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PREVIOUS NEWS ITEMS

 

Female Genital Pain: Women and their treatment choice, The University of Sydney (Online Study)

Subject:  An online questionnaire investigating treatment decisions in women with genital pain conditions (vulvodynia and vaginismus).

Contact:  Kathy Bond, PhD candidate, kbon3355@uni.sydney.edu.au or +61 425 798 425 or go directly to the on-line survey at

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FemaleGenitalPain

Requirements:  This research will help health professionals to better understand vulvar pain and its effects on women and treatment seeking.  It is being conducted by the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney and has Human Research Ethics Committee approval (ref # 11-2009/12243). The survey will take approximately 45-60 minutes depending on how much detail you choose to give.  To be eligible you must be a woman between 18 and 55, have pain in the vulvar/vaginal area associated with non-sexual or sexual activity (including oral sex, masturbation, intercourse, tampon use, pelvic exam, sporting activities, etc) and your pain must be either intermittent or continuous for at least the last 2 months.  You must not be peri- menopausal or menopausal, breast feeding, have given birth within the last 6 months or have an active vulvar/vaginal infection.  Participation in this project is completely voluntary - you can withdrawal at any time.  The information you give will be treated with the utmost confidence.

 Posted: August 2011


New National Women's Health Policy RELEASED

The New National Women's Health Policy was released by the Federal Government on 29 December 2010 (see Press Release below). To view the document go to:

http://www.health.gov.au/womenshealthpolicy

 

THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP

Minister for Health and Ageing

THE HON KATE ELLIS MP

Minister for the Status of Women

MEDIA RELEASE

29 December 2010

NEW DIRECTIONS FOR IMPROVING WOMEN’S HEALTH

Ensuring women have access to the right health care at the right time is a key objective of the Gillard Government’s National Women’s Health Policy 2010 released today.

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon and Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis said that the National Women’s Health Policy provides a comprehensive approach to the health needs of women and acknowledges that health needs vary across the population.

"This policy will prioritise preventing chronic disease among women and has a clear focus on maintaining and developing health services and prevention programs that target the greatest challenges to women’s health over the next two decades," Ms Roxon said.

"It is twenty years since the first national women’s healthy policy and there have been significant changes in the way women live their lives."

"Never before have we seen such enormous growth in chronic disease. Nearly half of all women are overweight and 27 per cent of women aged over 25 have high blood pressure. Sadly, large gaps in health outcomes for women from low socioeconomic groups, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women still remain," Ms Ellis said.

"This policy is about ensuring women have the information and support to take control of their immediate and longer term health."

Ms Roxon and Ms Ellis also announced an additional $5.3 million in funding to support the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health that will help continue to build the evidence base on women’s health.

"Knowing more about the key issues that impact on women’s health is fundamental to improving health outcomes for all Australian women", Ms Roxon said.

The additional funding will enable a new younger cohort of women to be added to the study, providing valuable information on the changes and challenges to women’s health over time across a broader range of age groups.

The policy is available at: www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/national womens health-1

For more information, contact Ms Roxon’s Office: (02) 6277 7220


INDEX OF OLDER NEWS ITEMS

update on release of New National Women's Health Policy (2010)

ANNOUNCEMENT: New National Women's Health Policy (2009)

Research: The Effects of Genital Image and Body Image on Sexual Functioning in Women  (2009)

ZONTA CLUB OF SOUTHERN GOLD COAST/TWEED - WOMEN'S HEALTH FORUM 19 APRIL 2008

'CHOICE' WRISTBANDS FOR SALE

FIRST EVER BIPOLAR SERVICES DIRECTORY

LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL WOMEN'S HEALTH EDUCATION AND RESEARCH GRANT

PETS IN CRISIS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM

ANXIETY DISORDER SUPPORT GROUP - BRISBANE

LAUNCH OF NEW BIG BUTTON PHONE

THE BODY SHOP ANTI-VIOLENCE IN THE HOME CAMPAIGN

POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME NATIONAL TASKFORCE

STUDY OF DEPRESSION AMONG AUSTRALIA'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

GUIDED MEDITATION CLASSES - TOWNSVILLE

WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES AND MAMMOGRAPHY SCREENING - NSW

NATIONAL BREAST CANCER COUNCIL LEADING THE WAY IN MULTIDISCIPLINARY CANCER CARE

AUSTRALIANS ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY PREGNANCY DRUG SOLD OUT BY TGA

EMOTIONAL DV VIDEO PACKAGE

MULTICULTURAL MENTAL HEALTH AUSTRALIA SURVEY

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) HEALTH SYSTEMS COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

MENTAL ILLNESS - SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT

COULD COMMON OLD ASPIRIN BE A KEY TO BOWEL CANCER PREVENTION?

HEALTH AND EXPERIENCES OF VIOLENCE AMONG YOUNG WOMEN 

WOMEN'S SAFETY AFTER SEPARATION WEBSITE LAUNCHED

NEW BOOK BY GWEN GRAY "THE POLITICS OF MEDICARE WHO GETS WHAT, WHEN AND HOW"

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN INFORMATION ABOUT SUPPORTIVE CARE SERVICES FOR WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER?

FIRST NATION-WIDE PRO-CHOICE PREGNANCY PHONE COUNSELLING SERVICE LAUNCHED

NBCC COORDINATED CARE SURVEY COMPLETED

PRIORITIES FOR WOMEN FOR NEXT FIVE YEARS ANNOUNCED

PRIVACY KIT FOR MENTAL HEALTH SECTOR

FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES ITS NEW 'FAMILY VIOLENCE STRATEGY'

MAKING WAVES: ATTENDING TO LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE

- WOMEN'S SAFETY AFTER SEPARATION PROJECT

- WORKPLACE BULLYING MANUAL

- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FILM AVAILABLE

- CAIRNS DEPRESSION SUPPORT GROUP

- 10 TIPS FOR SAFER HEALTH CARE  -  BOOKLET

- QLD DEAF SOCIETY RESOURCE ROOM

- DO YOU HAVE A 'NEWS AT A GLANCE' SUGGESTION?

 

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update on release of New National Women's Health Policy (2010)

It is our understanding that the new National Women's Health Policy is now complete and due for release by the Federal Government sometime in December 2010. For more information visit: www.health.gov.au/womenshealthpolicy

 

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ANNOUNCEMENT: New National Women's Health Policy (2009)

Media Release:

'A Fresh Focus for Women's Health' from the Hon Nicola Roxon MP Minister for Health & Ageing

In March 2009 the Rudd Government hosted a roundtable in Canberra with women’s health experts as a first step in the development of a new National Women’s Health policy. Further consultations with women's health and other relevant groups and individuals across Australia will take place throughout 2009. This will be facilitated by a discussion paper, New National Women’s Health Policy: Consultation Discussion Paper 2009, and submissions will be sought from participants. The new policy is expected to be delivered in 2010.

This paper is available on the Department of Health and Ageing’s website at
www.health.gov.au/womenshealthpolicy

People can also use this site to provide comments and submissions.

For the full Media Release go to:

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr09-nr-nr030.htm
 

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Research: The Effects of Genital Image and Body Image on Sexual Functioning in Women  (2009)

This study will evaluate the association between genital image, body image and sexual satisfaction in women across the reproductive spectrum.

Coping with psychosexual issues for individuals and their partners can be difficult.  Disappointment, isolation and poor quality of life can occur if sexual issues are not understood.  Perceptions of one's physical self play a significant role in one's sexual self-esteem.  The more discomfort one has about their body the more avoidance one may experience in expressing their sexuality.  Genital image is an important component of sexual functioning that is poorly represented in the literature.  Indirect evidence for the concept of genital image can be found in the media that document the recent increase in women seeking cosmetic surgery for their genitalia. 

This research will investigate further, the intimacy issues for women by evaluating if genital image concerns influence comfort during sexual activity.  The research aims to evaluate the type of framework or prevention intervention that is necessary to enhance quality of life for women who have genital image concerns.  One way of achieving this is helping women become more knowledgeable and comfortable with their genitals.

The study invites participants to complete questionnaires on-line which will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. www.fhs.usyd.edu.au/sexualhealth/genitalimage

The study is being conducted by Frances D’Arcy-Tehan and will form the basis for the Doctor of Philosophy (Sexual Health) at The University of Sydney under the supervision of: Dr Gomathi Sitharthan, Research Co-ordinator, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney and Dr Matthew Dunn, Associate Supervisor, University of New South Wales.   

If you would like to know more about this research please feel free to contact: Frances D’Arcy-Tehan, Doctor of Philosophy Student (Health Sciences); University of Sydney; (03) 5229 9055, 041 4455 420 or fdar7260@usyd.edu.au or Dr Gomathi Sitharthan, Research Co-ordinator, (02) 9351 9584 or g.sitharthan@usyd.edu.au

 

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ZONTA CLUB OF SOUTHERN GOLD COAST/TWEED - WOMEN'S HEALTH FORUM 19 APRIL 2008

Zonta Club of Southern Gold Coast/Tweed is holding a Women's Health Forum in April.

Topics: Women's Safety, Women's Health, Women's Financial Health, Women's Self-Esteem.

Venue: Murwillumbah Civic Centre

Date: Saturday 19 April 2008

Time: 9am - 4.30pm

Cost: Gold coin donation.

Includes morning tea, light lunch.

For bookings or more information contact: Betty Priest (07) 5524 5374 or easypeas@bigpond.com

 

 

'CHOICE' WRISTBANDS FOR SALE

Children by Choice is committed to providing unbiased information on all unplanned pregnancy options to Queensland women and their families.  We offer referrals for abortion, adoption and parenting. Children by Choice recognises that unintended pregnancy is a reality of women's lives. No contraceptive method is 100% effective and many new contraceptive products are not available in Australia. The organisation is selling funky silver 'Choice' wristbands to raise awareness about reproductive health issues and to help raise funds. Priced at only $3.50 each, including postage and handling. For more information contact Children By Choice via email.

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FIRST EVER BIPOLAR SERVICES DIRECTORY

The Australian Directory of Services is the first publication of its kind to provide a catalogue of organisations in Australia that work tirelessly in the area of Bipolar Disorder and related mental health issues.

It is estimated that one in 200 Australians experience Bipolar Disorder over any 12-month period. Unfortunately, even in this day of modern technology and medical advancement, the misdiagnosis and undertreatment of Bipolar Disorder results in unacceptable levels of suffering and suicide, and contributes to the escalating costs associated with the condition.

Bipolar Disorder (previously known as manic-depressive illness) is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy and ability to function. While every person experiences a range of emotions at varying times in their life, Bipolar Disorder is different to the normal ups and downs that most people experience.

The Australian Services Directory is an easy reference guide for consumers, carers, family members, friends and health professionals who are impacted by Bipolar Disorder and who may be seeking information on, or services related to, the illness.

Click here to view the Australian Bipolar Services Directory (in PDF format).

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LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL WOMEN'S HEALTH EDUCATION AND RESEARCH GRANT

ALMA (Australian Lesbian Medical Association) and ACON (AIDS Council of NSW) are jointly funding a 2005/06 grant up to the value of $15,000. The aim of the grant is to improve the health and health care of Australian lesbians and bisexual women through enabling small projects in education or research, which are able to be completed within one year.

Themes for 2005 are:

1. Access to health services from consumer and/or provider perspectives

2. Health issues for bisexual and/or lesbian women who are over 40

3. The sexual health of bisexual and/or lesbian women

Applicant information packs and guidelines are available by contacting ACON:

• 02 9206 2000 (10am-6pm Monday to Friday),

free call 1800 063 060 (within NSW, 10am-6pm Monday to Friday)

Or from the ALMA or ACON websites.

The closing date for applications is Friday September 30th 2005. Late applications will not be accepted.

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PETS IN CRISIS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM

RSPCA Qld and dvconnect Domestic and Family Violence Service of Qld have joined forces to help human and animal victims of Domestic and Family Violence. In what is already being heralded as a major breakthrough, the RSPCA will partner with dvconnect to help women who feel trapped in violent domestic situations because of concerns for their pets.

“Women often delay leaving a violent relationship because they’re worried what will happen to their pets” said Di Mangan Manager of dvconnect. “Unfortunately refuges are not equipped to take animals and until now women have been reluctant to leave if they cannot find or afford emergency pet care.”

The new Pets in Crisis - domestic violence program will solve this problem by providing temporary care for the pets of women and children during their stay in domestic violence refuges. The program will initially be trialed for six months and will hopefully help prevent animal cruelty in violent domestic situations. Many families also feel traumatised after they’re forced to abandon pets when they flee the family home. The Pets in Crisis program will help ease that trauma of loss.

The RSPCA will provide specialized training and support to dvconnect volunteers to enable them to foster pets of women leaving domestic violence. It will also try to accommodate animals at an RSPCA shelter that are not deemed suitable for fostering. Referrals to the program will be coordinated 24hrs a day by dvconnect womensline ( ph 1800 811 811), the state-wide 24hr domestic violence counselling and refuge service.

“We’re delighted to enter into this partnership with DV Connect,” said RSPCA Qld CEO Mark Townend. “We view it as part of our long term commitment to help address the disturbing links between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence. We have already been developing a much closer working relationship with Queensland Police as part of our Links programme and this partnership with dvconnect is a natural and obvious progression”.

For more information visit the dvconnect website or the RSPCA QLD website.

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ANXIETY DISORDER SUPPORT GROUP - BRISBANE

 

The Anxiety Disorder Support Group meets at Chermside Library on the first Friday of each month from 3.30pm till 5.00pm. The next meeting is on September 5. This is a support group for sufferers of anxiety disorders. Carers also welcome.

 

For more information please phone Maureen or David on 3353 4851 or contact them via email.

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LAUNCH OF NEW BIG BUTTON PHONE

Telstra now have new products for older customers at no extra charge. Designed for people with impaired vision, loss of hearing or arthritis in the hands. For more information contact 1800 068 424 (voice) or 1800 808 981 (TTY) to learn more about the Telstra Disability Program and other products. Or contact them via email.

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THE BODY SHOP HELP STOP VIOLENCE IN THE HOME CAMPAIGN

The Body Shop is running the 'Help Stop Violence in the Home' campaign around Australia. They have postcards available in their stores printed with "Some kids witness more violence in the home than they do on TV. The cycle of domestic violence can stop. Let's make a start". They are asking that people sign one of these cards and give it back to the Body Shop and they will be delivered to Kay Patterson, Minister for Family and Community Services. Or alternatively, you can sign a 'virtual' postcard on their website.

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POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME NATIONAL TASKFORCE

The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association of Australia (POSAA) believes it is time for a National Taskforce on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) to draw more attention to the epidemic in the Australian community. According to a recently published study, one in eight Australian women (around half a million women and teenagers) suffer from this condition and it should concern all Australians that such a high number of women have an incurable syndrome that can stop them from having children, as well as lead to diabetes and heart disease. The POSAA is urging health professionals with a specific interest in treating patients with PCOS to join them is their quest to have the Federal Minister for Health convene a National Taskforce on PCOS. To get involved or for further information contact Sabra Lane of POSAA on 0418 647 130 or visit the POSAA website.

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STUDY OF DEPRESSION AMONG AUSTRALIA'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

It is well known that there is little precise information about the levels of social and emotional wellbeing (including depression) among Indigenous peoples.

In response to this concern, beyondblue, the national depression initiative, recently convened a meeting of key stakeholders, including NAACHO and the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) to consider options for identifying and collating information about depression.

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has since been commissioned by beyondblue to undertake a scoping study to find out what we know about depression among Indigenous peoples, especially programs/ projects that address this important health issue.

They would value any information that you would be able to provide, in relation to services and/or programs that are offered through your organisation, or any relevant statistics that you are aware of. They are particularly interested in information around prevention and early intervention, as well as learning of innovative treatments or programs that you may have initiated in your area.

Provision of information from your organisation is voluntary, and will be added to a final report which will include a bibliography of the literature and a data base of relevant programs and projects that target depression in Indigenous communities.

This information will be made freely available as a means of sharing information and resources for any one working in this area.

 If you are interested in contributing to this study, the following weblink, http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/depression/ allows you direct access to a short questionnaire that can then be forwarded to HealthInfonet.

For more information please contact Ineke Krom on (08) 9370 6470 or via email.

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GUIDED MEDITATION FOR WELLBEING CLASSES - TOWNSVILLE

Healing Words in Townsville holds weekly Guided Meditation classes with the aim of increasing general wellbeing. Healing Words is on Ingham Road in West End. For more information contact Kay on 4771 2707 or via email.

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WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES AND MAMMOGRAPHY SCREENING - NSW

The University of Sydney in partnership with BreastScreen NSW, and with the support of a National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Kathleen Cuningham Research Grant, is recruiting women with disabilities aged between 50-69 years to participate in a research project. The aim of the project is to make sure that women with disabilities in this age group have access to breast screening services. Participation in the project would include a face-to-face interview, lasting from 1-2 hours, in a place that suits you.  Interviews would be tape-recorded. During this interview we would be asking about what you know about breast cancer screening and whether you have ever been screened.

If you are interested in finding out more about the research please call Louella McCarthy on (02) 9351 9205.

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NATIONAL BREAST CANCER COUNCIL LEADING THE WAY IN MULTIDISCIPLINARY CANCER CARE

The National Breast Cancer Centre (NBCC) is supporting the implementation of multidisciplinary cancer care in Australia with the release of Australia’s first practical guide to assist clinicians and health managers with the planning and running of multidisciplinary meetings for cancer treatment planning. Multidisciplinary care was recognised in the recent Senate Committee report The cancer journey: informing choice as a key aspect to improve cancer care in Australia, with the NBCC noted as leading the way in this team approach to care. The National Breast Cancer Centre’s new resource Multidisciplinary meetings for cancer care: a guide for health service providers offers health professionals practical ideas and tools to improve multidisciplinary care at a local level. The guide will be useful both for groups wishing to implement new multidisciplinary care meetings and for teams that want to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing processes. Copies of the meeting guide can be viewed or ordered online at www.nbcc.org.au or by calling 1800 624 973.

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AUSTRALIANS ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY PREGNANCY DRUG SOLD OUT BY TGA

 

Australians affected by the anti-miscarriage drug diethylstilboestrol (DES) are being denied life saving health care because doctors are not being advised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) that they should be given a special medical examination that goes beyond the usual Pap smear.

 

It is known world-wide that women exposed to DES in the womb (DES daughters) need a special annual examination for the rest of their lives to check for a rare, aggressive cancer (clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina/cervix) that can go undetected in regular Pap smears. This examination has been published in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) draft guidelines since 1994 and is being revised for the NHMRC’s formal approval later in 2005.

 

However, the TGA has advised that DES daughters only need the usual Pap smear rather than this special examination. The TGA has refused to alter its Pap smear advice publicised nationally last year, and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the NHMRC have failed to the oppose the TGA’s advice.

 

Data held by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates that there are about 86 cases of the cancer type associated with DES that have yet to be investigated. The estimated number of exposed in Australia can be determined by the number of identified DES cancer cases. “So, if these other cases are DES related, there could be an estimated population of 344,000 DES exposed mothers, daughters and sons in Australia, all of whom need special health information. If doctors follow the TGA’s advice and don’t do special DES exams, then a possible 86,000 DES daughters will not get the care they need and run the risk of having cancer go undetected,” says DES Action Australia-NSW group coordinator Carol Devine.

 

Since the 1980s several thousand DES daughters in USA have as individuals successfully sued the drug companies who manufactured DES. An estimated US$300 million has been paid to these DES daughters in total. USA attorneys who specialise in DES exposure injuries stand ready to investigate offshore claims in USA for Australians affected.

 

Queensland DES daughter, Sue Punshon says she would welcome any chance to enlighten RANZCOG and NHMRC about the impact DES has had on her life. “I am suffering the anxiety and heartbreak of infertility and other DES caused problems and feel patronised by their failure to publicly advocate, loud and clear, the special care for DES daughters. Why should it become harder for me to get the examination to check for DES-related cancer that I know I need every year?”

 

In attempting to help people with known or suspected DES exposure get the best information about DES, the support group DES Action Australia-NSW has produced DES Website Reminder Cards. Devine calls the card a ‘one-stop shop’ for vital DES information catering for now and the future.

 

“But cards are not enough” maintains Devine, “Federal politicians should now be making the DES exposure issue a health priority. It’s time!” For more information contact Carol Devine on (02) 9875 4820 or via email

 

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EMOTIONAL DV VIDEO PACKAGE

The Hunter Women's Centre is the auspice body for the emotional DV package called ‘Through New Eyes- the hidden dynamics of domestic violence’ which was funded by the Hunter Area Assistance Scheme. The package is now self funded and is supported by the Hunter Women's Centre in Newcastle, NSW. This is a unique resource that examines in depth the emotional dynamics of DV. It explores issues of emotional domestic violence like psychological abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. The package consists of 4 videos, a user’s manual and a CD-ROM package. The 4 videos explore the following:

Video 1- ‘More than just physical’ examines the effects of emotional abuse on a woman and her children and her plight to a refuge.

Video 2- ‘Barriers to leaving’- shows 4 women and the issues they and their children faced leaving abusive relationships

Video 3- ‘Wising up’ is aimed a young people, it shows how power and control as a basis for emotional abuse and how this is passed down through generations. It shows an example of a young boy using trickery and a young girls innocence to get sexual favours.

Video 4- is a continuous play of video 1 and 2 and is designed to be played at public events to break the silence of emotional abuse by informing the public and to bring to the attention of women or friend of women that DV is not only physical.

It is an interactive package that is relevant to any organization that deals with issues relating to domestic violence like women’s refuges, women’s centres, community centres, universities, schools etc. The cost of the package is $275 plus $15 postage and handling. If anyone would like to see the package before purchasing it can be sent on loan. Contact Service Manager, Megan Smith on (02) 4968 2511 or email hwc.megan@hunterlink.net.au  or visit their website.

 

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MULTICULTURAL MENTAL HEALTH AUSTRALIA SURVEY

Multicultural mental Health Australia (MMHA) website, www.mmha.org.au, are asking for people to tell them what you think of their website and how they can improve it to better meet your needs. The survey, which is anonymous and consists of 12 questions, should take about 5 minutes to complete. To participate in the online survey click here.

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LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) HEALTH SYSTEMS COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

The Queensland Aids Council has been funded by Queensland Health to conduct a 12 month pilot project to identify and address the barriers relating to health outcomes and access to health and wellbeing services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) people throughout Queensland.  The project will focus upon addressing the impact and effect of sexuality and gender identity issues on LGBT sexual health.

The structure of the project is framed in a broader health agenda.  While the focus of the project is to prevent the transmission of HIV, Hep C and Sexually Transmitted Infections the project will address issues such as social/geographical isolation, internalised/social homophobia, the fear of rejection, violence and discrimination, which all impact upon the sexual health outcomes within the LGBT community.

The Health Systems Project will aim to identify procedures, policies and practices that inhibit the health outcomes of the LGBT community.  Pilot training programs will be developed and implemented for sexual health providers, aiming to raise awareness and understanding of the needs of LGBT people.  The project will develop an on-line referral directory for health care providers, focusing upon sexual health and identifying LGBT friendly and experienced service providers and community organisations.  Throughout the year the project will establish and operate networks for health care providers interested in LGBT health issues and will distribute relevant information relating to LGBT health throughout these networks.  The project also aims to establish similar networks to support LGBT community organisations in Queensland. 

If you are interested in being involved with the community consultations conducted throughout this project, being listed on the LGBT Health Referral Directory, being part of the LGBT Health Network, the LGBT Community Organisations network or simply being kept up to date on the progress of the project please email lgbthealth@quac.org.au for further information or check the QuAC website for regular updates on the project.

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MENTAL ILLNESS - SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT

Local charity Open Minds, along with the Brook RED Centre have launched an inspiring book which is a compilation of stories, poetry and art from local residents living with a mental illness.

The book, entitled Nine Lives, was developed by the two charities who felt it was important that Brisbane residents gain a better understanding of those living in their neighbourhood with a mental illness.

Open Minds CEO Jo Denvir said that rather than being dark and depressing, the book is very inspiring and motivating.

"Those who have participated have fascinating lives and experiences that are remarkable, the book is amazing."

Mental illness is extremely common with statistics revealing that approximately 1.8 million Australians (9.6% of the population) have a long-term mental or behavioural problem that had lasted, or was expected to last for six months or more.

"It is our intention to encourage the community to see first hand that people with a mental illness have skills, abilities and stories to tell that are very valuable," Ms Denvir said.

"The issue of mental illness is no longer something that we can think of as happening to other people because it occurs in our own backyards."

The book was made possible through a grant from Brisbane City Council and Disability Services Queensland.

A number of writing workshops were conducted at the Brook RED Centre in South Brisbane to teach participants the skills needed to write personal stories.

This allowed participants to explore and share many areas of their lives in written form that they may not have otherwise been able to verbalise.

Ms Denvir said the book is a fantastic outlet in which individuals can explore different areas of their lives and share their experiences with the greater community.

"I just love that is it about the people of Brisbane... my community," Ms Denvir said.

"I think it is so important to recognise that these experiences are real and are happening in our neighbourhood… but most importantly, that they can be overcome."

The book is free and copies can be obtained by ringing Open Minds on (07)3891 3711 or contact them via email.

 

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COULD COMMON OLD ASPIRIN BE A KEY TO BOWEL CANCER PREVENTION?

A press release issued by the Bowel Cancer & Digestive Research Institute...

Bowel cancer kills one Australian every two hours.  This figure represents almost half of the cases diagnosed per annum.

Evidence suggests that screening methods appropriate to the age and family history of the consumer can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Bowel cancer however remains the commonest internal malignancy to affect both men and women.

Primary prevention is crucial in both human and economic terms. 

Several protective factors have been identified by a large and compelling body of research.

The beneficial role of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents is yet to be conclusively proven but a diverse range of research models, including randomised controlled trials in humans, suggests an inhibiting effect.

Dr Danny Stiel, a Director of the Bowel Cancer & Digestive Research Institute Australia and a specialist gastroenterologist, suggests that until the optimal dosage of aspirin is determined, consumers can be reassured with current means of protection and detection.  “Early detection and removal of pre-malignant adenomatous polyps during a colonoscopy is an effective ‘cure’.  Even malignant bowel cancer, if detected in the early stages of growth can be successfully treated, usually without the need for a permanent colostomy”.

Prevention remains the key according to Dr Cameron Bell, also a Director of the Bowel Cancer & Digestive Research Institute and Head of the Gastro-enterology Department at Royal North Shore Hospital Sydney.  “Avoiding animal fats, reducing red meat intake, alcohol and smoking, increasing folate, calcium, vitamin C and dietary fibre and maintaining a healthy body mass index can all act as protectants and improve the consumer’s general health too” according to Dr Bell.  Visit the Institute’s website www.gutdisorders.com for further details.

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HEALTH AND EXPERIENCES OF VIOLENCE AMONG YOUNG WOMEN

The Office of the Status of Women commissioned Women’s Health Australia to undertake an analysis of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health data to explore the impact of violence on young women’s reproductive health.

The study found that violence against women is associated with serious reproductive outcomes including unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, high rates of abortion, low birth-weight and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection. Violence against women also impacts on their general physical and mental health.

Please Click HERE to access an Adobe Acrobat (pdf) copy of the study.

For any academics or those interested in more detailed reports,  a paper written by Angela Taft, Lyn Watson and Christina Lee has been published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal Public Health 2000 for vol 28 no 4.  It is entitled ‘Violence against Young Australian women and association with reproductive events: cross sectional analysis of a national population sample’.

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WOMEN'S SAFETY AFTER SEPARATION WEBSITE LAUNCHED

The Women’s Safety After Separation launched its national website on 7 June 2004 in Adelaide. This is a new website providing information for women and workers assisting women escaping abuse and violence. The web address is http://wsas.here.ws.

A virtual web-based resource with downloadable materials, references and links in relation to domestic violence, child protection, family law, protection orders, research and web-links.

The website was funded by the Office of Status of Women and auspiced by the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children and the Australian Coalition of Women Against Violence.

This website aims to provide information to women facing separation, particularly where there is violence and abuse.  We hope this information will help women to negotiate safety for themselves and their children.  However, we acknowledge that there needs to be important changes in how domestic violence, child protection and family law issues are dealt with to improve the safety of women and children

Currently, women face many problems when escaping domestic violence and child abuse.  The research indicates that survivors of violence and abuse begin recovery when their exposure to danger has stopped and they are able to re-establish safety.  However, since the criminal justice, child protection and family law systems leave women exposed to this violence and abuse, they are placed in the difficult position of being unable to focus on recovery and safety.  In fact, when mothers are trying to negotiate their own and their children's safety they are put at more risk as these systems fail to provide a safe environment for this to take place.

Resources and approaches need to be further developed and made accessible to improve responses to the needs of women and their children when subjected to violence and abuse.

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NEW BOOK BY GWEN GRAY "THE POLITICS OF MEDICARE WHO GETS WHAT, WHEN AND HOW"

Although Medicare Plus, the government’s controversial reform package, was unexpectedy passed by the Senate earlier this year, it has failed to defuse the controvesy over the future of Medicare. Indeed, to the government’s critics, the package is another nail in the coffin of an effective popular national health-care scheme.

The differences of opinion are not new: for 50 years, Australian health policy has oscillated backwards and forwards between systems of national health insurance and publicly funded private health insurance. Like many other OECD countries, Australia has always had a two-tiered health system but its policy pattern is unique: in no other country have major programs been introduced and terminated with every change of government. And in no other country has policy returned to the direct subsidisation of private health insurance whenever the conservative side of politics gains are power at the national level.

The Howard government was elected on a promise to maintain Medicare, but has steadily introduced a series of privatisation measures. Yet the government has also maintained the basic elements of national insurance, and the Labor Party has given its support to the public subsidisation of private practice. Experience suggests that emerging equity concerns and financial pressures will destabilise the present public-private mix and that the familiar political battleground over the size of the two sectors will continue.

In this book – which brings the debate up to April 2004 – Gwen Gray looks in detail at how the Howard government has remodelled Medicare, endangering its most basic features, and how Labor has travelled part, but not all, of the way with the government. She spells out policies which would strengthen the fairest features of the system.

About the Author

Gwen Gray lectures in political science at the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts at the Australian National University, Canberra. Her recent publications include Undermining Medicare: steadily, relentlessly, effectively to be found at www.apo.org.au/webboard/items/00283.shtml.

About the Series

Briefings is a new series from UNSW Press that provides short, topical perspectives on key issues facing Australia. To order this title from UNSW Press, visit their website, or phone them on (02) 9664 0999.

 

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ARE YOU INTERESTED IN INFORMATION ABOUT SUPPORTIVE CARE SERVICES FOR WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER?

A comprehensive list of resources developed under the Strengthening Support for Women with Breast Cancer (SSWBC) program, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, has been collated by the National Breast Cancer Council and is now available at their website.

The resources cover a wide range of issues from workforce, to consumer-based information, to directories of services. A brief description of each resource and a locally-based contact person in each Sate and Territory who can be approached for copies of a resource is provided.

This information aims to assist health care professionals, service providers and consumer organisations to access resources that may help them in establishing similar programs or services in their local area.

For more information visit their home page at www.breasthealth.com.au or contact them via email.

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FIRST NATION-WIDE PRO-CHOICE PREGNANCY PHONE COUNSELLING SERVICE LAUNCHED

Children by Choice has recently launched the first nation-wide pro-choice unplanned pregnancy telephone counselling service.


The service is the first and only Australia wide, providing unbiased counselling and information on all unplanned pregnancy options – abortion, adoption and parenting. Children by Choice will also offer counselling to women who have experienced abortion.

“The recent media debate around the screening of the documentary My Foetus has motivated Children by Choice to expand the availability of our service to women throughout Australia,” Cait Calcutt, Coordinator of Children by Choice, said.

 “We urge all women with concerns about any issues raised in the film and the subsequent media coverage to call the Children by Choice counselling service. Our counsellors can also assist women who may be considering abortion and also provide  after abortion
 counselling ,” Ms Calcutt said.

Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja highlighted the lack of pro-choice counselling services in Australia in her speech to Parliament on Wednesday.

“ I understand there is only one dedicated pro-choice counselling service in Australia – Children by Choice, in Queensland – compared to many pro-life counselling services” Senator Stott Despoja said.

“I do not deny the right of these services to exist, but misleading representations and advertising are not appropriate,” Senator Stott Despoja said.

According to Ms Calcutt, Children by Choice regularly receives calls from distressed women who have received misleading and incorrect information from anti-choice pregnancy counselling services.

“Our service will 
 ensure that women experiencing unplanned pregnancy will receive accurate and unbiased information and support,” Ms Calcutt said.

Children by Choice has been provid
ing  counselling, information and education to services to Queensland women experiencing unplanned pregnancy since 1972.  Children by Choice has a reputation for providing high quality and independent pregnancy counselling services.

Children by Choice telephone counselling services are free and confidential. The counselling line will be open from Monday – Friday 9am –5pm EST and staffed by qualified psychologists and social workers.  To speak to a Children by Choice counsellor, women can call Toll Free 1800 177 725. For more information contact Cait Calcutt.
 


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NBCC COORDINATED CARE SURVEY COMPLETED

The National Breast Cancer Centre has completed a National Survey of Coordinated Care for Women with Breast Cancer assessing the perceptions of clinicians about how care for women with breast cancer is coordinated. The survey has identified areas where differences in care coordination currently exists and highlights issues for future strategy focus. A report outlining the findings has been submitted to the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Following approval from the Department of Health and Ageing, the report will be available on www.nbcc.org.au. For more information contact Alison Evans on (02) 9036 3050 or via email.

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PRIORITIES FOR WOMEN FOR NEXT FIVE YEARS ANNOUNCED

Health and wellbeing has been identified as a key component of the Queensland Government's five-year agenda for women and girls.

Women in the Smart State 2003-2008 Directions Statement identified health, balancing work, family and lifestyle, economic security, safety and women's involvement in leadership, decision-making and community building as key priorities.

This framework will guide program and service development and delivery over the coming years.

It's been launched along with a Services Directory, detailing programs and services currently available through Queensland Government agencies. For more details visit the www.qldwoman.qld.gov.au website.

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PRIVACY KIT FOR MENTAL HEALTH SECTOR

 The Mental Health Privacy Coalition (MHPC) today launched a Privacy Kit to guide mental health consumers, carers and providers through the detail of the Federal Privacy Act.
The MHPC comprises the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA), the Royal Australian and
New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA).
MHPC Chair, Dr Bill Pring, said the kit would make the Federal Privacy Act easier to understand for everyone concerned with mental health.
“It will allow practitioners to deal with highly sensitive clinical information without fear of breaching the Act or betraying the trust of their patients,”
Dr Pring said.

“Rather than the Act being misunderstood as a hindrance, we are suggesting ways it can be integrated into mental health practice, and maybe even enhance it.
“It is a user-friendly kit that offers practical solutions to even the most problematic privacy concerns surrounding mental health.
“Mental health and psychiatric information is some of the most sensitive information given by patients to health providers.
“When people consult with private psychiatrists, or if they need private psychiatric hospital admission, they believe their private communications will be kept strictly confidential.
“Appropriate handling of confidential mental health information has always been a high priority for private sector mental health providers. Our kit will protect the interests of patients and the providers of their mental health care.”
Dr Pring said the MHPC is indebted to the Federal Privacy Commissioner and his Officers for their help and advice in compiling the kit. The kit can be obtained online from the Mental Health website.
 

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MAKING WAVES: ATTENDING TO LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE

 

The first Australian publication written and produced for the lesbian community and professionals in the field of domestic violence, ‘Making Waves’ is a 120-page resource manual exploring issues relating to lesbians who experience relationship abuse. It contains articles on discrimination, feminist analysis and legal rights, and includes resources on relationship abuse suitable for the lesbian community and professional service providers.

 

‘Making Waves’ is intended to stimulate & inform discussion about lesbian relationship violence: discussions that can be carried into kitchens, bedrooms, coffee shops and workplaces. It is hoped ‘Making Waves’ will also encourage existing organizations to improve access to services for lesbians experiencing relationship violence.

 

It has been written and published as a result of LIPS consultations with lesbians and feminists in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. LIPS (Lesbians Initiating Positive Strategies) has been active in raising lesbian relationship violence issues on the NSW North Coast for the last 6 years.

 

Kassa Bird, having previously worked with DVIRC Inc. in Melbourne where she initiated the development of lesbian domestic violence resources, brought to the North Coast her commitment to continue raising awareness and developing resources for the lesbian community.

 

LIPS evolved from these initiatives, and now offers this groundbreaking resource manual to the Australian lesbian community and women’s services providers.

 

Wayward Concepts, a feminist small publisher, is proud to assist in making this resource available. For further information contact Wayward Concepts via email.

 

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WOMEN'S SAFETY AFTER SEPARATION PROJECT

The National Abuse Free Contact Campaign has developed the Women’s Safety After Separation Project with the ultimate aim of reducing the incidence, severity and duration of violence and abuse arising in the context of negotiating children’s matters after separation. Some of the projects aims are to: develop a network of organisations assisting women negotiating children’s matters after separation, develop resources to support individuals and organisations to assist these women, identify policy approaches to support women, publish a web-based resource for access by individuals and organisations supporting women and provide a continuing focal point for the support of individuals and organisations assisting women. For more information on the project, contact Project Coordinator Marie Hume on (08) 8226 2505 or via email at marie@ncsmc.org.au

 

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WORKPLACE BULLYING MANUAL

The Queensland Working Women’s Service (QWWS) has an updated manual for employers on workplace bullying. Titled “Risky Business: A Time for Action” the manual helps employers identify the risks in their workplace and develop preventative strategies, deliver effective responses to incidents and know their options & legal obligations. To order a copy of the manual phone QWWS on (07) 3211 1440 or email them at qwws@qwws.org.au

 

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VIDEO "SHREDDED" - A FILM ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

With Video Support Notes

Bruises are tangible. Emotional scars are less visible ­ and can be just as devastating. "Shredded" is a short drama about a deeply unhappy family. It explores the murky and uncertain lines between what is often labelled as normal couple conflict and what clearly becomes an unhealthy relationship of power and control which emotionally affects the whole family. "Shredded" is the result of women telling their stories ­ of their survival from the war zone of emotional abuse in a domestic violence relationship.
"Shredded" was made by women from Annie North Women's Refuge. Length 28 minutes. The making of "Shredded" was a community development project, with funding from the Victorian Women's Trust and the City of Greater Bendigo. The film aims to draw out issues around emotional abuse within a domestic violence relationship and how that affects the various members of the family. Video support notes are included. Cost per video $90 plus $9 GST ­ Total $99.00. For more information phone 0419 539 346, or via email.

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CAIRNS DEPRESSION SUPPORT GROUP

A support group is available for people in Cairns who experience Depression. It is a low stress and supportive environment that provides information about the regular meetings and activities available. All interested parties are welcome. The meetings are held at the Good Shepherd Anglican Church Hall, Collins Avenue, Cairns. For more information contact Christine Coop on (07) 4054 2699 or via email at enable_ot@bigpond.com

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10 TIPS FOR SAFER HEALTH CARE  -  BOOKLET

On the launching of a booklet produced by the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care aimed at assisting people to become more actively involved in their health care, Senator Kay Patterson, Minister for Health and Ageing says, “Improving safety is not just the business of doctors, nurses or other health professionals. Patients and their carers also have a part to play and this booklet gives them some very practical advice to ensure that they get the best possible health outcomes.” The booklet, entitled ‘10 Tips to Safer Health Care’, comes with a removable card that will fit into a wallet or purse so that patients and their carers can take it with them to medical appointments. Copies of the booklet can be obtained by phoning (02) 6289 4244. 

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QLD DEAF SOCIETY RESOURCE ROOM

The Qld Deaf Society (QDS) has established a new resource room at 473 Annerley Road, Annerley. The QDS Community Resource room has been established to provide computer access for internet use and email for Deaf community members as well as providing resources about Deafness, sign language and the Deaf community to enable the Hearing community to learn more through the provision of books, videos and articles.

There will be computer workshops over the coming two months, covering topics such as setting up an email account, surfing the internet, basic computer skills, internet banking and genealogy workshops.

For more information on the workshops and further details regarding the use of the Community Resource Room contact Rhyl Jones McCoy on 3892 8500 or email rhyl.jonesmccoy@qds.org.au

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  "To live in a culture (TV, adverts) in which women are routinely naked where men aren't is to learn inequality in little ways all day long." Naomi Wolf (1962-   ) US writer.
 

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