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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 Christmas Shutdown

The Women's Centre for Health Matters will be closed from COB on 19 December 2014 and will re-open on Monday 5 January 2015.


WCHM Partner Organisations and Information Hubs

WCHM Announcements

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!

Death of Jackie Fairweather

WCHM was deeply saddened to learn of the death of elite triathlete and marathon runner, Jackie Fairweather.

Jackie was also a Board Member for WCHM from 2010 to 2013, and made a very strong contribution to the Board and the Centre, with her knowledgeable and insightful contributions, and her skills in relation to governance, finance and human resource matters. She participated actively in all Board and Sub-Committee meetings and we valued highly her contributions in our strategic planning sessions. The Board recalls that one year, after participating in an all day strategic planning discussion, she left late to accompany her husband that evening in a 100 km overnight track run.

Our thoughts are with all of those that knew Jackie, especially her friends and family.

We will miss her.

LGBTIQ Community Survey - Domestic Violence Services in the ACT

The Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM) is partnering with organisations that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer or gender diverse (LGBTIQ) communities, as well as domestic violence support organisations around the ACT, to find ways to better support LGBTIQ people who have experienced domestic violence. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the ACT Government’s Women’s Grants program that has allowed this research to take place.

As part of this project, WCHM is launching a confidential community survey. We want to hear from anyone who identifies as LGBTIQ and has experienced or been affected by domestic violence, especially if you have accessed or tried to access support services for domestic violence in the ACT.

We also want to hear from people who have supported an LGBTIQ person experiencing domestic violence. We want to know what is working and what isn’t, and how you think we can better meet the needs of LGBTIQ people experiencing domestic violence.

The survey can be completed in about 15 minutes and will be open until the end of December. Access it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DVandLGBTIQ

We also want to hear from LGBTIQ people and their supporters who would be able to participate in an hour-long interview about their experiences with domestic violence services. Please contact the project worker (contact details below) if you’re interested.

If you have questions about the project or need to complete this survey in an alternative format, please get in touch with the project worker Annelise at a.roberts@wchm.org.au or on (02) 6290 2166. 

LGBTIQ Flyer LGBTIQ Flyer (195 KB)

 Invitation to DVPC SEMINAR 25 November - Working with perpetrators of violence

The Domestic Violence Prevention Council invites you to attend the next in a series of seminars it has been hosting in 2014.

This seminar is aimed at raising awareness of the many issues that shape, support and constrain people working with men who have been using violence with women, or who are at risk of using violence. Each panellist’s experience and perspective will provide information and insight about the different contexts in which perpetrators find themselves, and explore the impact of those contexts on prospects for safety and healing for women and families, long term behaviour change for the men, and for better and quality of life outcomes – for the survivors of violence, and for the perpetrators.

The purpose of the seminars series has been to provide opportunities for service practitioners to share information and experience on particular subject matters. Seminars on responding to Domestic Violence in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities, to people who live with a disability, and within Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer communities (LGBTIQ) have already been held, and a seminar was also held which focussed on the financial impacts and costs for women living with and leaving domestic violence.

When:      Tuesday, 25th November 2014 Time: 2:00pm—4:30pm

Where:     The Inspire Centre, Building 25, University of Canberra

Please RSVP (for catering purposes) by COB Wednesday 18 November 2014 to admin@menscentre.org.au or by phoning 6230 6999.

We hope to see you there!   

Invitation to DVPC Seminar November 25 Working with Perpetrators of Violence Invitation to DVPC Seminar November 25 Working with Perpetrators of Violence (258 KB)

Anti-Poverty Week Research

ACT Council of Social Services (ACTCOSS) and WCHM released data this week showing that outside of public sector employment, industries with growing employment opportunities that do not require degree-level qualifications offer low wage, relatively high rates of part-time work, suggesting many workers struggle to earn enough to cover their costs of living. Concerning when we consider that getting and keeping a full time job is the critical factor in getting out and staying out of poverty..

APW Labour Market Data Report APW Labour Market Data Report (381 KB)

APW Labour Market Data Report APW Labour Market Data Report (8483 KB)

APW report on ACT Labour Market Trends APW report on ACT Labour Market Trends (210 KB)

APW Report on ACT Labour Market Trends APW Report on ACT Labour Market Trends (4525 KB)

The impact of domestic violence on ACT children

On Friday 19 September ABC TV ran a story on its 7.30 ACT show about the impact in the ACT of domestic violence on children.

The story, titled “On Our Watch”, can be found at the following link: 

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/act/   

Guides for ACT Media

New guides to help local media when reporting on domestic and sexual violence in the ACT have been released by WCHM. 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

WCHM is on Facebook

Are you a fan of WCHM? Are you on Facebook? Then why not join the two and follow WCHM on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WomensCentreforHealthMatters

Women with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Research

WCHM want to hear first-hand from women diagnosed or labelled with BPD about experiences with mental health and other support services in the ACT region.

What you have to say will inform the future direction of our advocacy and awareness raising work on this issue. You can be involved and have your say by participating in a one-on-one interview OR completing this survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BPD-in-ACT online. Contact us if you would like a paper copy sent to you with a reply paid envelope.

For more information about the project visit http://www.wchm.org.au/women-and-borderline-personality-disorder-in-the-act or contact Bess on 6290 2166 or at b.harrison@wchm.org.au

Data Set Investigation Project Report: Women with Disabilities in the ACT

Women With Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) has released a new report which was commissioned by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Disability Advisory Council (DAC) to undertake work to find what survey and data information about women with disabilities in the ACT is available in the areas of services for health and wellbeing and participation in social and economic life. The work was also to investigate how this information can enable the DAC to provide policy advice to the Minister for Disability, Children and Young People.

The report offers a response to the precursor report done by WWDACT in collaboration with WCHM that revealed a number of problem areas with respect to public data. The report focuses on data sets available in Australia, paying particular attention to three aspects of information: disability, women, and the ACT. The study recommendations identify some of the current gaps in data collection or where analysis could be expanded in a way that would be helpful to ACT policy makers. It further identifies which body could be responsible for making the suggested data collection changes.

ACT DAC Data Set Investigation Project Report ACT DAC Data Set Investigation Project Report (802 KB)

ACT DAC Data Set Investigation Project Report ACT DAC Data Set Investigation Project Report (1109 KB)

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 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.

WCHM Submission to Senate Committee Inquiry on Domestic Violence WCHM Submission to Senate Committee Inquiry on Domestic Violence (520 KB)

WCHM Submission to Senate Committee Inquiry on Domestic Violence WCHM Submission to Senate Committee Inquiry on Domestic Violence (329 KB)

Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics Inquiry into Affordable Housing

WCHM contributed a submission to the Inquiry on the following matter: g) Planning and policies that will ensure that women, particularly vulnerable women, have access to secure, appropriate and adaptable accommodation.

As an organisation that works to make the views of women experiencing or at risk of experiencing disadvantage known, we are keen to ensure that the vision for affordable housing represented the needs of our community’s women, particularly those women who are most vulnerable.

Housing is very important for women and their families and their health and wellbeing—not only can housing costs take up a high percentage of household budgets and cause significant financial stress, but the accessibility and quality of the housing we live in can influence our health and wellbeing.

WCHM Submission to the Inquiry into Affordable Housing 2014 WCHM Submission to the Inquiry into Affordable Housing 2014 (286 KB)

WCHM Submission to the Inquiry into Affordable Housing 2014 WCHM Submission to the Inquiry into Affordable Housing 2014 (2563 KB)

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

WCHM Board Submission to the Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper WCHM Board Submission to the Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper (350 KB)

WCHM Board Submission to the Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper WCHM Board Submission to the Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper (39614 KB)

WCHM Comments on Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper WCHM Comments on Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper (556 KB)

WCHM Comments on Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper WCHM Comments on Human Services Blueprint Discussion Paper (2546 KB)


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