WCHM is now working with our colleagues at Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT to progress responses that will meet the identified needs from research we have been conducting over the last few months about the sexual and reproductive health needs and barriers for ACT women .

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Sexual and Reproductive Health Research  

In May WCHM staff held many forums with local women who shared their views about their sexual and reproductive health, including their access to contraception and abortion.  These discussions complement the results from the sexual and reproductive health survey which closed in November, and we are now busy finalising a Report on the findings by July, while also using the findings to advocate for and inform ACT responses to this important area of women’s health.

Younger women’s sexual and reproductive health  
WCHM’s local research with younger women and service providers in the ACT who work with them has showed that sexual and reproductive health is also a significant issue for younger ACT women as well. Our work has identified that there is a need to improve access to information and advice for younger women (and young men) and their parents about sexual and reproductive health (including contraception, STI prevention and treatment, and abortion), what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy, realistic expectations about sex, the safe use of technology, normal body image, what consent looks like, and where to go for reliable trusted advice and support (local services and online information).

Pregnancy and domestic violence 

Pregnancy is a significant time for women.  But the Australian Personal Safety Survey estimated that of the 186 000 women had experienced violence by a current cohabiting partner, of those who had been pregnant, one in five (21.7%) reported that violence occurred during the pregnancy and for almost two-thirds of women (61.4%) this had been their first experience of violence in their relationship. and also an opportunity for the support systems to screen for intimate partner violence. That is why expectant mothers and new parents will be the first group of people targeted for early intervention coordinated by the ACT’s new Family Safety Hub.

WCHM’s CEO participated in a collaborative meeting on 10/11 May to discuss and identify opportunities to engage with and assist pregnant women and new parents who may be affected by domestic and family violence. And to enable better early intervention for pregnant women and new parents. This codesign is Stage 2 of the Family Safety Hub, which WCHM has been involved in developing.

The CEO attended the formal launch of the Family Safety Hub by Minister Berry on 11 May and was included in a video explaining the concept of the Hub  https://www.facebook.com/communityservicesact/
https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/yvette-berry-mla-media-releases/2018/family-safety-hub-launched-with-first-big-challenge
The final insights from the Co-design process and the final Family Safety Hub design report can be found on the www.communityservices.act.gov.au website.