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- Job Listings
- Our Board
- Take Action: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
- Preventing Violence against Women Evaluation Report Launched
- Our Staff
- Economic Participation Resources
- Preventing Violence Against Women
- Northern Integrated Family Violence Services (NIFVS)
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources
What We Do
Northern Integrated Family Violence Services (NIFVS)
WHIN’s Northern Integrated Family Violence Services (NIFVS) team leads the implementation of the Victorian Government’s family violence reforms in Melbourne’s Northern metropolitan region. The team works to strengthen and resource the sector’s response to family violence and aims to ensure that women and children who experience family violence receive the best response from services.
WHIN’s NIFVS team oversees the Counselling and Support Alliance for the planning, implementation and evaluation of counselling and group work services within the integrated family violence service system. The NIFVS team also supported the establishment, and resources the ongoing operation, of the Northern Crisis Advocacy Response Service (NCARS), a 24/7 face-to-face counselling response for women experiencing family violence. This service has been so successful that the Victorian Department of Human Services has introduced a statewide rollout of funding for enhanced after-hours services with guidelines heavily informed by the NCARS model.
With funding from the Victorian Women’s Trust, the NIFVS team has also developed a short film, Love Control, aimed at educating young women about the early warning signs of abusive relationships. This film is available as a resource to schools, health agencies and community organisations.
For more information, visit our NIFVS website.
Week Without Violence and the Clothesline Project
Activities for both Week Without Violence (WWV) and the Clothesline Project have been held in the northern metropolitan region since 1999, and due to the commitment of workers from family violence organisations, local councils, community legal centres, community health centres, women's health services and women's support groups in the region, these events have engaged thousands of community members, victims/survivors and young people.
The two main objectives of WWV and the Clothesline Project campaigns in the northern metropolitan region are to:
- provide a therapeutic space for survivors of violence to speak out about their experiences; and
- raise awareness about family violence to change community attitudes.
More information about the campaigns can be found on the international Week Without Violence and the Clothesline Project websites, the Melbourne's Northern Region Says NO to Family Violence Facebook page and the Week Without Violence Melbourne's North Twitter account.
Preventing Violence Against Women
Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) has identified violence against women as a priority area since it formed in 1991. An increasing focus on preventing violence before it occurs led WHIN to develop Building a Respectful Community - Preventing Violence against Women - A Strategy for the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne 2011-2016. WHIN works with regional partner organisations to implement the strategy and provides events, training, resources, advocacy, evaluation, strategic networks and support for organisations and staff.
WHIN's Northern Integrated Family Violence Services (NIFVS) Coordination Team leads the regional integration and coordination of family violence services in the northern region of Melbourne, and provides training and resources. For more information on NIFVS, visit the NIFVS page on WHIN's website.
On this Page:
Building a Respectful Community - Preventing Violence against Women - A Strategy for the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne 2011-2016
Developed by WHIN, with wide consultation and input, this strategy brings together the golbal and local evidence base and context, and summarises it in a regional framework. It outlines a shared vision and goals, and a range of actions for organisations to undertake. Fifty organisations in the northern region of Melbourne have committed to the strategy's vision and goals, including the region's seven councils, nine community health services, three primary care partnerships, three hospitals and 25 organisations from the NIFVS Strategic Network. To download a copy and for more information visit WHIN's Preventing Violence against Women Resources page.
Building a Respectful Community Implementation Advisory Group
This group provides strategic direction on the implementation of the regional prevention strategy, Building a Respectful Community. It has representation from the region's councils, primary care partnerships, community health services and violence against women response sector. WHIN convenes the group, which meets quarterly.
The shared focus areas for 2013-2014 are:
- Gender Analysis
- Regional Campaigns and Advocacy
- Workplace Family Violence Clauses and Policies
- Children and Young People
- Sports Settings
- Community or Place-Base Projects
Regional Event: ‘The North Commits to Building a Respectful Community’
Fifty local government, health and community organisations from the northern region of Melbourne came together on 6th May, 2013, to make a public commitment to actions to prevent violence against women. More information see the News section, below.
Evaluation Partnership with Monash University
WHIN has formed a partnership with Monash University’s Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit to undertake an evaluation of Building a Respectful Community and the regional approach to prevention. The project will contribute to the evidence base for preventing violence against women by evaluating the current regional strategies and by establishing a baseline for further evaluation. It involves focus groups, interviews and a workplace survey. The workplace survey was distributed to staff at 18 partner organisations and received more than 600 responses. The report will be available in November 2013.
Preventing Violence against Women Executive Update
Family Violence Help Cards
WHIN’s Preventing Violence against Women Resources page includes a range of fact sheets, background documents, training resources and reports. It also has a list of important external links, including links to VicHealth publications and Victorian and National Action Plans.
Week Without Violence
The Week Without Violence is an annual worldwide campaign created by the World YWCA and takes place in October. The campaign encourages communities to think and act towards a world without violence. For many years Local Family Violence Networks and other organisations in the northern region of Melbourne have held Week Without Violence events in October, with the ‘Clothesline Project’ as a key activity. WHIN has created a Week Without Violence and the Clothesline Project Tool Kit for the northern metropolitan region of Melbourne. This is available on the NIFVS page of WHIN's website.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in the USA 1991. Participants chose the dates between November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and December 10th (International Human Rights Day) to emphasise that violence is a violation of human rights. You can follow WHIN’s campaign on Facebook here. WHIN has created a 16 Days Campaign Tool Kit, which is available on the Preventing Violence Against Women Resources page.
White Ribbon Campaign
White Ribbon is the world's largest male-led movement to end men's violence against women. The campaign originated in Canada in 1991 and activities focus on White Ribbon Day, November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women). White Ribbon Australia seeks to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to and perpetuate men’s violence against women, by engaging boys and men to lead social change. Extensive activities have been held in the northern region of Melbourne by councils, police, sporting clubs, health and community organisations.
More information can be found on the White Ribbon website.
Launched in 2008, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.
More information can be found here.
Huge Regional Commitment to Preventing Violence against Women
Forty-nine local government, health and community organisations from the northern region of Melbourne have made a public commitment to actions to prevent violence against women.
The commitment was made at the WHIN event 'The North Commits to Building a Respectful Community', held at Moreland Civic Centre on Monday 6th May, 2013. It involved the region's seven Councils, nine Community Health Services, three Primary Care Partnerships, and members of the Northern Integrated Family Violence Services Strategic Network.
The event also featured a presentation from Dr Victor Sojo, Research Fellow at the Melbourne Business School's Centre for Ethical Leadership, on their ground-breaking 'Gender Equality Project'.
WHIN's CEO, Helen Riseborough, said the event was the most significant demonstration of cross-sectoral commitment to preventing violence against women that the northern region had seen.
'Thousands of women in the northern region live in fear, with violence and abuse part of their daily existence. The leaders of our local government, health and community organisations in the north agree that this is intolerable', Ms Riseborough said. 'The event highlights their ongoing commitment to eliminating violence against women and investing in a safer, more equitable and respectful community.'
Chief executives, senior managers and mayors signed a banner to commit to the vision and goals of Building a Respectful Community - Preventing Violence against women: A Strategy for the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne 2011-2016.
Violence against Women Fact Sheets for each local government area in the norther metropolitan region are available:
Preventing Violence against Women Evaluation Report Launched
WHIN is excited to release the culmination of a year-long evaluation of the northern region's collaborative approach to preventing violence against women. The evaluation was conducted by Dr Deborah Western from Monash University's Gender Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit, and included a workplace survey with more than 600 responses, focus groups and interviews. The focus of the evaluation was the regional approach to preventing violence against women, as guided by Building a Respectful Community – Preventing Violence against Women – A Strategy for the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne 2011-2016, the approaches used to implement this, and the benefits, challenges and opportunities of this approach.
The evaluation found that 'the integrated partnership approach has proven an effective method for engaging diverse sectors and organisations' and that it has resulted in a greater awareness of preventing violence against women, improved collaboration between organisations, and a higher priority given to prevention activities. The report also identifies barriers and challenges, and provides ideas for future work and directions. The evaluation approach, methodologies and background are detailed in the Evaluation Framework and the data analysis and findings are contained in the Evaluation Report.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Sexual and reproductive health is a priority area for WHIN, and is a holistic and multidimensional issue which has a great impact on women throughout their lives. It is 'a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence' (WHO, 2006).
WHIN is committed to advocating for a community where women and service providers are educated about and have a developed understanding of women's sexual and reproductive health; a community where sexual and reproductive services are appropriate and accessible; a community where women are free to express their sexuality without experiencing discrimination or abuse.
Women’s economic participation is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for both mental and physical health, which is why economic participation for women is a priority area of our work.
It is widely accepted that for women engaged in paid work, the majority experience greater financial security, independence and improved mental and physical health. However, paid labour force participation is not exclusively an indicator of good health – policies, conditions, hours worked and pay rates can all have a negative effect on health, particularly for women in some of Women’s Health In the North’s (WHIN’s) key target groups: women with low socio-economic status, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women and young women.
WHIN’s 2008 research into factors of economic participation affecting women’s health and wellbeing resulted in a resource of four fact sheets addressing the issues of women and consumption, women and work and women and climate change. WHIN also continues to advocate widely for policies and programs that will increase women’s positive economic participation.
Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) agrees with the world’s leading scientists that climate change is one of the most pressing and urgent issues of the 21st century. Women are particularly susceptible to climate change and climate change-induced disaster owing to factors including gendered roles, and unequal access to wealth, power and privilege.
Environmental Justice is a priority area for our work, and we are focusing on:
- Producing evidence, research and resources which demonstrate the relationship between women’s health and wellbeing and climate change;
- Advocating for organisations and government to specifically consider women’s health and wellbeing when planning and responding to climate change;
- Increasing women’s knowledge of and capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change on women’s health and wellbeing; and
- Being a strong public voice on women and climate change.
Identifying the Hidden Disaster Conference
This Australia-first conference was held in Melbourne on Friday, 9 March 2012 and opened by the Deputy Commissioner of Victorian Police, Tim Cartwright. Keynote speakers were Elaine Enarson, leading International researcher on gender and disaster; Lois Herbert, manager of the Battered Women's Refuge in Christchurch; and Megan Sety from the Australian Domestic and FV Clearinghouse. A highlight of the conference was the first hand and heartrending accounts from two women whose relationships suffered in the aftermath of Black Saturday.
The conference provided a perfect forum for the launch of the first Australian research to examine the impact on relationships after a natural disaster, 'The Way He Tells It', from WHGNE. Issues raised in this research were considered by 12 key players in disaster management in a 'Hypothetical'. The day concluded with five Action Planning Workshops to give delegates the opportunity to discuss the implications of the conference learnings and identify achievable actions.
Other Campaigns & Policy
An important part of our work involves bringing together and collaborating with individual women and women's services in Melbourne's Northern metropolitan region and across the state in calling for local Councils and the Victorian State Government to make women's health a priority. Our recent advocacy work is two-fold:
Safe, Well and Connected: Victorian Local Government Action Plan for Women's Health 2012-2016
Local government elections are happening across Victoria in October and Women's Health In the North has secured a pre-election commitment to women's health and wellbeing from a third of candidates across the Northern Region.
The list of committed candidates, available below, includes 7 candidates in Banyule, 20 candidates in Darebin, 8 candidates in Hume, 20 candidates in Moreland, 7 candidates in Nillumbik, 13 candidates in Whittlesea, and 15 candidates in Yarra.
Candidates were asked by WHIN to endorse Safe, Well and Connected: Victorian Local Government Action Plan for Women's Health 2012–2016. The Action Plan, developed by the Women's Health Association Victoria, includes actions to promote gender equity, prevent violence against women, promote women's sexual and reproductive health and improve women's economic participation.
Positive support was received from 90 candidates, which represents 35% of all candidates who provided contact details to the Victorian Electoral Commission.
To see if your local candidate has committed, view the list here: Candidates committed to Safe, Well and Connected
You can read the list of actions here: Safe, Well and Connected: Victorian Local Government Action Plan for Women's Health 2012-2016.