WHG News and Updates

Welcome to another Sexual and Reproductive Health newsletter. We have much to report on in this edition, we hope you find it valuable – please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want further information or to provide feedback.
Marianne and Paigen recently attended the Family Planning Victoria (FPV) AGM, which included a very engaging presentation by Dr Paddy Moore from the Royal Women’s  on Early Medical Abortion: opportunities and challenges for community based delivery. There was a particular focus on rural and regional areas and Dr Moore indicated her readiness to support rural GPs in providing access to Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTOPs) as part of the commitment by FPV to increase access to a range of family planning options and sexual health services in the Grampians.
 The FPV commitment, which is being planned and implemented in partnership with WHG, includes:
  • Scholarships for a range of clinical courses for doctors and nurses
  • A range of school education programs including, including in-classroom support, relationships and sexuality education workshops and ongoing phone support
  • Locality based tailored professional development sessions for clinical staff – see below

Sexual and Reproductive Health Update – Free Seminars

Horsham – 17 February 2016
Stawell – 3 March 2016
Ballarat – 16 March 2016

Presented by Family Planning Victoria Medical and Nursing staff, Women’s Health Grampians are hosting free full day professional development seminar for nurses, doctors and any other interested community or healthcare workers.
Curriculum to include:
  • Pregnancy testing and unplanned pregnancy options
  • Overview of the unplanned pregnancy and abortion service sector in Victoria
  • Abortion clinical practice overview: consultation, medical & surgical abortion; contraception; LARC & post-operative care
  • Supporting women’s decision making
  • Contraception and sexually transmitted infections update

 Details of all the above opportunities will be circulated when finalised and published on our website. 

We had the pleasure recently of hosting the CEO of The Women’s, Dr Sue Matthews and Executive Director of Strategy and Planning, Allison Kenwood to discuss shared areas of interest. The high rates of teenage pregnancy in some parts of our region continue to be of note, and present an opportunity to undertake joint research into the factors behind this, while continuing to advocate for increased access to information and services including contraception, abortion options and sexual health and wellbeing services.
This, along with our work in advocacy and support for improved access to community based sexual and reproductive health services across the whole Grampians region, is also the focus of our broader partnership work with Ballarat Community Health, the Western Region Primary Health Network, FPV and The Women’s.
In October WHG also re-positioned our staffing, we hope, to improve our ability to serve the large region we cover. Our regionally focused staff can now serve as a direct contact point for you, on both sexual and reproductive health issues, and the prevention of violence against women issues, or more broadly, any issues relating to women’s health and/or gender equality. We envisage this model will support the development of local knowledge and partnerships that is required to address the systemic issues that impact on women’s health. Staff liaisons now cover the following LGAs:

Hindmarsh; Horsham; West Wimmera; Yarriambiack - Carolynne Hamdorf
Ararat; Northern Grampians – Paigen Horwood 
Golden Plains; Pyrenees – Kate Souter
Ballarat; Hepburn; Moorabool – Dee Micevski

Women's Health Grampians invites you to our free event

Rethinking Sexual Health Promotion in Rural Victorian Settings

Thursday 3rd December 9.15am - 4pm

Cooinda Wendouree 
This event is for anyone interested in or whose role includes any aspect of sexual and reproductive health promotion.
Dr Alan Crouch
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health

The Rethinking Sexual Health Promotion in Rural Victorian Settings Seminar consists of four sessions, focusing in on key questions about the way we design, develop, implement and evaluate our programs and projects in sexual and reproductive health.

Session 1: “History – Theory – Evidence – Exemplars” explores the history of ideas underlying current practice in population health in general and health promotion in particular.

Session 2: “Applying the Matrix: Analysis – Re-Design – Re-appraisal” introduces the ‘concept matrix’, a tool to help shape our thinking (and re-thinking), when we design or re-design a program or project.

Session 3: “Evidence – Indicators – Measurement” focuses in on the practical aspects of project or program design, drawing on our application of the concept matrix.

Session 4: “Evidence, the Responsibility of Knowledge, and Ethics” summarises the key elements of sessions 1-3, and introduces the concept of paradigm shift in health promotion practice and concepts of ethical evaluation.

When: Thursday 3rd December, 2015 9.15am for a 9.30am start to 4.00pm
Where: Cooinda Wendouree (Ballarat Community Health) 10 Learmonth Road, Wendouree
Who: Anyone interested in or whose role includes any aspect of sexual and reproductive health promotion.
Cost: Free, Morning tea and lunch included – please specify any dietary requirements upon registration.

RSVP: Please register by 30th November, 2015 Lunch/tea and coffee provided, please let us know of any dietary requirements
To register click here or contact WHG directly e. or ph.1800 013 432

Eroticising inequality: pornography, young people and sexuality

We were fortunate to have Maree Crabbe, coordinator of the community education project, Reality & Risk: Pornography, young people and sexuality, join us at our recent AGM to share insights from her work.
Maree delivered a very well received presentation exploring the extent of use of pornography among young people, its impact on relationships, self-image and expectations and how, in a similar way to the “Big Tobacco”, gambling and fast food industries, there are significant business interests and profit motives driving the massive growth of the pornography industry which targets young people. Maree also illustrated well the stark connection between porn and violence against women, with a growing trend towards unequal relationships that also pervade gay and lesbian porn.
The Forum and subsequent panel discussion highlighted the need for families, schools and communities to work together on this issue and that open discussion particularly around gender roles and equality, respect and consent are important strategies in addressing these harms. More information on Maree’s work can be found at the website

#HandsUp for Gender Equality


What is the #HandsUp for gender equality campaign?
Women’s Health Grampians will be participating in Women’s Health East #HandsUp social marketing campaign, which advocates for gender equality in our communities and encourages individuals to think about why gender equality is important to them. This campaign will run over the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, from 25th November – 10th December. Please see the WHG website for more information and free resources

Safe Access Zones

The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Bill was voted upon in the Legislative Assembly on 12 November and passed by 69 votes to 13. Virtually all the MPs representing electorates in the Grampians region supported the Bill and we applaud them for this. Several MPs from our region addressed parliament on the Bill, including Louise Staley, MP for Ripon, Sharon Knight, MP for Wendouree and Emma Kealy MP for Lowan. You can access the full transcript of theirs and other speeches in Hansard for 12 November, here.

Below are some extracts from their speeches.

Sharon Knight: This bill ensures that women can act on decisions about their own body without harassment by creating a safe access zone around premises where abortions are provided… The continuing harassment, abuse and targeting of women who are simply acting on a decision about their own body needs to end…
Louise Staley: I think women need to be able to access abortion in this state without being harassed and without people coming up to them and trying to change their mind with offensive photos, offensive language and very close personal contact. That is not protesting—that is harassment. We have to say no to that, and for that reason I support this bill.
Emma Kealy: In my opinion this bill is about addressing violence and intimidation against women. When we look at the newspaper on a regular basis and we see that there has been another attack on a woman—another rape, another domestic violence situation—which has resulted in serious injury or death of the woman, we have to go back to every single cause and what may lead to that. Whenever people condone behaviour in the community where it is okay to call a woman names, to intimidate them and to make them feel a much smaller person in the community, then we must take a stand, and that is why I will be supporting this bill. We must all take a stand against violence against women. We must not condone name-calling, intimidation and harassment of women. We must protect the rights of women to access legal medical services.
The Bill is expected to be debated in the Legislative Council before the end of the year and we look forward to its passing in that House. 

Local initiatives

In 2014, Women’s Health Grampians supported the initiative of the Pyrenees Shire
Council who installed a condom vending machine in the male public toilets in Beaufort. This is part of their strategy to address the Sexual and Reproductive Health priority in their Municipal Health & Wellbeing Plan 2013-2017. Sue O’Brien, Community Wellbeing Manager, says the machine has been the most successful of all the sites installed by the vending machine company, which covers all of Australia. The initiative has been so successful that a second machine for the shire has been installed in Avoca.


Family Planning Victoria's new collection of A-Z fact sheets               

Family Planning Victoria has launched a new collection of fact sheets on a range of reproductive and sexual health topics e.g. contraception choices, puberty and unplanned pregnancy, with key titles also available in different languages. Click here for more information

Nurse scholarships – PapScreen Victoria

PapScreen Victoria is offering financial assistance of up to $1000 (inc GST) for Victorian registered nurses (Division 1) to become cervical screening providers. Click here for more information


Libia Library

Don't forget about this wonderful resource from Women's Health Victoria


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