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whw news



wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness edition

Edition 2 • 2008



Women celebrate the unique cultures of African communities

A word from the ceo


elcome to the second WHW News for 2008, our mental wellbeing and social connectedness edition – one of Women’s Health West’s (WHW) three priority areas for promoting women’s health. The introduction provides a clear outline of the meaning of mental wellbeing and the vital importance of social connections to our health. I have been settling into my new role over the last few months and want to thank those of you who took the time to welcome me personally. I continue to enjoy the privilege of leading an energetic, warm and committed staff group and am very pleased to welcome a new board member and ten new staff members to add to the mix. In reading this edition I am sure you will agree this is not hyperbole on my part – the articles are a moving and inspiring testament to the work of WHW and the women we partner with in the western region. This edition includes articles and photos of the many activities undertaken by WHW since our last newsletter – particularly highlighting activities that promote women’s mental health and wellbeing. This includes our exhibition celebrating local women’s stories of activism, which is touring the western region and is currently on show at the Louis Joel Community

Photos: Lindi Huntsman

Girls Talk – Guys Talk p.8-9

Dr Robyn Gregory

Arts Centre in Altona. Betty’s story, which features in this edition, is quite extraordinary. A range of other projects focus on mental health. For instance, excursions like the Phillip Island camp provide opportunities for women to build connections with other women facing similar life circumstances.

Talking about sex: Laverton Senior College farewells WHW’s innovative school sexual health program

The African women’s cross-cultural exchange day celebrated the unique cultures that different African communities bring to Australia and provided women with space to build connections and networks, recognising the differences and the similarity of experiences that we share as women.

Options on Abortion Law Reform p.10

Our violence prevention project applies creative strategies to reduce mental ill health and social exclusion by working to prevent discrimination and violence against women. As part of our ongoing work for freedom from violence, we report on a conference that examined the effect of integration and genuine partnerships on the family violence justice system. We also report on our advocacy work on the decriminalisation of abortion in Victorian and highlight the crucial importance of women’s control over reproductive decision-making to their mental health and wellbeing. WHW congratulate the Victorian Law Reform

Find out which option supports women making decisions about our own reproductive health and wellbeing

Phillip Island Fun p.16

Surfing, penguins and night walks provide beautiful backdrop for social connections

Continued p.2

women’s health west ­– active, effective and leading the region in advancing women’s health, safety and wellbeing

Continued from p.1 Commission for their very comprehensive report, tabled in parliament on 29 May. Of the three options presented, WHW supports model C, which clearly brings abortion into line with current practice, community sentiment and, most importantly, trusts women to make fundamental and informed choices about their lives, without pressure or judgement. Since our last newsletter, WHW has been the beneficiary of three different support efforts by students and community groups, including two specific fundraising activities. Given we are a small organisation, all support that is provided to us has a very real impact on our ability to meet the needs of women in the west – from as little as giving a woman a met ticket to attend an appointment, through to funding a health promotion project. We are thrilled to be the recipients of such strong and generous community efforts and recognise the important role this work plays in improving mental wellbeing and supporting social connections in our community – for both the giver and the receiver. ISSN # 1834-7096 Editor: Nicola Harte Newsletter Group: Katherine Koesasi, Cath Mayes, Jacky Tucker, Veronica Garcia, Nicola Harte. Contributors to this edition: Angela Cole, Cath Mayes, Edna, Emma, Jennie, Julie Veszpremi, Justine Carter, Katherine Koesasi, Kirsten Campbell, Linda, Melissa, Sophie Edwards, Jacky Tucker, Nicola Harte, Reem Omarit, Robyn Gregory, Sally Camilleri, Scout Kozakiewicz, Veronica Garcia. Photographers: Erin Slattery, Joy Free, Julie Veszpremi, Kim Ly, Kirsten Campbell, Lindi Huntsman, Mary Wylie, Matthew Murphy, Nicola Harte, Sally Camilleri, Scout Kozakiewicz, Sue Manski, Wanchi. Design and layout: Susan Miller, Editorial Policy: Contributions from readers are welcome. Opinions expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect those of Women’s Health West (WHW). All contributions are the responsibility of the individual authors. The final decision on inclusion lies with WHW and the editor. Content must be in keeping with WHW’s mission statement. Short items are preferred. Contributor’s name, address and phone number should be attached so that we can contact you. Lack of publication of material bears no reflection on the merit of submissions. WHW reserves the right to copy edit any contribution. Contributors will be contacted in the event of a structural edit being required. Read this edition and archives of WHW News online at Edition 2 published: July 2008 Deadline for edition 3: Monday 8 September 2008 Email contributions to

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Mental wellbeing &

social connectedness Edition There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that community participation on various levels is a key element to an individual’s sense of wellbeing and to the state of the health of the community generally. (‘Gender Impact Assessment: Mental Health and Social Connectedness’, Women’s Health Victoria, 2005)


s the World Health Organisation points out, mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders, it is a state of wellbeing in which individuals can realise their abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and make a contribution to their community. As such, mental health is the foundation for healthy communities and healthy individuals. Social factors like income, education, age, sexuality, culture and geographic location have a great impact on mental health and wellbeing. For instance, exposure to family violence, social isolation, cultural dislocation or racism can lead to poor mental health – and inevitably to poor physical health given the greater risk of heart disease associated with social isolation and lack of social support (VicHealth 2005). These health inequalities are politically, socially and economically unacceptable and WHW works to reduce the inequalities in our region – through activities including primary prevention projects, advocacy and meeting the individual needs of women and children. WHW locates the goal of improving women’s mental wellbeing and social connectedness* within a feminist human rights framework that recognises the impact of women’s socio-economic and political status on their mental health and wellbeing.

This means working to redress all forms of inequality and oppression of women. WHW have identified freedom from discrimination and violence, access to resources, and social inclusion as key to the mental wellbeing and social connectedness of the women in our region, building on the work undertaken by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). This newsletter reports on WHW activities aimed at increasing women’s social inclusion and outlines programs that respond to women’s expressed needs for information, support and advocacy. You’ll also find a delightful poem titled, Women in Trouble, which focuses on increasing the social connections between women and communities of women, with the goal of decreasing isolation, (financial) insecurity and discrimination. *While the principles of mental wellbeing and social connectedness are integrated into all of the work we do, articles that specifically outline our work in this area are identified with this stamp.



wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness edition

Defining health promotion: Mental wellbeing & social connectedness Social networks can act as a buffer between individuals and the general socio-economic, cultural and environmental conditions over which they have little control and are the most difficult to change. Unemployment, for example, is a major factor in lack of wellbeing. In order to cope with emotional stress, people often adopt strategies or behaviours such as smoking, drinking, illicit drug use, eating junk food, which in turn can have negative effect on their physical health. Health Facts, Together We Do Better, VicHealth


Cartoon: Sarah Marlowe

Behind the scenes WHW Board

Naomi Raab Women’s Health West Board member

Naomi is an organisational change consultant, researcher and academic. She has twenty years of consulting experience in both the corporate and community sectors assisting people to lead more dynamically and creatively, often in organisational contexts of considerable turmoil, ambiguity and conflict. Her practical experience, together with an extensive background in counselling, psychology, training and education, enables her to guide managers and change agents in the learning and transition process. Naomi’s interests are in the nature of organisational life and its capacity to both harm and heal. She has worked extensively around the nature of gender dynamics in organisations and runs a long standing women’s group.

WHW Staff

Katherine Koesasi

Julie Veszpremi

Manager Health Promotion, Research and Development

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Working at Women’s Health West draws together many aspects of my life. Prior to commencing at WHW I worked in the public sector in a range of positions including roles focussing on violence against women and health promotion. Taking a break from paid work following the birth of my son Xavier, confirmed for me that it was time to move into the community sector, something I had been contemplating for some time. I have been a resident of the west since 2002 and am delighted to have the opportunity to work in my community.

My first job was with Alcan Anodisers in New Zealand as an Invoice Clerk when I was sixteen years old. Immediately before starting at WHW, I temped for Doutta Galla Community Health as Executive Assistant (EA) to the CEO. Prior to Doutta Galla I was EA for the CEO at Akzo Nobel in Sunshine for twelve years. I like the idea of a change from the corporate world and also working for a company that makes a difference to women. My interests are fitness, reading, movies, travel and craft.

Justine Carter Receptionist/Administration Worker

Cath Mayes Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordinator

I’ve worked as an enrolled nurse and co-ordinated a pilot project stemming from the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in the UK. I just finished a Masters in Public Health in Women’s Health whilst working as a research fellow on the Victorian Pregnancy Advisory Services Project. My job with WHW consolidates the past ten years of work and study, and is part of a plan to achieve a better work life balance by working within an organisation as concerned about the way it goes about its work as it is about the work itself.

My first job was as a machinist for Country Road and I’ve worked mainly in hospitality management and administration/customer service types of roles. Immediately before coming to WHW, I was the receptionist at Earth Tech Environmental Consulting, so I’d say that this role is a continuation of a theme. I want to bring great customer service and quality administrative support to an organisation that is doing positive work in the community. Outside of work, I’m a keen dressmaker and computer nerd.

Photographer: Erin Slattery


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Behind the scenes Women’s Health West Staff

Angela Cole, Quality Project Worker

Angela Cole


Quality Project Worker

Administration Worker

I have held training and accreditation roles throughout my working life. Prior to this position I was running training groups aimed at building confidence, self esteem and job search skills in mothers returning to the workforce. It was there that I learned to appreciate women as individuals and always be straight down the line. I’m passionate about raising happy, socially-conscious children and you’ll often find me at the centre of a debate.

I commenced in the role of Administration Worker at CAS in March this year, returning to the workforce after twelve months at home with my three children. Prior to WHW I worked in the field of junior doctor eduction, coordinating the accreditation of the junior doctor posts throughout Victoria. I have been back in the wonderful Land of Oz for almost five years now after working and living in London and Dubai. I am looking forward to the diversity of my job and the people working at CAS and being a part of WHW.

Sophie Edwards Project Worker

Sophie Edwards, Project Worker

Photographer: Erin Slattery

Gifted Graduands Lauren Eagle Accounting and Finance Manager, Women’s Health West graduated from her Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree at Victoria University, Footscray Campus in June this year. Congratulations Lauren.

Reem Omarit FARREP Community Worker, graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Science(Biomedical Science) and was selected to give the graduand address. Congratulations Reem.

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Before WHW, I worked with Darebin City Council’s Community Health and Safety Unit developing policy and researching crime prevention and health promotion. Here at WHW, I document best practice with the Family Violence Outreach team. I analyse what is working well, identify difficult aspects, and investigate how those difficulties are addressed. My role showcases the work of WHW Family Violence Services as a model of best practice, and identifies areas for improvement. I also have an unused qualification in pathology collection - mainly taking blood - and am studying Honours in Criminal Justice.

Linda Family Violence Worker, CAS

I come to WHW from a myriad of work and lifestyle experiences including case management positions within domestic violence, employment programs, local and federal governments, sexual abuse, disabilities, counselling/support/mental health, and alcohol and other drugs. I am a feminist and, a number of years ago, was involved in a radical, western suburbs, women’s community theatre group called OOzzzing Jooces. I have lived through life experiences similar to those of the clients I work with and bring these survival skills and sense of humour to my work. It is great to be working back with women in the West again.


Emma Intensive Case Manager

My past employment includes domestic violence case management, Counsellor Advocate at CASA, and Primary Welfare Officer in schools. As Intensive Case Manager, I support women (and accompanying children) who engage with WHW Family Violence Services, to achieve their goals. The women I work with face multiple barriers and/or have complex needs and I support them to prioritise needs, form strategies and live a life free from family violence. In the short time I have been at WHW, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of such a proactive agency, working within a feminist framework and being surrounded by such passionate women.

Edna Family Violence Outreach Worker

Before arriving at WHW I worked as an Intensive Case Manager for the Inner/ Middle South regions of Melbourne. I have held many jobs over the years from hospitality to reception duties which helped to pay university costs and for travel to Europe and Africa. I joined WHW so that I could work with women to help them to re-discover their strengths and courage. This is a very rewarding and humbling experience. I work with five simple rules in mind: 1. To free my heart of hatred 2. Free my mind of worries 3. To live simply 4. To give more 5. To expect less

Women in the region



wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness edition

Words and pictures by Scout Kozakiewicz


etty’s life story so far has been such an extraordinary journey of survival and tenacity. Listening to her speak, with such maturity and insight, it’s hard to believe she is only twenty years old. Betty hasn’t had what we would call an ordinary childhood. Responsibility came earlier to her than many children would experience in our community. These experiences have left a deep impression on Betty, and inform her choices and sense of responsibility today. She is an active volunteer with Western Young People’s Independent Network (WYPIN), involved with the group for four years, since she first arrived in Australia. She helps other refugees and migrants find their feet, just as she once was helped. Trained through Melbourne City Mission Western, she is on call, helping other new arrivals with practical advice such as how to use the public transport system or how to find a place to live. She also volunteered at a childcare centre whilst in high school. She would leave school at 3pm everyday, squeezing in a couple of hours to help young children of various African ethnicities who did not speak any English. Betty speaks five languages other than English. What inspires this young woman? “It’s about giving back. When I first came here I didn’t know how to catch a train. Somebody showed me. Whenever I help or show somebody what they need I feel excited, I am giving back to society. But I benefit as well by them saying thankyou.” “I lived in refugee camps in Kenya with my brother and sister (she has five other sisters) for over eleven years. Before that I was in Ethiopia for two years. I didn’t know where the rest of my family were. Even my mum, I just saw her two years ago. My mum went for fresh water when the war broke out in my village in Sudan. I was with my sister; we all started running in


different ways. Mum ran to our house but we weren’t there. I hadn’t seen her for fourteen years. I was caring for the injured during our long walks. I learnt how to cook when I was four, wash wounds and give people injections. So, because of my previous experience I think, ‘Well why not? I was doing it when I was four, I am twenty now, I can do more than when I was four!’” After arriving in Australia, she spent two weeks at an English learning centre, before starting year nine. “There were no schools in the camps, I learnt how to write ABCD from some volunteers. There are thousands of kids in the camps and no one goes to school because they have to look for food, fresh water or their family. Starting school in Australia was a hard process, I kept silent in the class. People would say, ‘What is she doing here? She is so stupid.’ ‘Why are you so tall and so dark?’ I felt like dropping out. But I thought, ‘I cannot leave school no matter how they talk to me.’ Some African people stop going because of


racism and bullying. But you have to deal with it. If you don’t have strength or self esteem you will never get through it.” Betty is currently undertaking a traineeship as an aged care nurse, and she hopes to study nursing at university next year, maybe even medicine one day. She is inspired by a story she read about a ninety-three year old woman halfway through her medical degree. “She didn’t even have a primary school education, and now she is going to be a doctor. If I think about that it gives me a vision like, ‘Oh! If she can do it why not me?’ It’s never too late.”

This interview and photograph is part of the Tapestries: Stories of Everyday Activism exhibition travelling around the western region and available for loan to community organisations in the western region of Melbourne. Contact WHW for details on 9689 9588 or email

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Western Integrated Family Violence Committee


Joan Eddy (Chair, WIFVC)


s part of the State Government’s Integrated Family Violence Services Reform Program 2006–2009, regional and sub-regional committees have been formed across Victoria. The Department of Human Services North West Metropolitan Region has two sub-regional committees and one regional committee. The west subregional committee, titled Western Integrated Family Violence Committee (WIFVC), was formed in June 2007 and has established terms of reference and a Draft Action Plan for 2008–2009. Last year all stakeholders engaged in a consultation process spanning the region that resulted in the regional action plan. The current WIFVC draft action plan is based on that regional action plan. The three western sub-region priorities detailed in the WIFVC plan are:


Establishment of sub-regional coordination and planning structures


Development of clear referral pathways and intake processes


Workforce development and support of quality services

Implementation of the WIFVC’s action plan has been hampered by the struggle to attract a person to the vacant service integration planning and coordination position. This leadership role will facilitate aspects of the integration process, as determined by the WIFVC. In February 2008, we were fortunate to secure the services of WLK Consultancy to compile the draft action plan and we now have a dedicated administration position to assist in both the work of the committee, and the service planning and co-ordination role. The west currently has a dedicated reference group comprised of myself as WIFVC Chair and Manager of Counselling at Melton, Melton East and Bacchus Marsh Community Health Centres; Robyn Gregory, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Health West; Jacky Tucker Manager of Family Violence Services at Women’s Health West; and Jo Chambers, Acting Team

Leader Family Violence and Sexual Assault Team of Family and Community Support at North and West Metropolitan Department of Human Services. We are in contact on a regular basis in order to move the process forward. If the organisation you work for is involved in the delivery of family violence support services in any way at all, it is important to have a voice on the committee. The state government will be looking to the regional and sub-regional committees to inform them about priorities and issues for the current and future development of integrated family violence services. We would love to hear from you if you would like to be kept informed of our progress, join the committee, or express an interest in the service planning and coordination position. For more information email Lea Lucas (Administrative Support for WIFVC) on or Joan Eddy (Chair, WIFVC) at

Best Practice Grants: COURT SUPPORT Sophie Edwards, Project Worker


he Office of Housing (OoH) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) offered best practice grants of $5000 to funded family violence services to demonstrate service integration and the ways that services have achieved successful housing or support outcomes for clients. Women’s Health West (WHW) successfully obtained three grants to document best practice in key areas of our family violence service. The first of these projects has been to review the court support service, a key component of our family violence outreach work. The family violence crisis outreach service provides support for women applying for intervention orders at the Melbourne, Sunshine and Werribee Magistrates’ Courts. Best practice is about working with clients in a respectful way, empowering women to make their own decisions, as they know better than anyone what they need, and arriving at solutions that will work for them. Discussions with

whw news edition 2 • 2008

the court support workers identified a number of common themes and areas of best practice including:

The importance of court support “If they don’t have a worker, then they have no idea what is about to happen in court. Some feel they should pull out of obtaining the intervention order as they feel it’s a criminal matter, and the intervention order hasn’t been explained properly.” WHW Court Support Worker

Safety “Good outcomes are improvements in safety, big or small.” WHW Court Support Worker

Providing information “I’d like that woman to leave more informed than she was before, and [to know] that she is satisfied with the support that she has received.” WHW Court Support Worker


Photo: Erin Slattery

Working with other agencies “It is best practice to learn who each service is and what they do; to talk with them about their service and build the relationships.” WHW Court Support Worker The final two grants will look at the role of the senior intake worker, and evaluate the Brimbank Police Family Violence Unit and the WHW Local Area After Hours Pilot Program.

Just Partners: Integration, Justice and Family Violence Jennie, Family Violence Outreach Coordinator


n 22 and 23 May 2008, three members of the family violence outreach team at Women’s Health West (WHW) travelled to Canberra to participate in the Just Partners: Family Violence, Specialist Courts and the Idea of Integration conference, jointly hosted by the National Judicial College of Australia and various ACT agencies. The conference gathered professionals from around the globe who are currently interacting with family violence courts in a direct service, research or evaluative capacity. Keynote speakers from Canada, the USA, the United Kingdom and New Zealand provided insights into family violence courts operating in their respective countries, and presenters from various states and territories across Australia outlined approaches currently implemented in their court systems. Over the two days, the conference explored models of family violence court innovation, discussed the idea of ‘integration’ and proposed future directions for responding to family violence. Although each presentation provided unique insights into family violence courts operating around the world, recurrent themes emerged. The following themes give some sense of the discussion and debate.

Aims of Family Violence Courts All family violence court models had two aims in common – to ‘make victims safer’ and ‘hold offenders accountable’ for their actions. These aims were discussed in detail and questions posed about whether the courts can actually fulfil them and how achievements can be measured.

Specialist vs Generalist Courts Presenters debated whether specialist family violence courts provided the best response to family violence victims or whether generalist courts could fulfil this purpose.

Judicial Education


The notion of judicial education was explored FAMILY VIOLENCE, SPE CIALIST COURTS AND THE IDEA OF INTEGRATION and included questions around A National Conference 22-2 3 May 2008 Rydges Lake side, Canberra, Australia PROGRAM and REGISTR whether providing ATION BROCHURE magistrates with training about family violence Jointly Hosted by: the Nation al Judicial College of Austra lia, and ACT agencies:- Direct or of Public Prosecutions , Courts & Tribunals, Victims of Crime Coordinator impacts on , Domestic Violence Crisis Service, ACT Policing, ACT Corrective Services, Office of Children Youth & Families, and the Department their ‘judicial of Justice & Community Safety. independence’ or whether it is necessary for magistrates to understand the complex social context of Integration and partnerships: key to family violence court innovation family violence in order to make appropriate decisions. Models of Intervention The Conference Organis ers gratefully acknowledge

What is Integration? All presenters spoke about the benefits of integration in providing quality responses to family violence victims and perpetrators. Most presenters stressed that if integration is to work, genuine partnerships must be formed between organisations, rather than those in name only.

Offender Programs Debate surrounded the way current programs address offender behaviour and hinted that there is little in the way of evaluation of these programs.

The Justice System Although the important role the justice system plays in responding to family violence was noted, speakers highlighted that a justice-based approach cannot be seen as the answer or solution to family violence as it requires an integrated response from many stakeholders.


financial contributions from the

Australian Domestic & Family Violence

Clearinghouse and justice agencies in the ACT.

Different court models were discussed including therapeutic jurisprudence, restorative justice and problem-solving courts. All concluded that innovative approaches are needed to address family violence in the justice context.

Evaluation The importance of ongoing independent evaluation of current programs was emphasised to ensure that the courts are delivering what they set out to provide. The conference provided thoughtprovoking discussion and debate. Presenters outlined the achievements and successes of current court programs operating to address family violence and also noted limitations and failures of current systems. Although successes were emphasised and applauded, all participants stressed that we cannot become complacent as there is still a long way to go if the justice system is to provide a truly JUST response to family violence victims.

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wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness edition

Girls Talk – Guys Talk Lucy Forwood, Health Promotion Worker, WHW

W Student experiences of the Girls Talk – Guys Talk group: “We learnt to respect each others’ different opinions.” “Getting a lot more responsibility rather than just being told what to do.” “Now that I know all this stuff I will make different decisions about going to parties, getting drunk and having sex.” “I can explain to my sister the consequences of the risks she is taking.”

omen’s Health West (WHW) provided one-off sexual health programs in secondary schools for some years but has shifted toward a whole-school approach to sexuality education. This approach builds strength within schools to ensure the skills and knowledge developed have a greater impact on the sexual health and wellbeing of young people and are not lost. Girls Talk – Guys Talk focussed on year nine students and encouraged a school environment that develops powerful young people with access to knowledge, skills and support. This knowledge enhanced students’ life chances and those of their community. In May 2007, WHW chose Laverton Secondary College (LSC) to participate in the project. Fourteen months on, the impact of Girls Talk – Guys Talk has surpassed our expectations. Partnerships were key to the success of the project, with active involvement of students, the school nurse, school staff, local agencies and parents.

Student Involvement

“It was very helpful and my daughter made me proud.”

The working group of fourteen year nine students influenced all levels, and were crucial to the life, of the project. Students welcomed the consultation and embraced their responsibilities with high energy. They particularly enjoyed seeing their great ideas come to fruition.

“The play was really good as well as the doctor’s talk, overall it was brilliant.”

A Hobson’s Bay Council youth worker will support the group to continue their collaborative work and become mentors to younger students.

Parents’ feedback

It’s about valuing students’ contribution and it’s a break from the teacher-student relationship. The students are driving this. They have ownership. The students are motivated. It acknowledges and validates their strengths. It provides them with a more active role in learning. Alison Webb, School Nurse, LSC

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Over the past twelve months, I observed remarkable personal achievements in the students. These included greater confidence to speak and act assertively; less wagging; a huge reduction in homophobic, racist and sexist behaviour; increased connectedness with one another; concerted efforts to complete school work; increased participation in school activities; some significant attitudinal changes about their education and aspirations for their futures. The students appeared to be happier than when I first met them. Lucy Forwood, Women’s Health West Health Promotion Worker

All year nine students completed an assessment of sexual and reproductive health issues at the commencement of the project, and completed a knowledge test before and after participating in a ten week sexuality education course. All students demonstrated a vast increase in knowledge of sexual and reproductive health after the course.

School Staff Involvement A working group of teachers, school leaders, ancillary staff and local service providers have been integral to the direction of the project. We have also established a Student Wellbeing Committee that will meet on a regular basis. Lucy developed a sexual and reproductive health policy for the school to embed sex education into the curriculum. Lucy, the school nurse and teachers delivered the sexuality education course together as a training exercise so that teachers will be able to deliver the course in the future. School staff and leaders have been co-operative, committed and encouraging, resulting in terrific benefits for the project and the school.

Parent Involvement The student assessment of sexual and reproductive health issues found that most students turn to their mothers or female caregivers for help with a health problem.

One Conversation Ends, Another Begins

While the sexuality education course was being delivered we held an event for parents focusing on ways to talk to their child about sexual health. Students produced ‘Should I or Shouldn’t I?’ a performance about relationships, sexual decision-making and communicating with parents. Two students delivered a presentation of findings from their health issues assessment. A local GP also presented information on ways to talk to teenagers about sex. All parents rated the night as extremely useful, and reported feeling more confident about talking to their children about sex and relationships.


Lucy’s (right) final goodbye celebration with the student group and Alison Webb (left) LSC school nurse.

Photo: Joy Free

Parental input into the project has required some creative thinking. The play was a great way of attracting parents to the school. Regular project updates in the school newsletter were another method used to reach parents.

Engaging with Service Providers Communication between local services and LSC has improved since Girls Talk – Guys Talk started. Hobson’s Bay Youth Services and the Action Centre Family Planning Clinic were active reference group members and delivered elements of the sexuality education course. Hobson’s Bay City Council invited the student group to participate in youth activities and consider them a voice representing young people at LSC. It was a wonderful experience working with the staff and students at the LSC and I was sad to leave, but really look forward to working with the next school.

Photo: Sue Manski

Students from Laverton Secondary College during a session.

Lucy Forwood, Women’s Health West Health Promotion Worker

Girls Talk – Guys Talk is featured as a ‘key success’ in the Victorian Women’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy Action plan January 2007 – June 2008. Read more online at Lucy also presented a paper on the project at the National Health Promoting Schools Conference in Adelaide in April this year.


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wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness edition

C is for Control of My Own BodyOptions on abortion law reform

Robyn Gregory, CEO and Cath Mayes, Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordinator


he final report of the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) was tabled in state parliament on 29 May, outlining three options to guide the Government in removing abortion offences from the Crimes Act 1958. The report was based on wide consultation and thorough research, and provides a comprehensive, evidence-based overview of current abortion legislation, policy and practice, and options for decriminalisation. Write to the MP in your local area advocating Model C as the only model to grant women full citizenship rights

The options: Model A gives final decision-making authority to a medical practitioner to determine whether or not an abortion is lawful, forcing a woman to continue with a pregnancy if her doctor decides she is not at risk of harm. This literally handballs regulation of abortion to medical practitioners, while ignoring women’s agency in reproductive decision-making. Model B takes a two-staged approach to regulation of abortion – a woman’s decision up to 24 weeks and medically determined risk of harm to the woman after that time. This introduces different criteria in law for different stages of pregnancy and ensures an ongoing legislative focus for unrest and discontent. As we have seen in Britain, the focus will be on attempts to reduce the point at which women retain control over decision-making. Abortion post 24 weeks is extremely rare and always complex. Currently, less than 0.7 percent of abortions are carried out post 20 weeks and most of those are for reasons of foetal abnormality that could not be picked up earlier in the pregnancy. Advances in medical technology – in terms of our capacity for foetal screening at later stages of gestation – are constantly changing, making the specification of timelines impractical. These difficulties will not be resolved through differential legislation. Model C gives final decision-making authority to the pregnant woman, with the practice of abortion then governed by the same body of legal rules that

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regulate other medical procedures. This is a simple and common sense approach to decriminalisation, reflecting the legal status of abortion in the ACT and Canada. Under this model, a termination of pregnancy must be performed by a medical practitioner, who must consider it ethically appropriate to perform that procedure. Instead of subjective decision-making, doctors will be bound by guidelines, ethics committees and comprehensive medical regulation of their practice.

WHW position Women’s Health West endorses Model C as it most closely reflects current practice and community standards which was the task for legislative change. It is also the only model to grant women full citizenship rights. And is also most likely to offer ongoing protection to medical practitioners not only from prosecution, but also from harassment by anti-choice protestors. Further, this option both symbolically and practically recognises that women are able to make decisions that affect their lives and those of their family.

Where to now? The government will now draft a Bill to be put to parliament later this year where MPs will have a conscience vote.


What can you do? At present, MPs are being inundated with letters from those opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion. This gives politicians the wrong message. Over 80% of the community support women’s choice in relation to abortion. It is important therefore, that we show our support for Model C and remind MPs that those opposed to abortion are a small minority. The best way to do this is to write to or email your local MP letting him or her know that you live in the electorate and that you support Model C because it most strongly reflects current practice. You might like to follow this up with a visit to let him or her know your views. Feel free to visit our website and adapt the draft letter we’ve made available to get you started.

How to do this? Log onto the Women’s Health Website ( and follow the links to send a quick email to parliament endorsing your support for Model C. Alternatively, follow the links to the Do your bit: Action Kit for information about contacting your local MP and writing letters to the editor. Check the WHW website regularly for information and updates.



wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness

Action group apply creativity


to violence prevention strategies Kirsten Campbell, Health Promotion Worker

Women demand safer psych wards

‘I wouldn’t give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity’ Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1841-1935


ver the past ten months, Women’s Health West and the Primary Care Partnerships (PCPs) in the western region have been engaged in an Action Research Group (ARG) process that has involved working with six organisations in the region to build on their capacity to prevent violence against women, using a health promotion approach. Together we have found that this thinking and planning process involves a roller coaster of perplexities and agonies, as well as mutual learning, laughter and progress. The ‘simplicity and complexity’ idea described in the quote above seems to sum up the ARG process over the past months. This was epitomised in our April meeting, where we used the idea of planting a vegetable garden to simplify the process of figuring out goals, objectives and actions that are practical, clear, contained and simple. As we unpacked this idea further, we found it was a useful metaphor for understanding what can be quite an abstract concept. We carried over the metaphor to the May ARG meeting, taking it a step

further to help us solidify the concepts of monitoring and evaluation. Participants ‘monitored’ the growth of broccoli plants that had been attacked by caterpillars and possums, and transferred the solution identification or troubleshooting process to how violence prevention projects might be monitored. Evaluation became a tangible process as the group were invited to ‘evaluate’ real broccoli and cabbages (see picture!) Again, the transferable ideas that emerged from this activity were translated to useful evaluation ideas for the projects the group are planning. An extensive evaluation process of the entire project is underway, being implemented by Emily Gassner (Melbourne University student) and supervised by Pam St Leger (Melbourne University). This will feed into our planning for continuing capacity development work with organisations in the western region, over the next few years. Our partnerships with the western region PCPs will continue to play a critical role in this capacity building process.

Cover art: Sue E. Armstrong

Photo: Kirsten Campbell

Nicola Harte, Communications Coordinator


n the first edition of WHW News last year, Heather Clarke from the Victorian Women and Mental Health Network told us about the network’s excellent advocacy work to raise awareness of women’s experiences in mixed-sex psychiatric wards. In April 2008, the network released an important, moving and accessible report titled, Nowhere To Be Safe: Women’s Experiences of Mixed-Sex Psychiatric Wards. A shocking 61 percent of women surveyed identified experiencing harassment or abuse during hospital admissions to mixedsex psychiatric wards. The report documents 140 women’s stories, as well as recommendations and proposals for gender-sensitive wards. You can order your copy from Psychiatric Disability Services Victoria, Level 2, 22 Horne Street, Elsternwick, Victoria 3185 or call 03 9519 7000.

For further information about the Building the capacity of organisations in the western region to prevent violence against women: A guide to health promotion action project please contact Kirsten Campbell on 9689 9588 or via email:


whw news edition 2 • 2008

whw news edition 2 • 2008

Photo: Star Newspapers

Photo: Lindi Huntsman

Photo: Star Newspapers

Photo: Matt Murphy (Leader Newspapers)

Photo: Matt Murphy (Leader Newspapers)


African Women Share Cultures, Food and Dance The Mail, 18/06/08



wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness

Cath Mayes, Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordinator, Rumia Abbas and Reem Omarit, FARREP Community Workers


he African Women’s Cross Cultural Exchange Day was held on Friday 13 June at the Footscray Baptist Church Hall. The original idea was proposed by WHW FARREP worker, Rumia Abbas, herself a refugee from the Horn of Africa. Rumia expressed frustration with the number of events for refugee women that involved African women learning from western service providers. She wanted to reverse those roles, encouraging African women as the best experts on their own lives. Hosted by Women’s Health West, together with migrant and refugee African women, the United Somali Women’s Organisation, the Royal Women’s Hospital, Doutta Galla Community Health Centre, Western Region Health Centre, City West Water, Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Service and African Holistic Social Services of Victoria, the day had several aims:


For African women’s voices to be heard


To alert service providers to relevant issues as identified by culturally and linguistically diverse African women


To raise awareness and understanding of different African cultures


To celebrate the positive aspects of different African cultures from the perspective of African women



To introduce FARREP workers as a key resource for cultural and health issues for African women in the western region affected by FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and to reinforce this as one cultural practice to be left behind


To provide information to assist health service providers to adopt more culturally sensitive practices that recognise the differences in culture among African communities.

Service providers were welcomed with a traditional coffee ceremony. They were invited to join women from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Burundi in a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere as they shared their stories, knowledge and culture, through presentations and a variety of cultural performances. The day was a celebration of African culture including arts and crafts displays, traditional African dress, African food and henna painting. The African Women’s Cross Cultural Exchange Day was successful at many levels. African women creatively presented their unique cultures and talked about their diverse experiences. They also had the opportunity to meet other women and service providers to discuss challenges and opportunities for their respective communities. For service providers, this day was a great opportunity to meet women from different communities, exchange



wellbeing SOCIAL connectedness

Quilters Generate Winter Warmth for Women in Crisis


Kim Reilly, President, Seabreeze Quilters

Our members know how much pleasure a quilt can bring. A quilt that is bright and colourful or soft and snugly can give comfort to a child who is sick, lonely or frightened. It may sound strange that a ‘blanket’ can give so much support but we all know how children hang on to a special item that can be used to calm or settle them. It didn’t take much to convince members that creating a quilt for a child who may need a ‘cuddly’ or ‘snuggly’ would be a small matter compared to the emotional and physical trauma that child may have suffered. We aim to supply enough

quilts for each child who goes through crisis accommodation to leave with their very own quilt. We hope to build up a store of quilts for workers to distribute and when the supply is low, we will replenish the stocks. We will supply a range of designs suitable for boys, girls and varying age groups. Most Seabreeze members have children or grandchildren and colours and styles will be inspired by what we have made for our loved ones. The group decided a ‘care package’ would be of greatest value to the mums, and will provide toiletries and other items to make life a little easier in this traumatic time. We feel our contribution may take some pressure off WHW who provide so much for the women and children who need their help. WHW would like to thank Seabreeze Quilters for their thoughtful and

Photographer: Mary Wylie


he members of Seabreeze Quilters love to make quilts for anyone - especially children - and have decided to make quilts for the children housed in Women’s Health West’s (WHW) crisis accommodation service.

Mary Wylie’s magical fairy hopscotch quilt is one of the designs that will warm a child in crisis

generous contribution to WHW and to the lives of women and children in the western region. If you would like to join this creative and active group, you can contact them through the Luis Joel Community Arts Centre 5 Sargood Street, Altona 3018 or call (03) 9398 2511.

Women in trouble Footballers and students raise funds for WHW

Ann Campbell

Nicola Harte, Communications Coordinator

Women are in trouble As they approach their retirement years There was no compulsory Super For them or their peers Many of them are single They work hard to pay the rent And now that that has doubled They could soon be living in a tent


omen’s Health West (WHW) has been very lucky to be the beneficiary of two separate fundraising events. A group of students from Victoria University organised a very successful coffee evening to raise awareness about health and funds for WHW. Robyn Gregory, CEO attended their presentation at Docklands to accept a cheque on behalf of WHW. Robyn also attended the WRFL women’s football foundation season launch on Monday 28 April 2008 to introduce WHW to the network. Fellow speakers included Melanie Heenan from the AFL and Dagmar Anderson from the Victoria Police as well as a message from Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Patron of the Western Region Football League Women’s Football Foundation.

of Human Services. The balance is made up of grants for specific projects and donations. Even the smallest donation you can afford makes a very real impact on our ability to support the health, wellbeing and safety of women in the west of Melbourne. Donations to WHW are tax deductible. To find out more about making a donation please call 03 9689 9588 or visit www.whwest. /docs/donate.pdf

Why not band together? Communes were all the rage It worked in the 60s Combined talents provide a wage Forget free love and marijuana Think veggie plot and solar power Include a communal hybrid car, internet access and happy hour! You can’t see this working? Well, what’s the answer then? Fill out a form for Centrelink When you’ve saved enough to buy a pen

WHW receives 85 percent of our core funding from the Department


whw news edition 2 • 2008

Sally Camilleri, Health Promotion Worker

Photo: Kim Ly (LOA Participant)

Photo: Julie Veszpremi

Kirsten Campbell (WHW health promotion worker), Dayane Stanovic (WYPIN coordinator), Sally Camilleri (WHW health promotion worker)

Young women participating in Lead On Again, Peer Educators and facilitators

Through Lead On Again, I am happy to express myself, get to know other young women and learn about their experiences and courage. Giving to others, being there for others and helping them – you showed me how to do that. Lead On Again Participant, 2008


omen’s Health West (WHW) is delighted to have commenced a partnership with specialist youth advocacy organisation, Western Young Persons Independent Network (WYPIN). This successful partnership enabled both agencies to meet our shared objective of encouraging young people from diverse backgrounds to participate as advocates in our community. We learned that planning and attention to detail, for example offering a welcoming environment and nurturing food, contribute to creating a safe space for young women to grow. Nine vibrant young women from Mauritius, Burma, Burundi, Vietnam, Somalia and Ethiopia came together for WHW’s third leadership program in April 2008. They brought with them a richness of knowledge, wisdom and a willingness to be open and share their experiences. We tried new things together yoga, event planning and all sorts of different foods. When asked about

whw news edition 2 • 2008

their experience of Lead On Again, participant’s highlights included meeting other young people and finding out about their experiences, learning about the qualities of a good leader, sexual health, women’s rights and how to plan an event. We laughed and cried together, and learned about each other’s experiences and bravery. By the end of the week we were richer from our time together. Kirsten Campbell - Facilitator If you would like to know more about the Lead On Again model or are interested in running a similar program within your service, the manual that includes training resources, facilitator’s notes, and an evaluation of the program, is available from WHW. See page 18 of this newsletter to order your copy. Kirsten and Sally also presented a paper about Lead On Again at the Population Health Congress in Brisbane in July this year.


Western Young People’s Independent Network (WYPIN) I had heard about Lead On Again through two WYPIN committee members who had been participants in the 2006 program. Their faces would light up when talking about Sally and Jane and the program. So it was with great anticipation and excitement that WYPIN began our partnership with Women’s Health West to deliver Lead On Again 2008. Luckily, our partnership has managed to live up to the great expectations that the WYPIN committee members had inadvertently created for me. Many of the young women who participated in this year’s Lead On Again program had recently arrived in Australia. All of the young women had already achieved many great things, and all had great ambition for their futures. Over the five days, the young women shared stories about their experiences. Through different activities and presentations, they began to unpack the differences in opportunities and challenges available in Australia compared to their home countries, and what this means to them and their life choices. Getting to know the young women and observing their confidence and awareness grow was very rewarding. I have no doubt that these young women will achieve the goals that they set for themselves and be leaders in the community. We will continue to walk with the young women on their leadership journeys, offering them further opportunities to work on issues that they feel are important through WYPIN and other projects that run in the west. Photo: Sally Camilleri

Young Women Lead the Way… Again!

Dayane Stanovic

Young women successfully make an egg fly on the first day as a team building activity.

Power On

Power On Modules

is ready to go!

Module 1

Introducing Power On

Module 2

Self Esteem

Module 3

Body Image

Module 4

Positive Thinking

Partner mental health service provider

Module 5

Exercise and Wellbeing


Module 6

Relationships: Connecting With Others

The Power On is an innovative strengthbased program for mental health service providers working with women who experience a mental illness

Module 7


Module 8

Access to Information

I am making more of an effort to socialise and to have a balance between people who are ill and not ill (in my life); to cultivate friendships!

Module 9

Communication With Your Health

It all STARTS with you. It is me who can change my negatives into positives.

Module 10 Nutrition and

Sally Camilleri, Health Promotion Worker

I would recommend Power On as widely as possible. I am really keen to see it roll out further – it’s so good! fter more than three years of trials and research, Women’s Health West have finalised the development of a training manual – and trained two peer educators to work with mental health service providers – to implement our peer education program, Power On, within their women’s groups. Regular readers will know that Power On is a support group-based program that runs over twelve weeks, focusing on women’s strengths and offering practical tools to assist women who experience mental illness to recognise their power and enhance their own wellbeing. The program was developed in consultation with women with a mental illness, who identified the factors that they saw as crucial to their own mental health and wellbeing. Six months after participating in Power On women said;

This manual is now available to agencies in the western region that develop a partnership with WHW to deliver Power On. It contains a Do-It-Yourself guide to implementing the program, with training resources including fact sheets, practical introductory notes, session plans with learning objectives and activity plans for each of the modules listed in the table.

Professional Healthy Weight Module 11 Menopause and Your

Menstrual Cycle Module 12 Revision and

Celebration Plus

Information for Family and Friends Workshop

Our First Conference Presentation Roslyn Beer and Josephine Maria, Power On Peer Educators Photo: Sally Camilleri


n Thursday 3 April 2008, Josephine Maria, Roslyn Beer and Sally Camilleri presented Power On to approximately forty people at the Reconnexion 3rd Biennial Conference on Anxiety and Depression at the Trade Centre in Melbourne. On arrival we all felt nervous and excited; this was the first time we had presented Power On in front of an audience. We arrived early enough to have a full rehearsal, which showed up some potential problems, for instance, a slide had gone missing and had to be recovered. This also allayed many of our anxieties and increased our confidence for the real thing.

An icebreaker created an atmosphere of fun and relaxation. Using a 70s CD called ‘Explosive Hits’ and more than ten balloons, we asked participants to keep the balloons off the ground. Most people loosened up and got into the spirit of the activity, later they said it was heaps of fun. Roslyn - Peer Educator We introduced ourselves and explained that Power On is a wellbeing program for women who experience mental illness and that peer education is a central part of the model. To me the most wonderful and memorable thing was that I read a piece of work about Power On written by

15 15

Katherine Doyle who passed away in 2007. I felt honoured to be able to read this account of her journey through the project. Josephine - Peer Educator We provided a sample of some of the interactive activities that form the program and finished off with a relaxation piece by Jo to provide a relaxing moment for all who attended our workshop. This was a fantastic opportunity to display some of the strengths of the Power On program. Many conference delegates approached us at the end saying that our presentation was a great success.

whw news edition 2 • 2008

Camp creates space for relationships Danielle interviewed by Nicola Harte, Communications Coordinator

Tell me about your experience of the camp to Phillip Island earlier this year. It was great to get away with your kids and not to be pressured by money and how much it costs… this was good to have something that wasn’t going to take away from anything else. How did the experience meet your expectations? It was weird to share one room with about twenty other people, I didn’t expect that. I’m kind of a private person and to have people snoring on both sides of you was a bit odd!

Had you met the other women before? No, I hadn’t met any of the other women before. It was good though, to see people changing their lives for the better, for their kids. People moving in positive directions. What are your personal highlights of the trip? Just being able to do those activities with my kids, it was the first time my daughter and I’d ever tried to surf together and that was a lot of fun. Just doing activities together was really good. Yeah, getting away from home for a couple of days and getting away from everything. And the kids, did they have a favourite part? The kids liked the penguins the best, though they found it a bit cold! They

enjoyed running with their friends up to the beach. Oh, they really liked the rock pools! Absolutely loved the rock pools and loved hearing people give information about that stuff. They found the night walk just great. I think they just liked walking along a dirt track at night-time where you can’t see in front of you… Did you find that being in a different surrounding with different activities meant that your family interacted differently? When you’re at home, they want to play games, but you have your housework and things that you have to do, but there it was a lot easier. That time was for that sort of stuff and it was good to be able to do that with them. Would you do it again? Yes. I’m going to try to do a holiday like that for my girls and me. I want to look into finding something that won’t cost too much money; now I know what it’s like to get away for a couple of days I’m definitely going to try to do it.

Women’s Health West would like to thank R.E. Ross Trust for the grant that made this trip possible.

whw news edition 2 • 2008


Photos: Wanchi

Membership form Membership is free. To apply, fill in this form and mail to Women’s Health West: 317–319 Barkly Street, Footscray VIC 3011 TYPE OF MEMBERSHIP


Individual Voting Member


(woman who lives, works or studies in the western metro region) NAME


Organisational Member




(organisation in, or whose client-base includes, the region) (Individual members only)






(This person is also eligible to attend and vote at our Annual General Meeting) POSITION

Please send me more information about your professional development programs.

Associate Non-voting Member

(individual or organisation outside the region)

Trailblazers: Migrant Women Activists

Cut form along dotted line and fold here. Tape end to create envelope.

Reem Omarit, WHW FARREP Community Worker


n Wednesday 21 May 2008, the Immigration Museum held a forum titled ‘Is Multiculturalism Good for Women? Advocacy, Apathy and Attitude’. The forum was presented in conjunction with the exhibition being held at the Museum entitled Trailblazers: Migrant Women Activists.

This forum gave me additional insight into the various challenges facing the African Australian community at present. It also made me think about how to better support African women to actively participate within the Presenters included Professor Joy Damousi (Head of wider community without losing their note: the School of Historical Studies at the University of t is the customer's responsibility to check that the artwork is correct, please check the delivery address details and addressee details below the barcode. Contact Aust own unique identities andthe cultures. Melbourne), Farah Farouque (Senior Writer with The equired. Failure to adhere correct addressing formatting standards will result in higher customer charges or cancellation Age),to and Nyadol Nyuonand (a young Sudanese woman Trailblazers: Migrant Womenof service. note: Refer to the Reply Paidfor Service Guide or visit working the Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues). Activists displays posters, flyers, and tresponsibility is the customer's to check responsibility that the artwork to check is correct, that the please artworkcheck is correct, the delivery please address check thedetails delivery andaddress the addressee details and details the below addressee the barcode. details below Contact theAustralia barcode.Post Contact if any Aust ch Please check the artwork details thoroughly. Australia Post is not responsible for any errors. equired. photographs of 30 powerful and As atoyoung African woman, working with African women Failure correcttoaddressing adhere correct and formatting addressing standards and formatting will result standards in higher will customer result in charges higher or customer cancellation charges of service. or cancellation of service. inspiring migrant women until July 27 Melissa Afentoulis, former Refer Paid Service to the Reply GuidePaid or visit Service Guide or visitI found within the FARREP program, Nyadol’s speech about CEO of WHW was one of For more information go to Please artworkcheck details the thoroughly. artwork Australia thoroughly. Post is not Australia responsible isfor not any responsible errors. for 2008. any errors. Font colour:details Black only Note: All components must be printed. the Sudanese community’s settlement bothPost interesting and the women featured in the Re-scaling wil Width: 110 mm X Length: 220 mm The artwork components must not be re-scaled. relevant. She spoke about the challenge of living in a new Trailblazers exhibition ImmigrationMuseum problems. Photo courtesy of country with a different culture and language. Her discussion t colour: Black only Font colour: Black only Note: All componentsNote: must All be components printed. must be printed. Neos Kosmos included the media’s negative th: 110 mm X Length: Width: 220 110 mm mm X Length: 220 mmportrayal of Sudanese refugees The artwork components The must artwork notcomponents be re-scaled.must Re-scaling not be re-scaled. will create Re-scaling processingwil problems. problems. Cut form along dotted line and fold here. and how this affected their settlement experience. Tape end to create envelope.

Delivery Address: 317 -319 Barkly St FOOTSCRAY VIC 3011 Delivery Address:Delivery Address: 317 -319 Barkly St 317 -319 Barkly St FOOTSCRAY VICFOOTSCRAY 3011 VIC 3011

Women's Health West Reply Paid 84523 FOOTSCRAY VIC 3011 Women's Health Women's West Health West Reply Paid 84523 Reply Paid 84523 FOOTSCRAY FOOTSCRAY VIC 3011 VIC 3011 17

whw news edition 2 • 2008

Travelling tales of everyday activism Nicola Harte, Communications Coordinator A powerful exhibition is travelling around the western region of Melbourne. Tapestries: Stories of Everyday Activism is a photographic exhibition that features images and inspirational stories of twelve fantastic women.

To book the exhibition for display at your community centre, organisation or gallery please call 03 9689 9588 or email

The exhibition aims to raise awareness and celebrate the range of experiences of women’s power to achieve and focusses on actions they have taken at individual, organisational, community or societal levels. Engaging in ‘everyday activism’. Betty’s story on page five of this edition is an example of just one of the moving tales in this narrative caravan. We hope that the stories of everyday activism inspire and awaken your inner activist. Don’t stay inside. Get out and take action, exert your power, make change! The exhibition was on display at South Kingsville Community Centre in May and June this year. Next stop is the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre in Altona from 21 July to 8 August, and the Hunt Club Community Arts Centre in Deer Park follows from 17 September to 10 October. In 2009, the exhibition moves to Wyndham Cultural Centre in Werribee from 14 to 28 April.

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A range of brochures and fact sheets are available to view and download from our web site

whw news edition 2 • 2008

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Group for Adult Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

24 August 2008 Daffodil Day is the largest national fundraising event for cancer research, education and patient support in the southern hemisphere. The daffodil is the international symbol of hope for all touched by cancer. Visit the website for instructions on how to volunteer and order merchandise. The Cancer Council Victoria 1300 65 65 85

Girls Night In 1 October 2008 Spend a night in with the girls throughout October and raise money for women’s cancers. 1300 65 65 85

Mental Health Week 2008

A free 8 week group on Thursday evenings from October to December 2008.

Tapestries: Stories of everyday activism Exibition Open: 17 September – 10 October 2008 Opening hours: 9am-8pm Mon-Thurs, 9am-5pm Fri and 9am-1pm Sat An exhibition of inspirational stories and images celebrating the everyday activism of twelve fantastic women from the west of Melbourne. Each of the women was nominated by other organisations in recognition of their work. The Hunt Club 775 Ballarat Road, Deer Park 03 9361 6600

5–11 October 2008 Mental Health Week aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians around mental health. The theme for 2008 is Mental Health: What do you know?

WestCASA 53 Ballarat Road (Cnr Moore St), Footscray 9687 5811

Pink Ribbon Day 27 October 2008 Pink ribbon day is a day to help our fight against breast cancer. Money raised through donations and sale of merchandise assists in funding research, prevention and education campaigns, and foster hope for those affected by this life threatening disease. 1300 65 65 85

White Ribbon Day – International day for the elimination of violence against women 25 November 2008 Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge not to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and children.

03 9427 0406

Radical Campaigns that changed Australia From The Seeds of Dissent 2007! Calendar produced by 3CR 855AM, Melbourne’s activist radio station. Radical dates sourced by Iain McIntyre of the 3CR calendar team.

August - October 3 August 1970

Melbourne 100s rally for divorce reform

8 August 1972

Sydney Gay Liberation holds a public protest over the use of aversion therapy in the psychiatric ‘treatment’ of gays and lesbians

11 August 1887

The Brisbane Women’s Union is formed

25 August 1970

750, 000 stop work for three hours over proposed Federal cuts to social services

30 August 1971

Members of Women’s Liberation March in Melbourne against sexism in the union movement

15 September 1973

Police attack 200 gay and lesbian protesters attempting to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Martin Plaza

20 September 1917

Melbourne women smash windows at 20 businesses known for repressing workers rights

29 September 1995

Nurses hold stop-work protests over health cuts

3 October 1927

Aboriginal activists petition the NSW Government, demanding an end to the removal of Indigenous children

21 October 1916

The Women’s Peace Army leads a demonstration of 80, 000 in Melbourne against conscription

30 October 1992

Thousands of women march nationally to Reclaim The Night


whw news edition 2 • 2008

Women’s Health West in the News


frican Women’s Cross-Cultural Exchange Day gained excellent coverage in the local press. Read more about the exciting day on page 12.

Tuesday 17 Jun e 2008

Council dig s in for tunne l A Star News Group publica tion

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No 249 50c inc. GST

Sports program scores a hit

‘Wedding’ forg es new ties

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BY CHARLEN E GATT MARIBYRNO NG City Cou ncil has urged State Governm ent the Footscray to Cau to act fast on the propos ed mission to the lfield rail tunnel in its draft sub Sir Needs Assessm Rod Eddington East West Lin ent (EWLNA) k report. The council’s dictably branded 20-page submission has prethat should star the rail tunnel a big-ticket item t warm respons “immediately”- but gave a luke e Action Plan and to Sir Rod Eddington’s Tru ck proposed east-we st road link. The submission said City of Ma dents frequently ribynong resito board overcrocomplained about not being able Footscray, Sed wded trains at West Footscr don and Yarravi ay, includes a requ lle stations. It est pedestrian, cyc that the new line be fitted with ling and disa bility facilitie enhance its prac s to ticality. The council has also requested stations include that any new d bus stops, and in the tunnel be close to tram has requested and it be planning and dev elopment consult involved in the ation process. A fast bus serv and the West Gat ice on the Western Ring Roa an interim mea e Freeway has been suggested d sure as have been provide until the rail improveme nts d. The council has also supported new rail connec the proposed tion between Wer shine, the elec ribee and Sun trifi the constructio cation of the Sunbury line and n between Sunshin of third and fourth rail line e s and Footscray, 2006 Meeting as note d in the Our Transport ment. Challenges stat eBut Sir Rod Dressed for the occasion Action Plan was Eddington’s much-hyped Tru ... Originally traditional Eth ck not so well rece from Harar in iop ived. eastern Ethiop The submission Swadi and Ekr ian costumes. From left ia, these fou to right, Ima am Sherif, all r women are freight route alon said the proposed north-s n Hussen, of from Werrib cele brating African outh dressed in Hoppers Cro ee, were par culture. The Rd and Ashley g West Footscray’s Paramo ssing, Widad t of a perform y performed unt Omer, Auini St would create a trad through residen itional weddin ance at the Women’s Hea tial West Footscr additional traffic lth West day g song and dan and would requ ay and Braybrook ce. ire the widenin g of Ashley St. It has also dee med a new Footscray and Dynon roads with road connecting Lynch’s Bridge Ballarat Rd nea BY CHARLEN imp E GATT bridge would hav lausible, and said the propos r ed Hall saw up to e sign ificant impact Paddock wetland 50 migrants exp A TRADITION on Newell’s their reserve. ress gain a better underst demonstration AL African wedding mon culture through the mock cere Sir Rod Eddingt anding of the forged a new rela y as well as on’s 18km east ship dance, arts and- women’s backgroun ridor raised sev tion -we - crafts, between st road coren ds, migration experiences and migrants and hea female African decorata coffee ceremony and hen including unknow main concerns with the cou settlement issu na ncil lth ion. serv , n pro ice pert pro es. y acquisition requ last Friday. viders ments and mor WHW commun e traffic at the ireRepresentatives ity worker Rumia interchanges of proposed new from service Abbas said refu Hosted by Wo provid road. the gee women livi (WHW), the cros men’s Health West Womeners - including the Roy ng in the outer wes tern region had day at Footscr s-cultural exchange Women ’s Hospital, United Som al cited Continued on been ali as one of the ay’s Baptist Chu Page 2. ’s most disadvanrch Region Organisation and Western taged cultural groups Health Centre. attended to EASY TERM

Women’s Health West 317-319 Barkly Street Footscray 3011 phone

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WHW News (Edition 2, 2008)  
WHW News (Edition 2, 2008)  

# Victorian women win reproductive freedom # WHW submission on the commonwealth government's homelessness green paper # Experts create fact...