Women’s Health Grampians December Newsletter 2017

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Women's Health Grampians Newsletter
December 2017


2017 Wrap Up Edition

As a busy year draws to a close we wanted to share highlights from some recent successful events across the region. As we all take a breather to recharge for what promises to be an even busier year in 2018, all of us say a big thank you to our partners for your support and collaboration over the past 12 months.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe summer break.

We note that our office will be closed from midday Friday 22nd December and reopen on 2 January 2018.


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017

Chosen as #WordOfTheYear due to the significant increase in searches for feminism's definition in 2017

Annual Report and General Meeting | Horsham

At our Annual General Meeting on 14 November 2017 in Horsham we presented our 2016-17 Annual Report. The past 12 months have seen several major achievements including: celebrating the first year of CoRE, welcoming new funds for sport and intercultural engagement projects and developing our strategic plan to guide us through the next four years. The Annual Report is a great opportunity to reflect and share highlights from our work across the region. A copy of the report is now available on our website.

As part of the Annual General Meeting we presented findings from our recent research collaboration with The University of MelbourneUnintended Pregnancy in Grampians Pyrenees and Wimmera regions. This study has explored GPs views on the services available and referral practices when women present with an unintended pregnancy. Results indicate significant scope for improvement in terms of knowledge, services and referral pathways to better support women.

With this in mind we invited the Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH), University of Melbourne to provide an overview of their collaboration and partnership efforts to enhance the reproductive service system in regional Victoria. 

Photo: Shannon Hill WHG, Louise Keogh University of Melbourne, Jane Tomnay CERSH, Marianne Hendron WHG

Leading Change | BallaratThe role of sport in preventing violence against women
WHG, Sports Central and the CoRE Alliance invited leaders from sporting clubs or associations to learn more about the role of sport in taking action to prevent violence against women. 

On 27 November 2017, 100 people attended the Leading Change President’s Dinner at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. It was encouraging to see an appetite of goodwill from sport leaders to prevent violence against women and promote gender equality. We hope those who attended took inspiration from our guest speakers highlighting the positive role sport can play in changing culture and attitudes such as:

  • Leaders having an obligation to set positive standards of behaviour towards women;
  • The importance of language, culture and policies in creating inclusive and respectful environments for women;
  • Being willing to speak up when witnessing inappropriate behaviour;
  • Promoting gender equality does not need to cost anything
Guests heard from prominent figures in the sport and health sectors who are demonstrating leadership to promote gender equality Jerril Rechter CEO VicHealthPeter Gordon President of Western Bulldogs Football Club and Margot Foster AM Former Olympian, Lawyer and Vicsport Chairman. Greg Anders Former President Ballarat Golf Club shared a local perspective of a club working to create a more gender equal, inclusive and welcoming environment for all. A local women shared a personal experience of family violence reminding us why it is so important that we all do what we can to address this issue.

The prospect of having a greater presence of sporting organisations involved with our regional plan to prevent violence against women is an exciting new development. We are looking forward to supporting clubs and associations to find ways to build communities of respect and equality.

Photo: Jerril Rechter VicHealth, Marianne Hendron WHG, Margot Foster AM, Vicsport, Peter Gordon Western Bulldogs Football Club

Photo: Greg Anders Ballarat Golf Club

Photo: Family Violence Survivor and Local Advocate

Leading Change | Horsham

We recently added video highlights from the Wimmera Leading Change Breakfast in August to our website. Great to be reminded of the words of encouragement from our guest speakers and reflect on some of the key messages about the importance of taking action to prevent violence against women and children in our communities.

It Takes Courage | Ballarat 
Take a Seat at our Dinner Table

As part of the 16 Days of Activism - Victoria Against Violence Campaign WHG, the CoRE Alliance Governance Group and the It Takes Courage project were proud to host a dinner allowing guests to step into the lives of women from 12 different cultures.

Our project participants prepared delightful 3 course menu of diverse home-cooked dishes from all around the world. The dinner was an opportunity to engage with the community, sharing personal stories, building self-confidence, undertaking event management roles and fundraising. Money raised will contribute to the creation of the It Takes Courage book which will feature recipes, stories, photography, prevention of violence against women messaging and art.

For more information contact Shiree Pilkinton, Intercultural Engagement Advisor on 53224100 or shiree@whg.org.au


Enabling Women Community Leadership Program
Graduation Ceremony | Ballarat

It was our great privilege to be part of a partnership group to bring the Enabling Women Community Leadership Program to the Central Highlands. Over six weeks, eight women attended weekly workshops facilitated by Women with Disabilities Victoria to build on their natural leadership skills, confidence, expand their community networks, make new friends, increase their knowledge of communication, advocacy, human rights, leadership and the NDIS.

The graduation ceremony was an opportunity not only to celebrate the commitment of our participants, but to be inspired by their ideas and where they want to go as individual leaders in our communities. In concluding this program we are encouraging participants to use their skills to actively engage with issues that affect women with a disability.

We would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the Reference Group: City of Ballarat, Golden Plains Shire, Moorabool Shire Council, Department of Health and Human Services, Central Highlands – West Division, Grampians disAbility Advocacy and National Disability Insurance Scheme LAC Partner - La Trobe Community Health.
Also to Carly Myers from Women with Disabilities Victoria who has done an enormous amount of work in setting up and delivering this program, without your dedication and commitment this would not have been possible.
“It is important to recognise that everyone with a disability is different. It is the person first, not their disability, but a lot of people see people as the disability first,” Fiona Sanders - Program Graduate

Graduates, Mentors and Partners of the Central Highlands Enabling Women Community Leadership Program

Save the Date | Horsham | 8 March 2018
Horsham is planning a lunch to celebrate International Women's Day
 Hear from four dynamic local speakers as we join together to 
Thursday 8 March 2018
12:00PM - 1:15PM
Horsham Town Hall

Proudly supported by: Women's Health Grampians, Horsham Rural City Council, Rotary Club of Horsham East, Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre

Tickets $10 lunch included
Purchase before 5 March 2018

Community of PracticeWorking Towards a Coordinated Response to Family Violence
The Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee (CHIFVC) hosted its inaugural Community of Practice forum on 23 November at The Ballarat Mining Exchange. More than 60 attendees from a range of sectors came together to work towards a coordinated response to family violence for the region.

“This is the first of a series of cross-sectoral Community of Practice forums we are planning to enable practitioners and managers to exchange their knowledge and insights, and help shape a better system,” said Libby Jewson, CHIFVC Deputy Chair and Executive Officer of WRISC Family Violence Support Services. *|IFNOT:ARCHIVE_PAGE|* Read More *|END:IF|*

Facilitated by Kristen Sheridan from ShantiWorks, the forum explored key principles for working in partnership, a shared understanding of family violence, better practice models for a coordinated system, and opportunities for systemic change.

Kristen encouraged the group to be brave and have hope for a strong and coordinated future system for the Central Highlands community.  “There is a need for strong policies and processes to be in place, a need to ‘own’ your own role in the system, and show leadership at every level.” She asked participants to reflect on what they and their organisation have to offer, and to harness opportunities to share learning and influence practice.

One approach drawn on in discussions was the ‘Duluth Model’ - an ever evolving way of thinking about how a community works together to end domestic violence. This model shifts responsibility for victim safety from the victim, and supports a coordinated community response through building a shared commitment and establishing written policies and agreements.
Discussions throughout the day also highlighted the importance of culture and addressing gender stereotypes and roles through primary prevention activities, the accountability of perpetrators, and empowering the voice of those affected by family violence.

The next Community of Practice will take place in the first half of 2018 and all practitioners, workers and managers from the family violence, health, legal, justice, education and other related sectors involved in addressing family violence are invited to join the group.

“Our approach is founded on a common commitment to support victims of family violence in our communities, to identify gaps and work together for better outcomes” said Libby. “This first Community of Practice provides a strong platform to continue the conversation about the challenges we face and the design of new solutions – as part of state-wide reforms underway in this area.”

For more information about our projects or resources, see our website http://chifvc.org.au/ *|END:IF|*

Sexual & Reproductive Health

SRH Resources

Unintended Pregnancy in Grampians Pyrenees and Wimmera regions this research collaboration between Women's Health Grampians and The University of Melbourne provides evidence to support local action to address barriers and service gaps to improve reproductive choices for women in the Grampians region.

Australian women’s experiences of a rural medical termination of pregnancy service: A qualitative study by The University of Melbourne. Findings in this study highlight the importance of understanding MToP service provision from the perspectives of women who use these services. This study demonstrates that MToP can be a safe and acceptable option in a rural area and this method can counter structural inequities such as cost and distance.

Renewed National Cervical Screening Program changes came into effect as of 1 December 2017
Centre of Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH)
has a free online learning module to assist with the transition, focusing on under-screened and rural patients. RACGP and CPD points available.

The Victoria Against Violence (VAV) — 16 Days of Activism campaign concluded on International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2017.

Every community has a role to play in preventing family violence and it was great to seeing many of our partners across the Grampians region finding ways to highlight the devastating impact family violence has on the lives of so many. The VAV  16 Days campaign called on supporters to#putyourhandup #goorange and create a Victoria #freefromviolence.



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