News and Events

Why do we need a sexual and reproductive health strategy for the western region?

Melbourne’s western region is home to many communities that are disproportionately affected by sexual and reproductive ill health.

Action is needed here because our region:

  • Features two of Melbourne’s four designated ‘growth corridors’, resulting in an exponential population growth that exerts enormous pressure on service provision
  • Reported a 64 per cent increase in chlamydia notifications between 2008 and 2011
  • Is home to one in four of Melbourne’s teenage parents
  • Shows an emerging street sex trade in Footscray, which is associated with drug dependence and injecting drug use
  • Hosts five of Victoria’s 14 prisons; this large prison population is known to have poorer sexual and reproductive health outcomes than the general population


Annual general meeting

Join us for a feminist debate on Wednesday 28 November 2012 as we examine the statement:

Children’s health, safety and wellbeing is intrinsically linked to that of women

  • Does promoting women’s link with children as intrinsic act against the interests of feminism by excluding men and tying women’s identity and status to mothering?
  • If you strengthen a woman’s capacity to have control over her decisions and her life, do you increase her capacity to keep her kids safe?
  • Are children’s rights distinct from women’s rights?


Little Picassos secure funds to recover from violence

Children who have experienced family violence now have the opportunity to recover through art thanks to a Commonwealth Bank grant that Women’s Health West received to run Little Picassos – art workshops for creative kids. The therapeutic group will support children aged 5-12 to create art and talk to counsellors about ongoing problems at home or school.

Women’s Health West, a specialist family violence organisation, is enormously grateful to the Commonwealth Bank for these funds. Our two part time children’s counsellors are the only specialist counsellors in the western suburbs who can provide a free service for children suffering trauma following family violence.

‘According to Victoria Police children were present at 2,502 family violence incidents in 2011-12 but during this period WHW was funded to see only 95 children,’ said Sally, WHW Children’s Counsellor.


The Ruby Files

Ruby Roo the kangarooRuby Roo the Kangaroo is one of our children’s counsellors and she has a regular section just for kids in our newsletter, whw news!

Ruby has a new friend called Gruffalo who likes working with children who feel grumpy and cross. Gruffalo knows that children who have gone through family violence sometimes experience strong feelings and talks to children about ways to manage tricky feelings. Ruby has been very busy trying to train Gruffalo to smile and stop being stuck in grumpy feelings.


Children’s case managers and their place in women’s family violence services

Historically women’s family violence outreach services have been funded to provide case management support to women and child protection services have focused on protecting children. This model tended to ignore the reality that assaults against children largely occur in the context of family violence, where women have limited ability to protect their children. Increasingly, children’s rights advocates stress the need for children to have individualised case management services complemented by services that strengthen women’s ability to protect their children.

While WHW are not funded to provide case management support to children, we do include children within a family case plan, including work with schools, supporting children to access counselling services and liaising with child protection. However, we were keen to explore how we could enhance our focus on children.

In a 6 month pilot program WHW employed a children’s case worker for 3 days a week to tackle areas of concern specific to children, including the negative consequences of family violence on the mother-child bond. While other case workers benefited from this pilot it is clear that an ongoing specialist children’s worker would be invaluable.