Sexual and Reproductive Health

All women have the right to good sexual and reproductive health.

Sexual and reproductive health includes:

  • Freedom for women to express their sexuality
  • Women’s rights to choose if, when and how they reproduce
  • Access to affordable sexual and reproductive health services
  • Right to experience safe, respectful intimacy and relationships.

Are you looking for resources on this topic? See our Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources page.

What We Do

We provide leadership and resourcing for strategic regional work to promote women’s sexual and reproductive health, including the development and implementation of A Strategy for Going South in the North 2016–2021. We offer community education and professional development on women’s sexual and reproductive health. We lead and resource the Going South in the North Strategic Advisory Group and the Going South in the North Community of Practice.

A Strategy for Going South in the North 2016–2021

Women living in the northern metropolitan region (NMR) continue to be disproportionately affected by poor sexual and reproductive health. Many local government areas have higher than state average teenage birth rates chlamydia, gonorrhoea and hepatitis B, with some areas having much lower cervical screening and HPV immunisation rates.

A Strategy for Going South in the North 2016–2021 focuses on addressing these sexual and reproductive health issues. The Strategy has informed the development of A Strategy for Going South in The North Action Plan 2017–2019.  The Action Plan supports the implementation of the strategy.

Going South in the North Strategic Advisory Group

This group provides leadership, advice and expertise to strengthen the existing sexual and reproductive health services, address key service gaps, and identify opportunities for collaborative action. It is a regional mechanism to support the implementation of the Victorian Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Key Priorities 20172020 and the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 20152019.

Going South in the North Community of Practice

WHIN convenes, resources and chairs the Going South in the North Community of Practice. This community is facilitated using online communication platform Basecamp. Additionally, members of the Community of Practice meet biannually for professional development, networking and capacity to support the approaches outlined in A Strategy for Going South in the North 2016–2021. 

Health Practitioner Sexual and Reproductive Health Education and Training

WHIN works in close collaboration with key stakeholders to support the delivery of training to general practitioners, practice nurses and pharmacists in the NMR. Training and education is delivered on a range of topics such as respectful relationships in schools, medical termination of pregnancy and long-acting reversible contraceptives, female genital cutting/circumcision, cervical screening and sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses.

‘Sexual Health Information Pathways Project – For International Students’ (SHIPP)

The ‘Sexual Health Information Pathways Project – For International Students’ (SHIPP) aims to address the high rates of unplanned pregnancies, terminations and sexually transmitted infections for female international students studying in Australia. This project is being delivered in partnership with La Trobe University, and is working to improve students’ sexual and reproductive health through education, advocacy and access to health services.  WHIN continues to work closely with SHIPP stakeholders to gain input about the approach and conduct of the work.

‘SHIPP’ is supported by the Victorian Government’s International Student Welfare Program, Study Melbourne.

‘Side by Side’

‘Side by Side’ is a culturally responsive, respectful relationships and sexual and reproductive health program for communities affected by female genital cutting (FGC). See the ‘Side by Side’ project page for more information.

 

Female Genital Cutting (FGC)

Female genital cutting comprises all practices involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to female genital organs, for non-medical reasons. FGC is usually performed on girls under the age of 15. At least 200 million women and girls alive today have been cut. A significant population of women in Melbourne’s northern metropolitan region (NMR) are from communities where FGC is practised.

Are you looking for resources on this topic? See our Female Genital Cutting Resources on the Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources page.

What We Do

  • We work towards the abandonment of the practice of FGC, and recognise it as a violation of human rights, specifically the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls.
  • We believe that in order to eradicate FGC, responses must be holistic, community-based and led, culturally sensitive and delivered in a sexual and reproductive health context.
  • We provide community education and professional development on FGC including how to manage the sexual and reproductive health problems it may cause and support and referral for those affected.

FARREP Program

WHIN’s ‘Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program’ (FARREP) delivers community education and professional development sessions in the NMR on FGC issues. These sessions provide education on the practice and how to manage the sexual and reproductive health problems FGC may cause. WHIN also provides support and referral for those affected.

As part of the this work, WHIN has been pleased to develop, produce and distribute new FGC fact sheets, which can be accessed in the FGC page of this website’s ‘Resources’ section.

Professional Development

WHIN delivers FGC professional education sessions to clinicians and allied health staff, for example at Northern Hospital and Craigieburn Health Services. The sessions focus on culturally sensitive service provision and the key health issues that women who have been impacted by the practice may experience.