News & Events - Women's Health Victoria 2018-07-05T00:00:00Z 1800 My Options 1,300 Calls 2018-07-05T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <h2>Providing Victoria women with reproductive support and options when and where they need it</h2> <p>05/07/2018</p> <p>Minister for Health Jill Hennessy recently visited <em>1800 My Options</em>, Victoria’s first ever sexual and reproductive health phone line and information service to celebrate more than 1300 calls in its first three months!</p> <p>Reaching more than 1,300 over a short time demonstrates how essential this service is for Victorian women. <em>1800 My Options</em> is women-centered, impartial and non-judgmental. It provides an individualised response and offers callers pathways to clinical services such as contraception, pharmacy services, counselling support, termination providers and a range of other services.</p> <p>“1800 My Options is making a real difference breaking down the barriers and reducing stigma with free, accessible information about contraception, pregnancy options and reproductive health” said Jill Hennessy, Health Minister.</p> <p>Both the phone line and online information are part of Victoria’s first–ever <em>Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy (2017-2020)</em>, which is supported by 6.6 million in Labor Government funding. The strategy sets out key actions to reduce barriers and service gaps that affect women’s access to reproductive and sexual health services.</p> <p>Below: <em>Minister for Health Jill Hennessy meets with members of the 1800 My Options Team.</em></p> <iframe width="427" height="320" <img alt="1800_My_Options_1300_calls_Ministers_visit_pic_05.07.2018_520Wide.png" src="" title="1800_My_Options_1300_calls_Ministers_visit_pic_05.07.2018_520Wide.png" /> frameborder="0" alt="Minister for Health Jill Hennessy meets with members of the 1800 My Options team" title="Minister for Health Jill Hennessy meets with members of the 1800 My Options team" allowfullscreen></iframe> Cancer service marks 15th anniversary 2018-06-15T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>Counterpart, the <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em> service that connects, supports and informs women with breast or a gynaecological cancer, has celebrated its 15th anniversary. ‘Since 2003, we’ve supported women affected by breast or a gynaecological cancer more than 30,000 times,’ said Support Programs Manager Dianne Hill.</p> <p><a href="">Article: Health Victoria (12/06/2018)</a></p> Lucky we Victorian women already had this sorted right? 2018-06-12T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>Rita Butera, the head of <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em>, says our state leads the way in abortion law reform. But the work is not finished: “We’re not making sure our health system meets the needs of women to get an abortion when and where they need it.”</p> <p><a href="">Article: The Age (10/06/2018)</a></p> Victoria’s first sexual and reproductive health helpline 2018-03-08T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>The Government’s new helpline for Victorian women seeking timely and trusted information on sexual and reproductive health issues will start taking callers this month. <em>1800 My Options</em> will provide Victorians with sexual and reproductive health information, and direct them to clinical services such as contraception, pharmacy services, counselling support, termination providers and a range of other services.</p> <p><a href="">Media Release: Victoria. Minister for Health (08/03/2018)</a></p> More sexual and reproductive services for Victorian women 2017-09-07T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>To mark <em>Women’s Health Week</em>, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy announced plans to establish eight new family planning centres throughout Victoria &ndash; including four regional locations &ndash; over three years. The centres will deliver timely, affordable, locally-based sexual and reproductive health advice to all local women.</p> <p>&ldquo;In addition, Victorian women – no matter where they live – will be able to access expert, evidence-based advice with <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em> chosen to establish and operate Victoria’s first pregnancy support help line.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;The announcements follow the Labor Government’s launch of Victoria’s first-ever <em>Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Plan</em> earlier this year, supported by $6.6 million in new funding.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="">Media Release: Victoria. Minister for Health (07/09/2017)</a></p> Counterpart support service provides friends indeed to friends in need 2017-07-13T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p><em>Women&rsquo;s Health Victoria</em> recently welcomed over 100 guests to the launch of <em>Counterpart</em> as the new name for cancer support service <em>BreaCan</em>.</p> <p>&ldquo;We believe Counterpart – women supporting women with cancer – tells women who we are and what we do, and puts peer support at the heart of the service,’ said <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em> Executive Director &ndash; Rita Butera.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="">Article: Health Victoria (13/07/17)</a> &ndash; page 13</p> When women don't like their vulvas 2017-07-11T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>&ldquo;Concern that their vulvas aren&rsquo;t "normal&rdquo; is prompting a growing number of women to have surgery. This has been the focus of Curtin University Psychologist and Researcher Dr Gemma Sharp, one RN&rsquo;s top five scientists under 40.</p> <p>Dr Amy Webster from <em>Women&rsquo;s Health Victoria</em> also speaks with Life Matters, as well as &ldquo;Tilly&rdquo;, a mother concerned about her daughter&rsquo;s interest in this surgery, and &ldquo;Emma&rdquo;, a young woman who has had labiaplasty."</p> <p><a href="">Radio Interview: ABC Radio National (11/07/2017)</a></p> Knowing your labia on Breakfasters 2017-04-18T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>What does a “normal” labia look like? What is driving the increased demand of labioplasty? These are some of the questions leading to the creation of <em>The Labia Library</em>, an initiative from <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em>. It provides women with access to unaltered images of women’s genitalia, in order to dispel concerns and myths due to the rise of censored and altered images in pornography. Dr Amy Webster of <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em> joins the Breakfasters to discuss this vital resource.</p> <p><a href="">Radio Interview: 3RRR Radio Melbourne (18/04/2017)</a></p> The most inspiring and thought-provoking tweets about International Women's Day 2017-03-08T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>&ldquo;March 8 is International Women&rsquo;s Day, and in 2017 the theme is &lsquo;Be Bold for Change&rsquo;. We have collected the smartest, funniest, most inspiring and most thought-provoking tweets, so you can see how people are marking the occasion around the world.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="">Article: SBS Online (03/2017)</a></p> A deeper perception of health data 2016-07-22T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>A vital women’s’ health programme in Victoria is being boosted through an improved solution that provides easy visualisation of data.</p> <p>“Access to reliable data is critical to our efforts to improve health outcomes. It is an important tool in program and policy design and evaluation. Until now we haven’t been able to easily access gender-specific data on key health issues,” said Rita Butera, Executive Director of <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em>.</p> <p>“The <em>Victorian Women’s Health Atlas</em> makes visible the differing experiences of women and men and provides an evidence base for planning and monitoring which will contribute to lasting improvements in women’s health.”</p> <p><a href="">Article: Government Technology Review (07/2016)</a> &ndash; page 17</p> Classes will help women with cancer regain mobility and strength 2016-06-28T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>A free exercise program for women with breast or gynaecological cancer is about to start in Mill Park.</p> <p>Stepping into Wellness will offer women the opportunity to learn gentle exercises, as well as meet other women who have been through similar cancer ­experiences.</p> <p>The program is run by BreaCan, a support service for Victorian women living with breast and gynaecological cancer.</p> <p><a href="">Article: Whittlesea Leader (27/04/2016)</a></p> Does your vulva hurt? : you could have vulvodynia 2016-06-03T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>&hellip; Around 16% of women will have vulvar pain lasting longer than three months. They aren’t neurotic or promiscuous. It’s likely they are suffering from a condition called vulvodynia &hellip;</p> <p>&hellip; [Diagram of female external genitalia] &lsquo;The vulva refers to the external genitalia of females&rsquo;. The Labia Library / Women&rsquo;s Health Victoria &hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Article: The Conversation (02/06/2016)</a></p> Family Violence Steering Committee unveiled to overhaul our broken system 2016-05-31T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>The announcement today of the membership of the Family Violence Steering Committee marks the next phase of the reform agenda, with the Government working with the community to review and implement the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.</p> <p>Rita Butera, Executive Director of <em>Women’s Health Victoria</em>, is one of 21 newly-appointed Committee members that will work with the Victorian Government to co-design a new family violence system.</p> <p><a href="">Media Release: Premier of Victoria (18/05/2016)</a></p> Breast cancer survivors offer Bridge of Support for current sufferers at Sunshine Hospital 2016-04-21T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>&hellip; Mrs Lowe is a volunteer with BreaCan’s new Bridge of Support program at Sunshine Hospital. The program sees specially-trained woman who have lived through breast cancer offer support and information to breast cancer patients &hellip;</p> <p>&hellip; the program is hoped to reach up to 300 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer each year at Western Health &hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Article: Brimbank Leader (20/04/2016)</a></p> Encouraging gender stereotypes isn’t harmless 2016-04-13T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>WHV Letter to the Editor</p> <p>In response to article: ‘Barbie dolls don’t cause domestic violence’ <em>Crikey</em>, 7 April, 2016.</p> <hr /> <p>&ldquo;The consensus is clear that violence against women is driven by gender inequality. The World Health Organisation, Our Watch (Australia’s national body for prevention of violence against women) and the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence all agree. The current Senate Inquiry provides an opportunity to investigate how the media, entertainment, education and yes, toys, contribute to gender inequality.</p> <p>No-one is suggesting that playing with trucks will turn a boy into an abuser or that playing with dolls will turn a girl into a victim of domestic violence. But toys, children’s books and films that show boys as leaders, stars and adventurers, and girls as carers, mothers and objects of male desire reinforce gender stereotypes that contribute to a broader culture of sexism and inequality.</p> <p>It has taken decades, if not centuries, for the issue of domestic violence to be taken seriously in Australia. 18 women have been murdered already in 2016. We should be leaving no stone unturned, not mocking efforts to better understand and respond to this complicated issue."</p> <p>Rita Butera</p> <p>Executive Director, Women’s Health Victoria</p> <hr /> <p>Published in <em>Crikey</em>, 08/04/2016.</p> Labiaplasty : online video could deter women from seeking surgery, study finds 2016-01-21T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>A new Australian study has found improving women&rsquo;s understanding of the diversity in genital appearance &ndash; and dissuading them from having unnecessary surgery &ndash; could be as simple as showing them a free online video.</p> <p>&hellip; &ldquo;But it was important, [Dr. Kirkman] said, to circulate resources like the Hungry Beast video and <em>Women&rsquo;s Health Victoria&rsquo;s Labia Library</em> initiative to help women understand that a normal vulva is different for everyone.&rdquo; &hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Article: ABC Online (18/01/2016)</a></p> Melton tops regional teen pregnancy list 2015-12-10T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>The recently published <em>Victorian Women&rsquo;s Health Atlas</em> found, for every 1000 women who gave birth in Melton last year, almost 13 were teenagers &ndash; 40 per cent higher than the western metropolitan average.</p> <p>&hellip;<em>Women&rsquo;s Health Victoria</em> Chief Executive Rita Butera, who oversaw the compilation of the health atlas, said teenagers and women in outer suburbia face difficulties accessing contraception, including emergency contraceptives &hellip;</p> <p>&hellip; Ms Butera said it was important women&rsquo;s services access young people to talk about contraception in a bid to curb unwanted and unplanned pregnancies &hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Article: Star Weekly (Melton and Moorabool) (27/11/2015)</a></p> Victorian Upper House passes abortion clinic protest buffer zone law 2015-12-10T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>A ban on protesters going within 150 metres of abortion clinics has become law in Victoria after the upper house voted overwhelmingly in favour of the bill.</p> <p>&ldquo;Thanks to the bill, women making personal and often difficult health decisions in relation to pregnancy can expect the same degree of privacy, safety and dignity that all Victorians are entitled to when accessing health services,&rdquo; Rita Butera, Executive Director of Women&rsquo;s Health Victoria, said.</p> <p><a href="">Article: The Age (27/11/2015)</a></p> Protesters angry at Vic abortion law 2015-11-27T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>Anti-abortion protesters are angry about being banned from going within 150 metres of abortion clinics in Victoria.</p> <p>&hellip; Women&rsquo;s health advocates are overjoyed the ban will prevent patients and staff from being exposed to &ldquo;intimidating, disrespectful and obstructive behaviour&rdquo;. &ldquo;This legislation addresses a longstanding issue,&rdquo; Women&rsquo;s Health Victoria Executive Director Rita Butera said. &hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Article: Herald Sun (27/11/2015)</a></p> Victoria's world-class public health services honoured 2015-11-19T00:00:00Z Clearinghouse <p>&hellip;“Now in their 11th year, the <em>2015 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards</em> recognise quality, innovation and excellence by government-funded healthcare providers and organisations delivering public health research and/or programs” &hellip; &ldquo;Award Category: Excellence in women’s health &ndash; Gold Winner &ndash; Women’s Health Victoria &ndash; The Labia Library&rdquo; &hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Media Release: Victoria. Minister for Health (19/11/2015)</a></p>