News and Events

Our Community, Our Rights

Hope for a New Beginning

The first phase of Our Community, Our Rights (OCOR) – comprising human rights based advocacy workshops, and project development support with South Sudanese women in the west – is complete.

Participants engaged in a sequence of seven human rights based advocacy workshops on topics including racism and discrimination, health, rights at work and in education and safety. WHW then supported them to plan their own human rights based advocacy project on a topic they identified as important to their community.

As a result OCOR participants developed Hope for a New Beginning a project designed to work with the Equatorian South Sudanese community to understand the problem of violence against women and begin to identify solutions. The project group consulted extensively with community leaders to gain their support and then ran a day-long workshop on Saturday 25 August at Footscray Uniting Church.


WHW in the media

Check out these three articles in the Age describing the need for increased funds for family violence support services.

Children victims of funds shortfall

22 August 2012 | The Age
At least a thousand children left traumatised after witnessing domestic violence in Melbourne each year are missing out on specialist counselling because of funding shortfalls. Women’s Health West said that in 2009-10… 3150 children in Melbourne’s west saw family violence. CEO Robyn Gregory said… WHW had government funding for only 1.6 full-time positions and was able to offer its specialist counselling service to only 86 of these children.

Victims of state crime rise forgotten

22 August 2012 | The Age
THE Coalition won office vowing to ”get tough on crime”. Recent crime rises are entirely driven by domestic violence… Yet the state budget ignored the associated needs of tens of thousands of victims of domestic violence. The agencies that work to protect them face a funding crisis… The latest $40 million blowout in the PSO program is about 13 times the total budget for Women’s Health West, the sole agency for domestic violence victims in Melbourne’s west.

Domestic violence services in crisis

21 August 2012 | The Age
VICTORIA’S domestic violence agencies are facing a crisis as cash-strapped services struggle to cope with a surge in cases, leaving women more exposed to violent situations. Robyn Gregory, of Women’s Health West, the only service agency in Melbourne’s west, said…it meant staff were being removed from managing women trapped in complex situations because they were responding to the crisis cases.

Director wins young leader award!

WHW heartily congratulates our board director Cath Bateman who just received the Sally Isaac Memorial Scholarship Fund Award!

The $10 000 scholarship award aims to foster and encourage future young female leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to improve community life.

Cath’s lengthy list of achievements includes running more than 30 programs with over 400 young women, starting two feminist websites and globe-trotting to represent Australia at conferences in Hong Kong, Zurich and Istanbul. The scholarship will support Cath’s studies in feminist economics.

We also want to highlight and congratulate WHW health promotion worker, Kirsten Campbell who was shortlisted for the award in recognition of her fabulous work to prevent violence against women, race-based discrimination and economic insecurity. Brilliant work Kirsten!

WHW is extremely proud to have been so well represented at the awards and thanks Local Government Professionals and the Australian Communities Foundation for providing a forum to recognise young women’s achievements and develop their potential.

Sexting: New laws needed to combat violence against women

Women’s Health West is dedicated to women’s health, safety and wellbeing. We recognise that women’s sexual decision-making occurs within the contexts of gender-based power imbalances, gender stereotypes and social norms. This is not a new phenomenon and it is appropriate that young people explore and express their sexuality in a healthy, equitable, respectful, consensual and developmentally ‘normal’ way. What is problematic is when sexual expression – through any medium – replicates and reinforces inequitable gender power relations between men and women.

Like all sexual practices, sexting does not occur in the abstract. The sexualisation of young women in contemporary culture, media and the internet, creates a broader context within which young people engage in sexual activity and sexual decision-making, including sexting. However, the electronic and online nature of sexting means the practice presents significant new and real concerns, particularly for young people. The very nature of information and communication technologies mean that once an image has been created electronically it can very quickly and easily be transmitted, without the control or consent of the subject/participant. The consequences for young people engaging in sexting present significant health, social and legal implications.

This year, the Law Reform Committee of the Parliament of Victoria sought recommendations regarding the incidence and prevalence of sexting among young people, the effectiveness of existing education and awareness initiatives, and the appropriateness of current laws that can be applied to the practice.


Grant success for respectful relationships!

WHW was successful in our funding application to Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) for a three-year respectful relationships education program with young people.

This is great news, especially because it allows us to strengthen and broaden our prevention of violence against women work in the region.

Project snapshot

Me, You and Us is a multi-faceted program that uses a peer education model to train and support forty-eight young women (18 to 24 years) to become ‘youth ambassadors’ in the primary prevention of violence against women through the delivery of respectful relationships education in youth organisations and to senior primary school students in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne.