudice are protected and upheld.

March 2012

Action Plan Consultation Framework for Addressing Violence Against Women and their Children

WHW provided a full written submission, as well as a joint submission as part of the Women’s Health Association of Victoria, with over forty recommendations to government.

January 2012

Public comment on the draft Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012

WHW believe this amendment will strengthen Australia’s criminal justice response to human trafficking, forced marriage, forced labour and other slavery-like practices

November 2011

Victorian Men’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy

WHW endorsed the Women’s Health Victoria submission that set out eleven strong, evidence-based recommendations for the men’s health and wellbeing strategy

October 2011

Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2011-2015

This submission outlines WHW recommendations on how the state government can better ensure that the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2011-2015 achieves sustainable, equitable health outcomes for all Victorians.

October 2011

Brimbank Community Safety Strategy

WHW provided Brimbank City Council with gendered feedback on their community safety strategy suggesting the strategy place a greater emphasis on family violence, including prevention strategies.

September 2011

Submission in response to the discussion paper on the proposed ‘Failure to Protect’ legislation

Women’s Health Association of Victoria, North West Metropolitan Region Integrated Family Violence Forum, and the Integrated Family Violence Services System endorse Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria’s submission and call on the Victorian Government not to go ahead with its proposed ‘Failure to protect’ legislation. We strongly oppose the proposed laws that will increase women’s vulnerability to family violence without protecting children from violence and abuse

August 2011

Women’s Health Association of Victoria: Proposal for the inclusion of prevention of violence against women as a state-wide health promotion priority

Victoria is a leader in the primary prevention of violence against women. This proposal presents the case for incorporating violence against women as a new state-wide health promotion priority. This presents a major opportunity for the state government to further enhance this position and lead decisive action to reduce and prevent the significant social, economic and health costs of violence against women

June 2011

Victorian Health Priorities Framework 2012-2022: Metropolitan Health Plan

WHW advocated for a greater focus on preventing ill health and ensuring Victorian health services are responsive to the health, safety and wellbeing of women in metropolitan Melbourne

June 2011

WIFVP (for Women and Children) Response to Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry

WIFVP responded to state inquiry into child protection to inform the government on ways to reduce child abuse with regard to the effectiveness of existing systems and enhancements to protect children

June 2011

Inquiry into the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006

WHW and Western Region Health Centre coordinated a submission with 33 recommendations to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulation Committee inquiry of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 on behalf of 8 other community and women’s health services. WHW urged the government not to strip rights during this process and outlined ways they could strengthen the protection of Victorian women’s social, economic and cultural rights.

June 2011

WIFVP Endorsement of the ‘Count Us In!’ Submission

The Victorian Regional Homelessness Networkers submitted a response to the Counting the Homeless 2006 methodological review

May 2011

Response to City of Melbourne ‘Strategy for a Safer City 2011-2013’

WHW highlighted the absence of methods to prevent violence against women in the current strategy

April 2011

WHAV Proposal for a Victorian Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy

WHW contributed to the WHAV proposal to the Minister for Health and Minister for Women’s Affairs regarding the need for a state-wide sexual and reproductive health strategy

February 2011

Forced and Servile Marriage Discussion Paper

WHW recommended the Federal Attorney-General’s Criminal Justice Department introduce legislative and non-legislative reforms to end forced marriage and ensure that women and girls’ human rights to freedom and integrity are protected and upheld

February 2011

Gender Responsive Budget

WHW advocated for gender responsive budgeting in the development of Maribyrnong City Council’s 2011-2012 budget

January 2011

WIFVP Submission to the Family Law (Family Violence) Bill 2010

WIFVP contributed to the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010 with reference to women and children who experience family violence

November 2010

Medicare Locals – Governance and Functions Discussion Paper

WHW responded to the discussion paper on governance and functions submitted to Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing as part of the National Health Reform

September 2010

Advertising Ethics

WHW advocated that the Australian Association of National Advertisers review of their code of ethics direct the fashion, media and advertising industries to play an active role in bringing about long-term cultural change and protect the interests and rights of consumers, particularly women and girls

September 2010

Medicare Locals – Feedback on potential boundaries

WHW provided feedback on potential boundaries for Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks submitted to Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing as part of the National Health Reform

August 2010

Letter to Deputy Premier and discussions with DHS Director

Advocated for a funding structure review to bring funding for refuges into line with other family violence services

November 2009

10 Point Plan for Victorian Women’s Health 2010-2014

The 10 point plan calls for a whole of government strategy and action plan for improving women’s health

June 2009

Submission to the Commonwealth Government regarding the development of a new National Women’s Health Policy

WHW supported four out of the five principles proposed to underpin the policy, recommending a diversity approach over a lifecourse approach and supporting the five priority areas set out by the Australian Women’s Health Network

November 2008

Local Government Capacity Building Project: Safe, Well and Connected

WHW, working with other women’s health organisations across Victoria, asked Council candidates to commit to the Safe, Well and Connected: Victorian Local Government Action Plan for Women’s Health 2008-2012