Women's Health In the North
WHIN Celebrates 25 Years
On Thursday 27th October, 2016 WHIN celebrated 25 years of working for the health, safety and wellbing of women in the northern metropolitan region of Melbourne.
The celebration featured author, curator and social activist Tasneem Chopra who reflected on 25 years of feminism, with a lense on the contribution of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and the road still to be travelled to achieve gender equality.
The refreshingly original and independently produced duo of Jen Anderson and Freya Hanly came together to perform especially for WHIN's event.
A history of WHIN, packed with photos, interviews and an impressive timeline of the organisation's achievements of the quarter of a century, was launched at the event which was held in conjunction with WHIN's 2016 Annual General Meeting.
From humble beginnings as a drop-in centre and telephone help line for women in Melbourne's north, WHIN now provides information and training on issues spanning money management, gender and natural disaster, family violence prevention and response, gambling, and sexual and reproductive health.
Over the years, WHIN's work has seen older women taking up power tools (through the 'Golden Girls' home maintenance classes), young homeless women gathering to talk health and wellbeing ('Chat and Chew'), and migrant and refugee women learning about micro credit ('Enterprising Women').
WHIN's CEO, Helen Riseborough, said WHIN has a rich history of working with women to improve health outcomes by giving them voice, choice and power.
'This celebration is about honouring the women who did the work. I'd like to think that the women who set up the service would be proud of what it is today,' said Ms Riseborough.
WHIN's geographic focus is the local government areas of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra in Melbourne's northern metropolitan region. This region covers more than 1,600 square kilometres from inner city Richmond to remote parts of the Kinglake Ranges. The region contains suburbs diverse in ethnicity, socio-economic status and infrastructure.
'WHIN's future development and growth will ensure even greater reach and influence', Ms Riseborough said.
The event was well attended and included past and present WHIN members, supporters, partners, Board and Staff.
A Strategy for Going South in the North
On Tuesday 5th July, WHIN launched A Strategy for Going South in the North which is the sexual and reproductive health strategy for the northern metropolitan region. The strategy is the product of three years of needs analysis and consultation activities across the region, including the development of Going South in the North: A snapshot of the sexual and reproductive health status of women living in Melbourne's northern metropolitan region and the establishment of the Northern Metropolitan Region Sexual and Reproductive Health Network.
The vision of A Strategy for Going South in the North is a northern metropolitan region of Melbourne where:
- women, men and service providers are educated about and have a developed understanding of sexual and reproductive health;
- sexual and reproductive health services are appropriate and accessible; and
- all women and men are free to express their sexuality without experiencing ill health, discrimination or abuse.
The strategy has been developed to foster collaborative action across health organisations in the region and promote sexual and reproductive health as a priority health issue. A Strategy for Going South in the North will be supported by an action plan detailing organisational commitment and will be developed over the next 12 months.
Media Release: Family Violence Services in Melbourne's North Welcome Government's Commitment
At their meeting yesterday, representatives from twenty-five organisations commended the funding measures, which include funding for more housing and crisis accommodation for women and children, increased counselling and support, prevention initiatives and a stronger justice system to hold perpetrators to account.
The Northern Integrated Family Violence Services Regional Integration Committee is a partnership of family violence and related services in Melbourne's Northern Metropolitan Region.
Women’s Health In the North’s CEO and committee chair Helen Riseborough said the funding package started to deliver on the Family Violence Royal Commission’s most urgent recommendations.
“It is the first step in the long-term process to address the needs of women and children and to change attitudes towards women,” Ms Riseborough said.
The committee met to review the Royal Commission’s final report and praised the Victorian Government’s commitment to implement the 227 recommendations in full.
Ms Riseborough commended the Andrews Government and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence the Hon. Fiona Richardson MP for their commitment to address the crisis of family violence.
“This leadership is essential to end family violence,” she said.
“The Royal Commission has recognised that prevention of violence against women is a long-term undertaking and that family violence will only stop when community norms and societal structures that perpetuate unequal relations between women and men are changed.
“The statewide network of women’s health services is an essential part of the picture in prevention.
“Women’s health services have been leading violence prevention and gender equity work for decades and it is essential that we build on the great work that has been achieved so far to dismantle harmful attitudes towards women, promote gender equality and encourage respectful relationships.”
You can download this media release for distribution here.
WHIN Acknowledges Traditional Owners
WHIN acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which we provide our services. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and express our hope for reconciliation, justice and the recognition of the ongoing living culture of all Aboriginal people.
Royal Commission into Family Violence Final Report Released
WHIN welcomes the release of the historic Royal Commission into Family Violence report. The report was delivered to Government House on Tuesday, 29th March, and tabled in parliament on Wednesday, 30th March.
Premier Daniel Andrews has promised to implement all of the 227 recommendations.
The recommendations include:
- Support and Safety Hubs in local communities throughout Victoria, to make it easier for victims to find help and gain access to a greater range of services
- new laws to ensure that privacy consideratins do not trump victims' safety - with a Central Information Point to funnel information about perpetrators to the Hubs
- an immediate funding boost to services that support victims and families, additional resources for Aboriginal community initiatives and a dedicated funding stream for preventing family violence and
- a 'blitz' to rehouse women and children forced to leave their homes, supported by expanded individual funding packages (Royal Commission into Family Violence Summary and Recommendations 2016, p15).
The report marks the beginning of a new era to address and prevent family violence. WHIN has commenced our review of the report and looks forward to working with our regional partners and state government to action the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations.
Submission to the Victorian Gender Equity Strategy Consultation
WHIN made a submission to the Victorian Government’s Gender Equality Strategy consultation. WHIN congratulates the Victorian Government on their commitment to developing a Gender Equality Strategy. Once developed, the Strategy will provide a foundation for addressing the current state of gender inequality in Victoria and will send a clear message to the community about the importance of this issue.
Gender inequality permeates all aspects of women’s social, economic and civic lives, and prevents many women from living with dignity and free from gender–based fear and discrimination. As a women’s health service, WHIN works to address gender inequality and the determinants of women’s health, safety and wellbeing, recognising gender as an overarching social determinant of health and a critical factor influencing quality of life. WHIN’s submission identifies key principles for inclusion in the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy and provides case studies to illustrate the work currently being undertaken to address gender inequality in the northern metropolitan region of Melbourne.