Women’s Health Grampians July Newsletter

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Women's Health Grampians

2016 Annual General Meeting

Guest Speaker: Clementine Ford, Journalist
11:00am to 2:00pm

Monday 14th November 2016 

Venue: Ballarat location (tbc)


WHG Membership renewals
now du
If you would like to vote at the WHG 2016 Annual General Meeting, please complete the membership form on-line  and select the ‘Voting Membership' option, before 31st July 2016. 
If you are a ‘General Member’ you are not required to renew your membership. Your Membership remains until you choose to cancel it. Please notify us if any of your details have changed.

If you have any queries regarding your membership please contact us by emailing adminb@whg.org.au or by telephone   1800 013 432


Welcome to our Winter newsletter! Thankfully we have lots of activities going on here to keep us warm and busy.

A recent highlight was the launch on May 30 of the Communities of Respect and Equality (CoRE) Regional Plan for the Prevention of Violence against Women and their Children. We were delighted to be joined by Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford (the first female to hold both of these portfolios!) and many regional leaders for this very successful and well attended event which set the scene for what we hope will be a powerful collaborative effort in addressing the factors that drive violence across our communities. We were privileged to hear from Denise Siermans, the mother of Sharon Siermans who was murdered in her home in Ballarat three years ago. Denise provided a stark and moving account and a reminder of the massive impact that violence against women has on families and communities. We applaud the work of Denise and Sharon’s Dad John in the brave and challenging work they are doing, speaking out about Sharon’s death to highlight the reality of violence against women and support the movement for change while also caring for Sharon’s son Aron.

We also had a stimulating presentation from Leigh Gassner, Former Assistant Police Commissioner. Leigh has also done extensive work in China with the Australian Human Rights Commission on family violence legislative and system reform and in South Africa with NGO’s on responses to violence against women.
Leigh articulated some of the key areas the CoRE plan sets out to address, posing some pertinent questions such as:
How are we, as a community, ensuring we bring our boys into manhood in the best way possible, to know that the attitudes and behaviours that prevail do not have their roots in power, control and entitlement, but in equity and respect?  Just as importantly, how do we ensure young girls feel empowered and not the victims of inequality and disrespect in all its forms?  How do we make sure that such equity and respect is deeply embedded in the community? 

Leigh outlined the task ahead as follows -
Within our communities are the seeds that will either perpetuate the social and economic determinants of violence against women and their children or, alternatively, change those determinants so they provide safety and security.The (CoRE) plan talks of causing a transformation.  When working with groups we often describe a transformation as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.  That butterfly can never go back to that previous form or state, it can never return to being a caterpillar.  That is the goal and value proposition of primary prevention…how do we want to build our systems, those social, economic, institutional and organizational systems that generate fairness, respect and equality?  Just as importantly how do we transform the thinking that gives rise to the systems we need.  Often these systems will need to be re-defined and re-designed, flipped on their heads, to deliver equality, respect and to pierce through unconscious bias.

We plan to invite Leigh back to the region to apply his expertise in systems thinking and cultural change within the CoRE work.

Minister Jaala Pulford launches the plan                                                  Denise Siermans speaks of her daughter Sharon

Leigh Gassner addresses the launch audience

Panel members: Cllr Bill McArthur, Wendy Sturgess, CEO Wimmera Uniting Care, Leigh Gassner,
Justine Linley, CEO City of Ballarat, Ray Kingston, Mayor, Yarriambiack Shire

Many regional organisations have subsequently signed up for membership of the CoRE Alliance, committing to be part of this collective effort to transform the systems and structures, attitudes and beliefs that enable violence. The CoRE Alliance Governance Group had its first meeting on 13 July and identified the next steps in the development of action plan and practical resources that will support organisations in determining their approach. The Governance Group affirmed a commitment to prioritising actions that address the particular disadvantage experienced by aboriginal women, women from CALD backgrounds and women with disabilities.
The WHG website has a dedicated space for CoRE and this will be added to over the coming weeks. If your organisation is not already a member, please have a look at the plan and feel free to get in touch with myself, Darlene or any staff member about how you can get involved.

Also in this newsletter you will find information about our forthcoming AGM – please note the date and we encourage you to sign up or renew your WHG voting membership. We will be providing more information to members in coming weeks about being a Director on the WHG Board.

Enjoy the read!

Marianne Hendron, CEO

Grampians Community of Practice (GCoP) Session 3


During early June WHG hosted our Community of Practice for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. Focussing on ‘Change the Story’-  the shared national framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.
The session  was delivered in two locations, the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility and the Horsham Golf Club. Both were well attended with more than x People from X organisations participating in the events. with participants expressing gratitude at being informed on this framework and understanding how it sits within their workplace activities for promoting equality and PVAW.
Local guest speakers included Talia Holloway-Roden, the Sport and Recreation Adviser who is responsible for City of Ballarat’s Active Women and Girls Strategy.  Adrian Tinetti from Federation University provided insight into the initiatives the University is doing in this space. At the Horsham session, former mayor of Horsham Shire Council, Mandi Stewart presented on her experience as a female councillor in local government and Rebecca Olsen, Area Commander for Victoria Police proactively spoke of their involvement in respectful relationships training. The depth of local commitment to preventing gender-based violence and promoting equality was fantastic and inspiring. Feedback showed the audience really valued hearing what other local organisations are doing.
A number of resources have emerged from this GCoP that we highly encourage everyone to view, including a short film capturing the day; audio of our guest speakers (Ballarat only); a discussion paper distilling the key learnings and outcomes of the session; full PowerPoint presentation slides our of guest speakers (Ballarat only); and a selection of great images symbolising the enjoyment and engagement of attendees. Please see our website for details.

Save the Date for the next GCoPOur next GCoP will be in Beaufort on Wednesday 7 September 2016, which will explore the role of Unconscious Bias in preventing violence against women.  WHG are delighted to announce Dr Victor Sojo from the University of Melbourne, as the keynote speaker. He is an expert in unconscious bias and discrimination of women in occupational settings.
Please see our website for full details and registration.

Over the past few months the Act@Work program has been well received in the Wimmera. A Leadership Briefing was provided to senior staff at Rural NorthWest Health at the Warracknabeal campus in June. The health organisation has officially signed onto the program and will commence in August.  In late June Marianne Hendron & Wimmera Regional Consultant Carolynne Hamdorf presented to senior managers, the CEO, Mayor and Councillors at the  Yarriambiack Shire Council  on the program. We are also delighted to report that Wimmera Uniting Care has signed up to undertake Act@Work later this year.

The Western Region Alliance of VicRoads recently committed to undertaking Act@Work. VicRoads commenced the program in March 2016, with the program being delivered to approximately 280 staff within the Western Region. Already we have received very positive feedback from staff undertaking the training.

Train the Trainer

WHG and CAFs will be running a ‘train the trainer’ session for a number of Wimmera men and women be to deliver the Active Bystander component of the Act@work program. This will both have multiple benefits, in that it will increase the skills and capacity of local Wimmera people around Prevention of Violence Against Women (PVAW) and Bystander action, enable WHG to deliver on the interest expressed in the Act@Work program, as well as reduce the cost to Wimmera based organisations undertaking Act@Work.


Women's Health Grampians in partnership with Relationships Australia Victoria presents
Sex Ed by Porn? Learn how we can do better.

Explicit sexual imagery is now easily accessed, created and shared.
For young people, it is almost impossible to avoid.
This workshop explores issues not currently covered in sex education in schools, exploring how young people are influenced by explicit sexual imagery and the implications for their capacity to negotiate consent, mutual respect and gender equality

This training is suitable for teachers, youth workers, nurses, psychologists and others involved in education, health promotion, violence prevention, support or counselling with young people, or in policy development in related areas.

This workshop will be led by Maree Crabbe who has worked with young people and on issues affecting young people for 20 years. She coordinates the community education project ‘Reality & Risk: Pornography, young people and sexuality’. She is also the author of  ‘In The Picture’ – a whole school resource to assist secondary schools to address the influence of explicit sexual imagery

Tuesday 23 Aug, 9.30- 4.30 pm
Venue: Dimboola Memorial Secondary College Assembly Hall. School St, Dimboola
Cost: $30
morning tea & lunch provided
Please state dietary requirements when registering or contact adminb@whg.org.au

A number of local agencies will be financially supporting this event, including Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN, Barwon CASA, Wimmera PCP, and Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.

Wednesday 24 Aug, 9.30- 4.30 pm
Venue: TBC
Cost: $30 
morning tea & lunch provided
Please state dietary requirements when registering or contact adminb@whg.org.au

A number of local agencies will be financially supporting this event, including Grampians Pyrenees PCP and Central Grampians LLEN. 

Tuesday 11th October 8:45-4:30 pm
Venue: Ballarat Community Health, 12 Lilburne St, Lucas
Register interest with Relationships Australia Victoria 5337 9222 or contact ballarat@rav.org.au 

Women's Health Grampians and Child and Family Services

WHG and CAFS continue their commitment to work together in the primary prevention of violence against women CAFS has been a crucial partner in the Act@Work program since its inception and recently reconfirmed their commitment by signing an ongoing MOU with WHG. The MOU will underpin not only the future availability of the Act@Work program but also our shared commitment to finding other opportunities for joint work that will help end violence against women in the region.

CAFS have shown a tremendous amount of goodwill to Women's Health Grampians and significantly contributed to the quality and success of the Act@Work program and its high profile as one of the key workplace programs for organisations wanting to take action. With the help of CAFS who provide the male for our well received co-gender co-facilitation model for training, we have successfully delivered the Act@Work program to 7 organisations and training to more than 3,000 employees. It means we are well positioned to continue to provide the program to the 6 others who are currently doing it - or just about to start.

Thank you CAFS - we look forward to continuing this great partnership. If anyone would like more information on the Act@Work program please contact Darlene or go to our website

INSPIRE: WHO seven interlinking strategies to end violence against children

A recent publication from the World Health Organisation (WHO) focusess on seven strategies for decreasing violence against children. WHG wishes to share a section from the document that is in norms and values (section 2)

"Social and cultural norms can create a climate in which violence is encouraged or normalized. This strategy aims to strengthen norms and values that support non-violent, respectful, nurturing, positive and gender equitable relationships for all children and adolescents. Achieving this often requires modifying deeply ingrained social and cultural norms and behaviours – in particular, the idea that some forms of violence are not only normal, but sometimes justifiable. It involves approaches like community mobilization programmes, bystander interventions, and small group programmes that challenge harmful gender and social norms of boys." pp. 6

As upstream health promotion is our core business we thought it pertinent to share that this valued approach - especially when it comes to challenging norms, values and stereotypes around gender and violence. The publication can be accessed here

Women's Health Charter Scorecard Federal Election 2016

The first Australian Women's Health Charter, developed in the lead up to the Federal election by the Australian Women's Health Network (AWHN), called on political parties to commit to action ensuring the health and wellbeing needs of all women in Australia are met.

According to the World Health Organisation,
"taking action to improve gender equity in health and address women’s right to health, is one of the best ways to reduce health inequities and ensure the effective use of health resources".
The Australian Women's Health Charter Scorecard shows how each of the major parties responded to the Charter’s proposals for achieving gender equity.

The scorecard is available on the Australian Women's Health Network's website here.

Other key stakeholder organisations that have developed scorecards and policy analysis include the National Foundation for Australian Women, Australian Council of Social ServicesAustralian Healthcare and Hospital Association, Climate and Health Alliance, and Human Rights Watch.

More information on the first Australian Women's Health Charter is available here.

The 2016 VicHealth Awards

Health promotion has never been more vital for our communities than it is today. Victoria has a long, proud history of finding new ways to promote good health and wellbeing in the face of the ever changing health challenges facing our communities.

Whether it’s ground-breaking research, a digital tool reducing harm from alcohol, or a community based arts project building social connection, people across the state benefit from health promotion every day.

The 2016 VicHealth Awards will celebrate these great projects that do so much to improve and maintain the health and wellbeing of Victorians.

This year, we have introduced a new category- ‘Improving health equity’. This award focuses on projects that seek to reduce social disadvantage, for example access to fresh food, to create an even distribution of good health in communities.

The Award categories for 2016 are:
  • Promoting healthy eating
  • Encouraging physical activity
  • Preventing tobacco use
  • Preventing harm from alcohol
  • Improving mental wellbeing 
  • Communications in health promotion
  • Building health through sports 
  • Building health through arts
  • Improving health equity (NEW CATEGORY!)
  • Research into action
Nominations close at 5pm, Friday 19 August and should be submitted online at www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/awards where the full entry criteria is outlined.

All finalists will be invited guests at the 2016 VicHealth Awards Ceremony on 1 December in Melbourne to celebrate the health promotion achievements from the last 12 months with their peers, international experts and leaders in government.

 'Break the Cycle' New Video Resources

WRISC, Silverpod Productions and BADAC have been working together in the development of these short film clips.  It was a great collaborative process and developed through listening and building on stories and artwork.  BADAC, WRISC and Silverpod are very happy for you to use these short clips wherever and however you would like.

Behind Closed Doors:
No Excuse
I Wish
My Family:
A New Place:
The Last Time:

Technology facilitated abuse Webinar

Webinar Description
There is a disturbing increase in the number of women experiencing technology facilitated abuse as perpetrators use digital means to monitor and control women’s movements. Recent Australian and International surveys reveal that there is now an almost complete overlap between technology abuse and domestic and family violence. According to the national SmartSafe survey of practitioners working with women experiencing the effects of domestic or family violence, 98 per cent of their clients experienced technology facilitated abuse, with text messages being the most common, followed by harassment on Facebook. Almost three in ten said their clients had been tracked using digital technology. 
While new technologies can provide a very valuable, flexible link to friends, family and support services for women experiencing domestic or family violence, they can also become a tool for an abuser to harass, control, monitor and humiliate an intimate partner or ex-partner.  So knowing how to increase safety when using digital technology is very important.This webinar will focus on how understanding the issues and how frontline workers can support women with practical advice and tools to increase their safety when using digital technology and online media. 

For more information and to register please visit this link 

Family Planning Victoria- Respectful Relationship training

FPV delivered ‘Respectful Relationship’ training in Horsham on Wed 8 June with solid attendance and representatives from schools, welfare staff, VicPol and health services. This was one of a number of free training sessions offered by FPV to address poor data results for the Grampians region compared to the state average, in relation to low pap smear presentations, high STI rates and high teen pregnancy rates.

Wimmera White Ribbon Committee Strategic Planning

The Wimmera White Ribbon Committee undertook a Strategic Planning session on 16 June. Approximately 15 people attended the day. The group are interested in undertaking a focussed training around understanding the drivers of violence against women as expressed in the national framework- Change the Story, this will be facilitated by WHG staff.

Homelessness Week

1 - 7 August 2016

Homelessness Week Logo

Homelessness Counts' is the theme for Homelessness Week 2016. Through this Homelessness Australia is encouraging all to recognise that those experiencing homelessness are a valuable part of our society and must be supported!

How will you help raise awareness of homelessness in Australia, and make sure#homelessnesscounts?

How can you:

  • raise community awareness and understanding of homelessness?
  • increase community connections for those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness?
  • recognise the individuals and groups who help those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness?
  • increase community understanding and connections for those working in the homelessness sector?

This year we want you to take the lead for Homelessness Week.



Thank you and Farewell to Jane

WHG was grateful  to have Jane Moriarty volunteer with us for several weeks. Jane has completed a Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Health Promotion and was interested in getting an understanding of the Women’s Health sector. She researched and wrote up several case studies in the area of sexual and reproductive health which we will use in media communications and other publications. We enjoyed having Jane on board and even though it was brief her contribution was valuable and we’re delighted to learn that she has since obtained employment with Women’s Health Barwon South West based in Warrnambool – Thank you and Good Luck in the south west Jane!

Pictured: Dee Micevski, Jane Moriarty & Darlene Henning-Marshall

Women's Health Week

5-9 September 2016

The Jean Hailes Women's Health Week is a week to focus on your health, learn more and take action. 

The theme of this year's Women's Health Week is: AM I NORMAL?

A question, we know, every woman at some stage asks herself, whether it's about weight, body image, mental health or sex. So let's get rid of the elephant in the room and start talking about these topics and more. For more information visit this link. 

What's your story?

Did you know half of all women will experience an unplanned pregnancy in their lifetime (Marie Stopes International, 2008)
and around 1 in 3 women will seek an abortion at some stage in their life (Australian Women’s Health Network, 2012)
and 60% of women seeking an abortion were using at least 1 form of contraception at the time (Marie Stopes International, 2008)

We know women in the Grampians region experience difficulties accessing family planning services. For example:
  • After hours access to emergency contraception is limited
  • In some areas contraception options are limited
  • There is no publicly available information regarding abortion services
    Women are commonly referred to Melbourne which can mean travel of up to 816km
  • Accessing condoms can be difficult, particularly for young people
Improving sexual and reproductive health across our region requires commitment from a number of sectors and service providers. Women's Health Grampians acts as an advocate for women highlighting the issues to bring about change.
Capturing women's stories provides us with evidence of the real challenges women face. Storytelling creates empathy and understanding, compelling decision-makers to act and leads to better advocacy outcomes.
Do you have a story you would be willing to share?
Contact shannon@whg.org.au or call 03 5322 4100
Stories used in advocacy will not identify women. Women's Health Grampians will maintain utmost confidentiality in helping to capture this information and only share details with your consent.

Horsham Crime Night

Hear from leading police officers about the work they do to really solve crimes.

Featuring a presentation and discussion on Family Violence by Detective Senior Sergeant Anthony Mercer from the Family Violence Task Force - Family Violence Command.

When: Tuesday 26th July 2016, 6.30pm for a 7pm start
Where: Federation University Horsham Campus, 289 Baillie Street Horsham

Tickets: $20 per person (Must be 18 or over to attend)
Tickets available online at www.trybooking.com.au Search BRF Crime Night
Tickets also available on the night (cash only)

All proceeds to Wimmera Base Hospital Emergency Department

Click here for more details


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