Sexual and Reproductive Health

All women and gender-diverse people have the right to good sexual and reproductive health.

Sexual and reproductive health includes:

  • Freedom for women and gender-diverse people to express their sexuality
  • Women and gender-diverse people’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 and gender-diverse people’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 and gender-diverse people’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.

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A Strategy for Going South in the North 2016–2021

Women and gender-diverse people 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. The next iteration of A Strategy for Going South in the North 2022–26 is under development.

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 20192023.

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, post-natal sexuality, medical termination of pregnancy and long-acting reversible contraceptives, female genital cutting/circumcision, cervical screening and sexually transmissible infections and blood-borne viruses.

‘Side by Side’

‘Side by Side’ is a culturally responsive, respectful relationships and sexual and reproductive health program for women, girls and gender-diverse people from countries that traditionally practise female genital cutting (FGC). See the ‘Side by Side’ project page for more information.

‘MindCycle’

MindCycle sought to understand the challenges for women and other people in the NMR who menstruate and whether there has been a compounding impact on their mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project sought to identify whether women and other people who menstruate were supported to meet their menstrual health management needs throughout the pandemic, with a particular focus on the specific needs of those with endometriosis and/or polycystic ovary syndrome. See our MindCycle video on our Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources page. This project was funded by the Office for Women.

‘Sex Ed 101’

‘Sex Ed 101’ is a social media campaign advocating for sexual and reproductive health as a health priority for women and gender-diverse people. The campaign provides sex positive, accessible information about sexual and reproductive health and health care that enables individuals to access and interact with healthcare systems, to seek out services, manage their own health and make everyday decisions to maintain good health. Access the Sex Ed 101 eBook on our Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources page.

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 young people under the age of 15. At least 200 million women and girls alive today have been cut. A significant population of women and gender-diverse people 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, girls, and gender-diverse people.
  • 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 and gender-diverse people who have been impacted by the practice may experience.