Action for Equity

A sexual and reproductive health plan for Melbourne’s west

Melbourne’s west is lagging behind the rest of the state on a range of sexual and reproductive health indicators:

  • Rates of STIs such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia continue to rise, especially among young people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • Cervical screening rates among young women are significantly lower than the state average

Action for Equity: a sexual and reproductive health strategy for Melbourne’s west 2018-2022 is a four-year sexual and reproductive health promotion plan, developed to redress the social determinants of sexual and reproductive health inequities experienced by a range of communities in the region. It follows the ambitious yet highly successful Action for Equity 2013-2017, a strategy which supported law reform, successful social marketing, workforce development and at least 17 new health promotion programs across the region.

Action for Equity incorporates primary prevention initiatives across a range of settings and sectors that work to redress the social determinants of sexual and reproductive health inequities to achieve health equity.

The plan is supported by a collaborative partnership of 14 organisations, including women’s and community health services, local and state government, ethno-specific organisations, a primary care partnership and primary health network. The plan is led by Women’s Health West.

The plan continues to be a great example of organisations working collaboratively to improve sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing of the entire region.

Action for Equity’s vision is a community where everyone has the:

  • Freedom to express their gender, sex, sexuality and individuality
  • The right to healthy, respectful relationships and a pleasurable sex life
  • The right to control decision making, to support active and informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health free from violence (including reproductive coercion), stigma and discrimination
  • Equitable access to health services and programs that are inclusive and culturally sensitive and appropriate

Recognising that factors influencing sexual and reproductive health lie at multiple and interacting levels of influence, Action for Equity incorporates a range of mutually reinforcing objectives that work at the individual, community and societal level. Some strategies in the plan include:

  • Supporting the continued rollout of sexuality and respectful relationships education in a range of settings;
  • Partnering with specialist organisations to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV or STI status;
  • Increasing Rainbow Tick accreditation among services in the west to support inclusive service provision for the LGBTIQ community;
  • Advocating for a range of harm reduction strategies, including a medically supervised injecting room in Melbourne’s west and;
  • Increasing access to affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare, including medical abortion.

Download the plan here, and if you have any queries about our work in this area, please contact  Susan Timmins, Action For Equity Team Leader on 9689 9588.

Current Action for Equity partners