Women’s Health Goulburn North East recognises sexual and reproductive health as a fundamental issue for all women, affecting their health and wellbeing at every life stage and with greater impacts due to biological and social factors.

Sexual and reproductive health is linked to many other aspects of health, particularly mental health and includes the right to respectful relationships, accurate information and access to timely health care and services appropriate to a woman’s needs, regardless of where she lives and how much money she has. Sexual and reproductive health contributes to women’s overall health and wellbeing and is priority for Women’s Health Goulburn North East.

Objective

Enable supportive environments that promote women’s sexual and reproductive health and advance women’s health rights.

What We Do 

Sexual & Reproductive Health Services

Sexual & Reproductive Health Services

Detailed Directory

Sexual & Reproductive Health Services

Sexual & Reproductive Health Services

Quick Look Guide

Resources

Snapshots

Sexual and Reproductive Health data snapshots by local government area and for the Goulburn Valley North East Region. The data looks at births, contraception, sexually transmitted infection, cervical screening and sexual offences.

Dig Deeper

  • Why is Sexual & Reproductive Health a Priority?

    Sexual and reproductive health is a fundamental issue for all women, affecting them at every life stage. It is an important factor in shaping how women develop and maintain meaningful interpersonal relationships, appreciate their bodies; interact with others; express affection, love and intimacy; and by choice, bear children10.

    Sexual and reproductive health is interlinked with many other aspects of health, particularly mental health, and contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of the individual throughout their life.

    10 Women’s Health Victoria 2009, Sexual and Reproductive Health: Why is Sexual and Reproductive Health a Priority, Webpage: http://whv.org.au/what-we-do/sexual-reproductive-health
  • Key Priorities

    Sexual and reproductive health includes the right to healthy and respectful relationships, to accurate information, and safe, inclusive services appropriate to a woman’s needs, including effective and affordable methods of family planning and fertility regulation regardless of where a woman lives and how much money she has11

    The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence12.

    11 Department of Health and Human Resources 2017, Women’s sexual and reproductive health: Key priorities 2017-2020, Victorian Government, Melbourne. 12 Women’s Health Victoria 2009, Sexual and Reproductive Health: Why is Sexual and Reproductive Health a priority, Webpage: http://whv.org.au/what-we-do/sexual-reproductive-health 4 VicHealth 2008, Violence against women in Australia, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation
  • Access to Family Planning Services

    Due to both biological, social and contextual factors, the impact of poor sexual and reproductive health is greater on women. It is now recognised that gender based and family violence have significant impacts on women’s health and wellbeing, including sexual and reproductive health and unplanned pregnancy. Family violence can create barriers to women’s right to safely access appropriate sexual health care and fertility control services, including timely access to contraception, screening and treatment where women have respect, choice and support.

    Despite state legislation ensuring that Victorian women have a right to safe, legal abortion without fear of intimidation and loss of privacy, many women do not always have timely access to termination of pregnancy services or specialist sexual and reproductive health services, especially those living in rural and regional Victoria13.

    Women disproportionately carry the burden of unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy will often result in negative outcomes including poverty, substance abuse and reduced engagement with education for young mothers and their babies. There are barriers for young women to find accurate information and sensitive supports to assist them with reproductive health. Young women are particularly vulnerable to violence and having coercive first sexual experiences. Young women who have experienced violence also report high rates of sexual and reproductive coercion, including forced pregnancy or sabotage of contraception14.

    13 Women’s Health Association of Victoria 2012, Victorian Rural Women’s Access to Family Planning Services: Survey Report August 2012. 14 Women’s Health Victoria 2017, Victorian Women’s Health Atlas, victorianwomenshealthatlas.net.au
  • Key Concepts

    WHGNE works from a social model of health that acknowledges that sexual and reproductive health outcomes are determined15 by social, cultural, economic and contextual factors that influence women’s lives. Our work aims to address the key determinants that influence women’s sexual and reproductive health outcomes:

    • Gender based and family violence
    • Gender equality
    • Needs of diverse women of all abilities

    Our understanding of sexual and reproductive health is underpinned by the following concepts16:

    • Sexual and reproductive health is about wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease.
    • Sexual and reproductive health involves respect, safety and freedom from discrimination and violence.
    • Sexual and reproductive health depends on the fulfilment of human rights.
    • Sexual and reproductive health is relevant throughout people’s lifespan, not only for people in their reproductive years, but also for people who are young or are older.
    • Sexual and reproductive health is critically influenced by sex and gender norms, roles, expectations and power dynamics.
    • Sexual and reproductive health is expressed through diverse sexualities and forms of sexual expression.
    15 Commission on Social Determinants of Health 20018, Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health, World Health Organisation. 16 Department of Health and Human Resources 2017, Women’s sexual and reproductive health: Key priorities 2017-2020, p 2, Victorian Government, Melbourne.
  • Guiding Principles

    1. Our focus is primary prevention but we understand that early intervention and response are critical to create gender transformative change.

    2. Access to rights based, accurate information and safe, affordable sexual and reproductive health services appropriate to women’s needs enables women’s rights to choice and equity.

    3. We utilize evidence based and best practice frameworks using a determinants approach.

    4. Equal, respectful relationships between men and women in all spheres of society and at all life stages are essential for women to achieve optimal sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing.

    5. Equity for women living in the Ovens Murray Goulburn Region is priority, especially for those who experience the greatest disadvantage.

    6. Partnerships and collaboration with government, organisations, communities and women of all abilities are central to the way we work

  • Data & Statistics
    • Young women under the age of 25 have the highest rates of notification of Chlamydia in Victoria, with more notifications in rural areas than in metropolitan areas17.
    • The Hume region Chlamydia rate of 36.1 per 1000 population compared with the state rate of 35.7 resulted in a ranking of 4 out of 8 regions in the state in 201118.
    • There was a fourfold increase in rates for infectious syphilis for Victorian women in 2016 compared to rates in 201519.
    17 Jane Hocking 2016, Update on STIs in Victoria, CERSH Presentation, Melbourne University. 18 Women’s Health Goulburn North East 2012, Local stats about women, Women’s Health Goulburn North East 19 Victorian State Government 2016, Health and Human Services, Victorian Prevention, Epidemiology and Surveillance Sexually Transmissible Infections Key Trends for 2016, Fact Sheet
  • Sexual & Reproductive Health in Rural & Regional Areas
    • Rates for teenage fertility in the Hume Region are higher than the Victorian average; 12.5 live births per thousand women aged 15 to 19 residing in the region in 2015 compared to the State average of 9.5 live births per thousand women in the same age range as at 30 June, 201520.
    • In 2014, 17% of young people in Years 8 and 11 reported having had sexual intercourse with students in regional Victoria significantly more likely to have had sex (22%) compared to metropolitan students (15%). Only one in four (27%) sexually active Year 8 and 11 students reported always using a condom when having sex21.
    • There can be high costs of contraception, lack of bulk billing and limited family planning services available. Distance to services and time taken up travelling to and from appointments create additional barriers with 96% of respondents in one study referring women to surgical abortion services in Melbourne (50%) or out of town (46%)22.
    • Women with additional needs including those experiencing violence, women living with disabilities and migrant and refugee women experience significant barriers accessing sexual and reproductive health services appropriate to their needs. A comprehensive survey with Victorian health and community service providers across rural areas found 53% of respondents were not aware or did not know of strategies to cater for women with additional needs23.
    • Confidentiality due to lack of anonymity has been identified as a major issue. In one study 72% of women respondents considered privacy to be an issue in their local area24.
    20 Women’s Health Victoria 2017, Victorian Women’s Health Atlas, website source Victoria. Department of Health and Human Services. Consultative Council on Obstetric & Paediatric Mortality & Morbidity, 2015. 21 Victorian State Government 2015, Education and Training, 2014 Victorian Student Health and Wellbeing Survey, ‘About You’, Melbourne. 22 Women’s Health Association of Victoria 2012, Victorian Rural Women’s Access to Family Planning Services: Survey Report August 2012. 23 Ibid. 24 Women’s Health Association of Victoria 2012, Proposal for Victorian Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, Women’s Health Association of Victoria.