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WCHM reports

 

ACT Women and Prisons: Invisible Bars – The Stories behind the Stats (2009)

This paper presents the stories of ACT women with a variety of lived prison experiences and information from ACT women’s service providers who regularly support women with lived experience of prison and institutionalisation. The information gathered provides significant insight into the impact that imprisonment and institutionalisation have had on these women’s lives. The Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM) and the ACT Women And Prisons Group (WAP) hope that this information will assist counsellors, social workers, case managers and other professionals who support women with lived prison experience to better meet their needs.

ACT Women and Prisons: Invisible Bars – The Stories behind the Stats (PDF Format) ACT Women and Prisons: Invisible Bars – The Stories behind the Stats (PDF Format) (727 KB)

ACT Women and Prisons: Invisible Bars – The Stories behind the Stats (RTF Format) ACT Women and Prisons: Invisible Bars – The Stories behind the Stats (RTF Format) (469 KB)

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Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women in the ACT: Enablers and Barriers to Achieving Social Connectedness (2009)

This report aimed to develop a profile of CALD women in the ACT. It documents fifteen themes from the research which were identified as factors that influence CALD women’s social connectedness and wellbeing, as well as the elements that enhance social connectedness.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women in the ACT: Enablers and Barriers to Achieving Social Co Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women in the ACT: Enablers and Barriers to Achieving Social Co (346 KB)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women in the ACT: Enablers and Barriers to Achieving Social Co Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women in the ACT: Enablers and Barriers to Achieving Social Co (3471 KB)

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It goes with the Territory! ACT Women's views about Health and Wellbeing Information (2010)

Since women are the main decision makers for family health issues and the main family carers, their access to appropriate health and wellbeing information is crucial in order to make informed choices and to access services and support. WCHM commissioned this report as there was scant research identifying ACT women’s needs and preferences in relation to health and wellbeing information; the ways in which they appraise information; the barriers that restrict them from accessing information; and the gaps in their information landscape. This report explores the views and preferences of ACT women in accessing health and wellbeing information and how this information is transformed into knowledge, and identifies the major themes and the barriers facing them.

It goes with the Territory! ACT Women's views about Health and Wellbeing Information It goes with the Territory! ACT Women's views about Health and Wellbeing Information (649 KB)

It goes with the Territory! ACT Women's Views about Health and Wellbeing Information It goes with the Territory! ACT Women's Views about Health and Wellbeing Information (4096 KB)

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It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women about Health and Wellbeing Information (2011)

This companion report presents the findings and views of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who participated in WCHM’s health and wellbeing information research, and identifies the major themes and the barriers facing them in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need.

The findings of the report It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women about Health and Wellbeing Information highlighted that the greatest challenge for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is overcoming the barriers, financial and otherwise, that limit the information sources they can access. Not being able to access a spectrum of information from a variety of sources can limit the extent to which women can make informed decisions about their health. More than this, however, it entrenches disadvantage by allowing some women access to health and wellbeing information sources and not others. The solution that the participants felt would address the majority of their concerns is a regularly updated list of GP and pharmacy services, which includes details about: bulk billing; opening hours; number of female physicians; and the availability of Aboriginal workers. Despite the associated barriers and difficulties, medical centres continue to be the most affordable and accessible GPs for the study participants. The opening of the first nurse-led walk-in centre in the ACT is a win for these women and for those who utilise the emergency department when they need to consult a health professional after hours. The creation and promotion of the tiered health system in the ACT will allow women greater choice and confidence when seeking health and wellbeing information for themselves and their families.

It goes with the Territory! The views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women It goes with the Territory! The views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women (406 KB)

It goes with the Territory! The views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women It goes with the Territory! The views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women (11075 KB)

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It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT Women from CALD Backgrounds about Health and Wellbeing Information (2011)

This companion report presents the findings and views of the 102 women from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds who participated in WCHM’s health and wellbeing information research, and identifies the major themes and the barriers facing them in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need.

The findings of the report It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT Women from CALD Backgrounds about Health and Wellbeing Information highlighted that CALD women are proactive in seeking out health and wellbeing information; seeking it from a variety of sources, in a variety of media, on a variety of topics. Yet CALD women can face specific cultural and linguistic barriers that make obtaining the health and wellbeing information they need difficult, including not being able to access culturally appropriate services or information in languages other than English. At other times CALD women can access the information they need, but are unable to act upon that information because of restrictions placed upon them by others within their community or because of a lack of available and appropriate services, such as affordable female only exercise spaces.

It goes with the Territory! The views of CALD Women about Health and Wellbeing It goes with the Territory! The views of CALD Women about Health and Wellbeing (481 KB)

It goes with the Territory! The views of CALD Women about Health and Wellbeing It goes with the Territory! The views of CALD Women about Health and Wellbeing (14867 KB)

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It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT Women with Disabilities about Health and Wellbeing Information (2011)

This companion report presents the findings and views of the women who reported having a disability or long-term or chronic health issue and who participated in WCHM’s health and wellbeing information research, and identifies the major themes and the barriers facing women with disabilities in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need.

The report It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT Women with Disabilities about Health and Wellbeing Information demonstrates that the greatest barrier for women with disabilities in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need is not being able to access a range of information in an appropriate format. Not being able to access a diverse spectrum of information in a variety of formats can limit the extent to which a woman with a disability can make informed decisions about her health. More than this, however, it entrenches disadvantage by enabling some women access to health and wellbeing information and not others. Ensuring that all women can access the health and wellbeing information they require in the format that is most suitable empowers women and enables them to fully engage with health decision-making. It extends the right to women with disabilities to be their own best guide on matters of health and wellbeing.

It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT women with Disabilities about Health and Wellbeing Info It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT women with Disabilities about Health and Wellbeing Info (302 KB)

It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT women with Disabilities about Health and Wellbeing Info It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT women with Disabilities about Health and Wellbeing Info (302 KB)

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It goes with the Territory! The views of ACT Women who are Mental Health Carers about Health and Wellbeing Information (2011)

This companion report presents the findings and views of the women who reported having caring responsibilities for a person with a mental health issue and who participated in WCHM’s health and wellbeing information research, and identifies the major themes and the barriers facing them in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need.

The report It goes with the Territory! The views of Women Mental Health Carers about Health and Wellbeing Information demonstrates that women mental health carers face a number of barriers to accessing the health and wellbeing information they need, which include but are not limited to: being shut off from information and knowledge by mental health professionals and workers; not being respected in their role by mental health professionals and workers; being denied information on the premise of confidentiality and privacy; not having a central source of ACT specific information on mental health treatments and services; and not being able to afford many of the options that do exist. Mental health carers are also greatly affected by the level of discrimination and stigma that exists around mental illness in the community, which can be very isolating and curb their function as carers. Women who are mental health carers need access to up-to-date and relevant information from trusted sources. This means that local and trusted health and wellbeing information sources need to be promoted over time to be visible and accessible to them.

It goes with the Territory! The Views of ACT Women who are Mental Health Carers about Health and Wel It goes with the Territory! The Views of ACT Women who are Mental Health Carers about Health and Wel (385 KB)

It goes with the Territory! The Views of ACT Women who are Mental Health Carers about Health and Wel It goes with the Territory! The Views of ACT Women who are Mental Health Carers about Health and Wel (11100 KB)

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It goes with the Territory! The views of Older ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information (2011)

This companion report presents the findings and views of women aged 60 years or older and who participated in WCHM’s health and wellbeing information research, and identifies the major themes and the barriers facing them in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need.

The findings of the companion report It goes with the Territory! The views of Older ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information reveal that older women rely upon health professionals—particularly GPs—for the majority of their health and wellbeing information. They are also, however, pragmatic about the reality of GP shortages in the ACT and eager to see alternative sources of information for older women in the ACT that can provide them with personalised information that is tailored to their history, circumstances and preferences in the way that information provided by a GP would be.

It goes with the Territory! The Views of Older ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information It goes with the Territory! The Views of Older ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information (449 KB)

It goes with the Territory! The Views of Older ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information It goes with the Territory! The Views of Older ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information (11500 KB)

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It goes with the Territory! The views of Young ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information (2011)

This companion report presents the findings and views of women who were aged between 15 and 29 years and who participated in WCHM’s health and wellbeing information research, and identifies the major themes and the barriers facing them in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need.

The findings of the report It goes with the Territory! The views of Young ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information highlighted that the greatest barrier for young women in accessing the health and wellbeing information they need, is not being able to find sources that are both trustworthy and sensitive to young women’s needs. This means that young women rely on the Internet, mass media and friends more readily than women in other age groups, because while the information may not be as trustworthy, they know they will be able to receive information that is non-judgemental, in a way that they will not feel embarrassed and by a source that will protect their confidentiality. The overwhelming need for confidentiality guides young women in their search for health and wellbeing information and should be a primary consideration in information dissemination to this group.

It goes with the Territory! The Views of Young ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information It goes with the Territory! The Views of Young ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information (462 KB)

It goes with the Territory! The Views of Young ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information It goes with the Territory! The Views of Young ACT Women about Health and Wellbeing Information (11535 KB)

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Marginalised and Isolated Women in the ACT: Risk, Prevalence and Service Provision (2008)

This report presents a range of data aimed at exploring the nature of women’s marginalisation and isolation in the Australian Capital Territory. It examines the concepts of marginalisation and isolation and the risk factors that have been identified as prevalent amongst marginalised and isolated ACT women. It also provides estimates of the number of ACT women who are at risk of or are experiencing marginalisation and isolation. Homelessness, poverty, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health issues, disability, violence, age, cultural and linguistic diversity and Indigenous status are all identified as risk factors that may result in ACT women’s marginalisation and isolation. In addition, women who are primary carers, have been institutionalised, or have gambling problems have also been identified as being at risk.

Marginalised and Isolated Women in the ACT (PDF Format) Marginalised and Isolated Women in the ACT (PDF Format) (263 KB)

Marginalised and Isolated Women in the ACT (RTF Format) Marginalised and Isolated Women in the ACT (RTF Format) (1604 KB)

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Older Women and Social Connectedness: A Snapshot of the ACT (2011)

The link between social isolation and disadvantage, and mental and physical health and wellbeing is a growing concern for older women. It is for this reason that WCHM commissioned research into the major factors impacting upon older women’s social connectedness in the ACT. This report presents the findings of this research. It is by no means comprehensive, but rather, an initial step into understanding the needs of older women in maintaining good social connection and the impact this connection has upon their health, wellbeing and successful ageing. The ACT has one of the fastest growing populations of people aged 60 years and over in Australia. It is expected that, with a life expectancy of 81.3 years, ACT women will experience increasing rates of chronic illness and disability, which will have a direct impact upon their ability to be social connected. Now is the time to look for ways to adjust current thinking and approaches within the ACT to assist older women to increase control over, and to improve, their health and wellbeing and to connect, maintain connection or reconnect with their communities.

Older Women and Social Connectedness Older Women and Social Connectedness (850 KB)

Older Women and Social Connectedness Older Women and Social Connectedness (343 KB)

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Out of Reach - Women living with mental health issues in the ACT: What hinders their access to legal services in the ACT (2010)

This report, commissioned by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM) and the ACT Women and Mental Health Working Group (WMHWG), aims to identify and document the lived experience of women with mental health issues in accessing legal advice, support, representation and advocacy in the ACT. The report captures the personal stories of women living with mental health issues in the ACT, the personal barriers for the women and the barriers within the service system in the ACT, as well as the feedback from legal and non-legal service providers and community based organisations that provide support and/or advocacy.

Out of Reach - Women living with mental health issues in the ACT: What hinders their access to legal Out of Reach - Women living with mental health issues in the ACT: What hinders their access to legal (275 KB)

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Peer support for women with mental health issues: The views of ACT women (2011)

In 2007 the Women‘s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM) consulted women in the ACT living with mental health issues. They highlighted that they are seeking: to support each other at vulnerable times, access to social support at times when services are not available to them, and gender specific or women centred services. Given that peer support does not use a medical framework but a focus on relationships, it was hypothesised that peer support may be an appropriate model to address the needs of women and to address gaps in their support systems and recovery processes. It is for these reasons that research was commissioned by WCHM to carry out this research in 2009-11, with the involvement of a consortium of partners across the ACT. The aim of the research was to identify and document best practice peer support models internationally, nationally and locally; to identify and document the needs and experiences of women participating in peer support in the ACT; and to evaluate two peer support programs for women in the ACT. The research found a variety of good outcomes of peer support for women living with mental illness in the ACT, which included improving or maintaining mental wellbeing, rejecting the medical model and stigma, information sharing, building confidence and social connectedness, and benefits for the wider community through women‘s increased participation and independence. The way in which peer support provides increased wellbeing and social connectivity is significant because mental illness is becoming increasingly common in the ACT community. This research therefore shows that peer support is a viable, holistic alternative to the medical model of support for people with mental illness.

Peer support for women living with mental health issues Peer support for women living with mental health issues (1022 KB)

Peer support for women living with mental health issues Peer support for women living with mental health issues (4544 KB)

Peer Support Evaluation Framework Peer Support Evaluation Framework (336 KB)

Peer Support Evaluation Framework Peer Support Evaluation Framework (479 KB)

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Social Determinants of Women’s Health and Wellbeing in the ACT (2008)

This report was commissioned with the specific purpose of responding to the knowledge deficit on the health and wellbeing of ACT women, in order to support government and community to make evidenced based policy and service provision decisions. It presents a range of data previously not made publically available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey 2004-05 and focuses on women’s health in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), particularly women who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and women with mental health and wellbeing issues. It takes account of the major causes of health inequalities, including income, educational level and literacy, occupation or employment status, social status within the community.

Social Determinants of Women’s Health and Well-Being in the ACT (2008) (PDF Format) Social Determinants of Women’s Health and Well-Being in the ACT (2008) (PDF Format) (313 KB)

Social Determinants of Women’s Health and Well-Being in the ACT (2008) (RTF Format) Social Determinants of Women’s Health and Well-Being in the ACT (2008) (RTF Format) (1870 KB)

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The experiences of Women Forgotten Australians and Care Leavers - A Literature Review (2011)

This literature review was written as part of a research project by WCHM into the health and wellbeing experiences and needs of women Forgotten Australians in the ACT. It has been published to coincide with the second Anniversary of the National Apology to the Forgotten Australians. 

The experiences of Women Forgotten Australians and Care Leavers - A literature Review The experiences of Women Forgotten Australians and Care Leavers - A literature Review (491 KB)

The experiences of Women Forgotten Australians and Care Leavers - A literature Review The experiences of Women Forgotten Australians and Care Leavers - A literature Review (2528 KB)

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Strong Women, Great City: A snapshot of findings from a survey of ACT's women with disabilities

This report presents a snapshot of findings from a survey conducted in early 2012 of women with disabilities who live in the ACT by Women With Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) and the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM). The survey was undertaken with two aims in mind: firstly, to complement existing disability data, and secondly, to highlight areas of need where data does not currently exist, particularly ACT specific data disaggregated by sex and disability.

Strong Women Great City Summary Report Strong Women Great City Summary Report (3251 KB)

Strong Women Great City Summary Report Strong Women Great City Summary Report (8879 KB)

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Sudanese and Mon Cultural Awareness Training - Final Report and Evaluation (2010)

This report documents the findings from a project, titled Cultural Awareness Training for ACT Women’s Services, which aimed to build the cultural capacity of ACT service providers by presenting them with cultural awareness training focusing on gender differences and the needs of women from new and emerging cultural communities in Canberra (the southern Sudanese and Burmese Mon). This project also aimed to develop the capacity of identified women within the Southern Sudanese and Burmese Mon communities by providing them with skills such as public speaking and the development and delivery of training sessions. Significant emphasis was placed on recording the personal stories and lived experience of the women, so as to best represent their needs and experiences.

Sudanese and Mon Cultural Awareness Training - Final Report and Evaluation Sudanese and Mon Cultural Awareness Training - Final Report and Evaluation (136 KB)

Sudanese and Mon Cultural Awareness Training - Final Report and Evaluation Sudanese and Mon Cultural Awareness Training - Final Report and Evaluation (1313 KB)

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Women with Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services in the ACT (2009)

Women with disabilities who experience violence have the same needs as other women, but they may also, in addition, have specific needs that are related to their disabilities. This report documents the findings from a project that aimed to explore current practices, raise awareness and assist domestic violence and crisis services in the ACT to become more accessible for women with disabilities. It also provides details of a set of good practice principles for improving access for women with disabilities to domestic violence and crisis services which were identified during the project.

Women with Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services in the ACT Women with Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services in the ACT (214 KB)

Women with Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services in the ACT Women with Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services in the ACT (4458 KB)

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Women Mental Health Carers in the ACT - Preliminary Survey Findings (2010)

Because of increasing evidence about the risks and difficulties associated with and specific to caring for individuals living with mental health issues, and due to the gendered nature of caring and its prevalence in our local community, the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM), in consultation with Carers ACT, commissioned research into ACT women mental health carer needs and experiences. This online publication, Women mental health carers in the ACT: Preliminary Survey Results, presents the preliminary findings of a survey, targeting women mental health carers in the ACT. The aim of the survey was to establish a quantitative and qualitative data set comprising of information related to women mental health carer health and wellbeing, their social and support networks and their involvement in their local community and decision making processes. This data will inform a more expansive report on ACT women mental health carers to be published in 2011.

Women Mental Health Carers in the ACT - Preliminary Survey Findings Women Mental Health Carers in the ACT - Preliminary Survey Findings (166 KB)

Women Mental Health Carers in the ACT - Preliminary Survey Findings Women Mental Health Carers in the ACT - Preliminary Survey Findings (6192 KB)

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