Our Priority Areas

Sexual and Reproductive Health

What is sexual and reproductive health?

Sexual and reproductive health is an essential aspect of good general health and human development, and as such, is critically important at an individual and societal level.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes sexual health as:

‘A state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.’1

Sexual health incorporates reproductive health, which WHO defines as:

‘people being able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so’. 1

As women live longer, healthier lives, they have the ability to remain sexually active well into their later years. 1 2

Sexual health has physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual benefits, making it a vital part of healthy ageing 3 4 , yet sexuality later in life receives little attention at the program, policy and direct provider level. 7

WHISE is committed to addressing the social determinants that impact women’s sexual and reproductive health across the lifespan with a particular focus on women aged 50 and over by developing initiatives based upon advocacy, capacity building, education and community development.

Prevention of Violence Against Women

What is violence against women?

Violence against women has clear links to mental illness. Women who experience violence are at greater risk of developing mental health issues including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder8 9. Women who experience violence also have higher rates of attempted suicide therefore WHISE has chosen to make the prevention of violence against women the main priority under mental health as:

  • 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence since the age of 1510

  • 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 1510

  • At least 1 woman in Australia is killed each week by a current or former partner11

  • Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor of death, disability and illness amongst women aged 15 – 44

  • The Southern Metropolitan Region has some of the highest rates of violence within Victoria12

WHISE recognises that gender based violence is one of the most urgent public and social health issues affecting Australian women and has a commitment to addressing the root causes of violence against women.

Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women

Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women is taking action before the signs of violence occur.

The Primary Prevention fact sheet provides a snapshot of the incidence of violence against women. More importantly, it highlights that violence against women can be prevented by addressing the underlying determinants and outlines the benefits of investing in primary prevention.

Primary Prevention Fact Sheet (PDF: 722KB)

Socio-Ecological Model of Health

socio_ecological_model_of_health.jpg

The Socio-Ecological Model of Health (depicted in the image above)13 helps us to understand how different levels of our environment interact to influence the health of an individual. In the primary prevention of Violence Against Women (VAW) this model allows us to understand why VAW occurs and what steps we can take to prevent this.14

This model tells us that the problem of VAW is a result of interactions between culture and environment rather than the deficits of an individual14. As such the solutions to address VAW involve changing norms, practices and structures (which influence behaviours and inequality) at the different levels displayed in the image. That is, individual relationships, community, organisational, and societal.14

Regional Family Violence Data

Looking at the Victorian police data, it shows that family violence in the Southern Metropolitan Region is unacceptably high and increasing. This section provides up to date family violence data for the Southern Metropolitan Region including from 2008/09 – 2013/14.

http://www.police.vic.gov.au/retrievemedia.asp?Media_ID=72311

Australian Violence Against Women Data

Violence Against Women Factsheet [PDF: 177KB]
Key statistics (PDF: 333KB)

References

List of references [PDF: 126KB]