Welcome to the Women's Centre for Health Matters!
The Women's Centre for Health Matters Inc. (WCHM) is a community-based not for profit organisation which works in the ACT and surrounding region to improve women's health and wellbeing. We do this in a variety of ways including: Health Promotion, Social Research, Community Development, Capacity Building, Information Provision and Education and Advocacy.
You can use the headings on the left hand side of the page to find out what we do, learn about our current projects, read our reports and publications and have your say about issues affecting women’s health and wellbeing!
Join us in promoting women's health and wellbeing in the ACT and region. Become a member today. If you would like to support us by becoming a member, click here. Membership is free but donations are welcome and valued. WCHM is endorsed as a health promotion charity, so donations of $2 or more are tax deductible! Click here for more information on making a donation.
WCHM Partner Organisations and Information Hubs
WCHM launches online photographic documentary: Women of Canberra
Women of Canberra is an online photographic documentary and a community arts project, produced by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters. It aims to explore the lives of women in our community, and celebrate their diversity. It is inspired by the phenomenal Humans of New York.
Women of Canberra is a community arts project that aims to explore the diversity and experiences of women in the Canberra community. We wanted to delve into the joys, hopes and fears of women from all walks of life in our community and, at the same time, confront existing stereotypes of Canberra women. The stories told by policy, statistics and media give the impression that women in Canberra are a homogenous group—highly educated, economically empowered and out-performing their comparators in other states and territories on many indicators. However, we know from our community engagement work that women in Canberra are actually a culturally and socioeconomically diverse group, with struggles and aspirations that aren’t captured by mainstream narratives.
WCHM is delivering this project with the assistance of a small group of emerging ACT female photographers: Liz Thompson, Josey Carnovale, Jillian Thomsen and Nicole Zimmerman. This is part of our commitment to develop the capacity of women to have a voice in public conversations about health and wellbeing.
Take a look at www.womenofcanberra.org.au
WCHM Media coverage
A set of posters used as part of the anti-sexual violence awareness raising campaign - Summer of Respect - which is run by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, hits the news in Canberra.
On 21 January the Canberra Times published an article about the Summer Of Respect posters (a joint initiative of the Women’s Centre for Heath Matters and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre) being taken down from ACT Government Offices because they were considered offensive - http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/antirape-signs-considered-inappropriate-for-act-government-offices-20150121-12ty5u.html.
In a letter to the Canberra Times, published on 26th January, Shane Rattenbury MLA, commented on the issue of the posters being taken down and highlighted the importance of encouraging men and members of this community to confront the issue of sexual assault and to have these discussions - http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/education-is-needed-20150126-12yjn9.html
On 29th January, the Canberra Times published an article in which John Hinchey (Victims Of Crime Commissioner) called for the Summer Of Respect posters to be returned to ACT government offices - http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/calls-for-antirape-posters-to-be-returned-to-act-government-offices-20150129-1300z0.html
What to say! A new tool for responding to sexual violence — for women and for workplaces.
As part of this year’s Summer of Respect, the Women’s Centre for Health Matters and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre are proud to announce the launch of an expanded what to say website.
What to say is part of a broader annual anti-sexual violence awareness raising campaign in Canberra called the Summer of Respect which is run by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. This campaign has run every summer since 2011 and each year initiatives are developed that raise awareness about sexual violence and start conversations about consent, communication and respect. (The Summer of Respect received a Certificate of Merit in the November 2014 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards!)
Initially the what to say website focused on encouraging young men to think about the positive and safe ways they can identify and call out sexual violence with their mates. The what to say website now includes two new sections—what to say for women and what to say for the workplace. These sections are designed to give women and co-workers the information they need to identify sexual violence, safe ways to respond and intervene if you experience or witness sexual violence, and advice on how to support someone who tells you they’ve experienced sexual violence. Each new section incorporates information about who to contact and will include regular blog posts over the summer about issues like sexual harassment, dating, work parties and nights out.
ACVPA Award for Summer of Respect!
WCHM is very pleased to announce that Summer of Respect received a Certificate of Merit in this year’s Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards!
Summer of Respect is WCHM and Canberra Rape Crisis Centre’s annual anti-sexual violence campaign. Since its launch in 2011, the campaign has developed a number of initiatives to start informed conversations about sexual violence amongst young Canberrans, including the What To Say website and the animation S**t guys say when they need to say something.
WCHM staff member Angela Carnovale and campaign artistic director Helani Laisk attended the ceremony at Parliament House to accept the award.
In awarding the Certificate of Merit to WCHM and CRCC, the committee described Summer of Respect as “a unique initiative targeted at raising awareness about sexual violence amongst young people” and commented that it “demonstrates an impressive capacity to deliver a range of messages that can help protect a wide range of potentially vulnerable young people from sexual violence.” We’re very pleased to have our hard work recognised.
Summer of Respect 2014-15 will be bigger than ever, as we continue to work to build conversations about consent, communication and respect in our community—including expanding the excellent resources on the What To Say website.
Watch this space!
Guides for ACT Media
WCHM has released new guides to help local media when reporting on domestic and sexual violence in the ACT. The Guides for ACT Media: Reporting on Violence against Women and Children in the ACT involved more than 18 months of work by WCHM, in consultation with local community expert partners—the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and Beryl Women Inc.—and in consultation with local journalists and media students from the National Press Club, University of Canberra Press Club and Media and Journalism Faculty at the University of Canberra. The guides cover domestic violence, sexual violence, child sexual assault and Indigenous family violence. They were funded under the ACT Participation (Women’s) Grants. We hope that these Guides will be a useful reference and that, through better awareness and understanding, local ACT media will be better able to play their vital role in raising community awareness and reporting on these issues.
You can find the Guides at the following link on our website http://www.wchm.org.au/guides-for-media
Current WCHM Projects
This is a list of the projects that the WCHM is currently working on. Click on each one to access the project page and more information.
Recent WCHM Submissions
Submission to ACT Government's Roadmap to enhancing our city's multicultural way of life
WCHM contributed a Submission to the ACT Government's Roadmap to enhancing our city's multicultural way of life on behalf of the ACT Women’s Services Network.
Submission to the Senate Committee Inquiry on Domestic Violence, July 2014
WCHM contributed a submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee Inquiry into Domestic Violence.
Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics Inquiry into Affordable Housing
WCHM contributed a submission to the Inquiry on the following matter: Planning and policies that will ensure that women, particularly vulnerable women, have access to secure, appropriate and adaptable accommodation.
Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper
WCHM staff and Board contributed the following submissions to the ACT Government’s Discussion Paper to inform the development of an ACT Human Services Blueprint