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Community-based women's health services

What is the rationale for providing community-based women's services? 

Clear disparities in health outcomes exist in Western Australia, with different groups experiencing wellbeing and illness in unequal ways. Women are one of those groups. While women are more likely to live longer than men, their higher prevalence and incidence of non-fatal health problems result in more years lived with ill health and disability. Despite living in a prosperous state and having access to a wide range of generalist and specialist health services, there are still many areas of social, economic and health inequities faced by women living in Western Australia. Gendered differences in population health status means there remains significant scope to improve the health of women in Western Australia.

The social construction of gender refers to how we live our biological sex as women and men according to prevailing norms, institutions, expectations and behaviours. In everyday life, throughout the life stages, the social construction of gender operates to position women and men differently and unequally in society. This gives rise to gender inequities – the uneven distribution of power, resources and opportunities between the genders – with women as the socially and historically disadvantaged group. Gender-based inequities give rise to poor health outcomes for women. Gender inequity has differential impacts on women, depending on the intersection of factors such as race, ethnicity, immigration and visa status, disability, rurality, socioeconomic circumstances, age and sexual identity. This difference results in an unequal distribution of power, privilege and access to resources between women, leading to relatively poorer health outcomes among those who experience intersectional disadvantage. Improving health outcomes for all women requires a focus on women with least access to health resources and who are most at risk for poor health.

Women’s health needs and issues differ from men’s, reflecting biological differences, but also socially-constructed gender roles, responsibilities, expectations and constraints; and exposure to risk factors and opportunities for good health. The inter-related nature of issues relating to women’s health, such as the relationship between: physical and mental health; violence against women and sexual and reproductive health; violence against women and women with disabilities; or the specific impact of violence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women due to social and economic disadvantage and racism, supports the need for a holistic approach to addressing inequities in women’s health.

Access to health services and the capacity to negotiate care, support and treatment needs can be complex for women living in adverse social circumstances and with mental ill health and violence. Low income, social exclusion, homelessness and carer responsibilities reduce the health care choices available to women, limit access to and understanding of information and services, and place additional strain on women’s ability to seek, manage and maintain good health and wellbeing.

Community based women’s health services, programs and projects are provided to enable women to connect with health and support services at both the crisis point and early intervention point on the service spectrum. Women may present in a range of differing ways from enquiring for counselling to address anxiety, stress or "relationship problems" through to seeking supports in crisis. Women's health services offer a less direct – or ‘soft’ – entry point for women experiencing mental illness, family, domestic and sexual violence or who have experienced sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse. Women's health services are recognised within their communities as specialised services providing support and intervention within a trauma informed care model.

Community based women’s health services are key stakeholders in collaborative, integrated community responses to public health issues such as family, domestic and sexual violence; sexual and reproductive health care and; physical and mental health promotion. These services are a critical component of ‘whole of government, whole of community’ sector service responses to complex and persistent health and social issues. Community based women’s health services straddle the health, human services and development sectors. Through partnerships with local government, community health, community organisations and peak bodies, as well as with the acute sectors in health, family violence, sexual assault, emergency relief and mental health, alliances and expertise can enable effective prevention and intervention approaches.

What are the guiding principles that underpin women's community health services?

The following principles underpin community based women’s health service provision:

  • Service provision supports the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of women, while recognising the social, environmental, economic, physical and cultural factors which affect women's capacity for good health and wellbeing.
  • Practice is holistic, integrated and organised around women’s needs and life circumstances. A holistic approach in responding to women will also pay attention to the interconnected social, economic and health factors that contribute to her safety, health and wellbeing.
  • Care is delivered in a timely, safe, non-judgemental, non-religious and non-stigmatising manner.
  • Women’s experiences and knowledge are valued so that participation is optimised.
  • All aspects of service provision is organised on the acknowledgement of the prevalence and dynamics of trauma and incorporates the principles of trauma informed care and practice; particularly as it is associated with family, domestic and sexual violence. 
  • Services are specialised for vulnerable women with high levels of accessibility, continuity of care, coordination of care and comprehensiveness of care.
  • Women are treated with dignity, in an environment which provides privacy, informed consent, confidentiality and safety.
  • Respect for the diversity of women is achieved through the provision of inclusive and culturally respectful services.
  • Access and equity is achieved through community/consumer engagement and participation. Fostering these collaborative relationships is an effective mechanism for services to better understand the needs of their clients. It also serves an important role in promoting service visibility.
  • Services are provided in a suitable environment, in relation to the needs of vulnerable women.
  • Evidence-based services are delivered in accordance with the State’s Delivering Community Services in Partnership (DCSP) Policy. Evidence based practice has built-in evaluation and continuous improvement activities with mechanisms for accountability which are measured and transparent.
  • Investment in staff training and development will ensure that services to women are provided by skilled personnel that promote multidisciplinary care and interdisciplinary collaboration that is gender and trauma informed.
  • Services provided are underpinned by the guiding principles of the social determinates of health and informed by national and state policies designed to improve women and girls’ health and well being.
  • Services work within the social model of health. The social model of health is based on the accepted premise that the health of individuals, families and communities is understood within the broader context in which people live. This model recognises the impact of social, environmental, economic, biological and gender factors on health outcomes, and that the social determinants of health are largely responsible for health inequities.

What programs or services do women's health organisations provide?

Women's community health services provide a range of physical, psychological and social wellbeing programs including group and individual counselling services, women’s wellness programs, pre, perinatal and maternal health programs, medical services, exercise and physical health programs, parenting programs, family violence support, etc.

Services are based on community need and may differ based on the location of the service, available funding capacity, and the needs of the local community.

Where are Women’s Health Services located in Western Australia?

Below is a list by region, of women’s community health services in WA. Please visit the specific website of the agency closest to you for more details on available services.  Many women’s community health services also often have outreach locations where they provide specific services that may be nearer to where you are located. 

Perth and surrounds:

(Click title links to directly access websites.)

Fremantle Women’s Health Centre

 

Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC) is a not-for-profit community health centre for women living and working in the south west metropolitan region. We provide a range of health promotion, prevention and treatment services in the area of women’s health and wellbeing by experienced, caring, female health professionals – doctors, nurses, counsellors and health educators.

A crèche is available for some appointments and groups.

Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Women’s health medical services
  • Continence management and advice
  • Perinatal mental health counselling
  • General counselling – mental health and relationship issues
  • Health promotion/education and wellbeing group program

If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at FWHC please visit the website: www.fwhc.org.au

Tel: (08) 9431 0500  Fax (08) 9430 7862
Email: enquiries@fwhc.org.au

Fremantle Women’s Health Centre is located at:

114 South Street
Fremantle, WA 6160
(Cnr of Edmund St)

Postal Address

PO Box 8014
Hilton, WA 6163

 

Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre (Mirrabooka) 

Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre encourages the health and wellbeing of women of all ages and from all cultural backgrounds.  It has a holistic philosophy grounded in the ‘Social Model of Health’ where the ‘medical’ condition of women seeking services is not separated from the real life interconnections of personal, social, economic, racial, age and gender relationships they experience.  Ishar’s service delivery is flexible and responsive to the needs of the participating women who are provided with information, referral, counselling, training and/or support. Since its beginning, the Centre has adopted a working style that focuses on the healing of lifestyle related problems and the promotion of independence for women, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) background.

Services are available in the following areas:

  • health services & programs
  • family support programs
  • carers support & skills development
  • settlement grants program
  • communities for children program (C4C)
  • OWLS – Older Women’s Lifestyle Program

If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at Ishar please visit the website: www.ishar.org.au

Tel: 08 9345 5335  Fax: 08 9349 9113
Email: info@ishar.org.au

Ishar is located at:

Kevin Smith Community Offices,
21 Sudbury Road,
Mirrabooka, WA 6061, Australia.
(Mirrabooka Library Building)  

 

Midland Women’s Health Care Place

The aim of Midland Women’s Health Care Place  (MWHCP) is to provide a diverse range of health services to women in a comfortable, caring and supportive environment. MWHCP provides services for women across the lifespan, recognising that individual women can be vulnerable at different times because of factors including social & economic disadvantage, disability, ethnicity and age. Each term MWHCP offers a variety of groups and courses at affordable prices designed specifically for local women. Emotional health, physical health, fun and friendship are on offer every day at MWHCP.

Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Advocacy, information & referrals
  • Counselling services
  • Women's Health Program (WHP)
  • EMBRACE Mum's & Bub's Wellbeing Program
  • Community outreach
  • Free creche
  • Free Pap smear clinic
  • Groups & courses 

If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at MWHCP please visit the website: www.mwhcp.org.au

Tel: 08 9250 2221  Fax: 08 9250 2268
Email: info@mwhcp.org.au

Midland Women’s Health Care Place is located at:

4 The Avenue 
Midland 6056

 

South Coastal Women’s Health Services (Rockingham)

South Coastal Women’s Health Services provide women and their families with opportunities to lead mentally and physically healthy lives through a range of services. These services include;

  • Clinical and Sexual Health Services
  • Counselling
  • Visiting services such as sexual assault counselling and Cancer Council
  • Library and Information Services
  • Women’s Groups
  • Creche Services for clients attending appointments
  • Aboriginal Primary Health Care Program.

Contact

LifeLinks Community Centre

4 Civic Boulevard

Rockingham, WA, 6168

P: (08) 9550 0900

F: (08) 9592 5635

 

Women’s Health & Family Services (Northbridge)

Women’s Health & Family Services staff specialise in women's health issues, providing medical, counselling, drug and alcohol support, domestic violence, mental health and other health services for women and their families.

The programs and services at Women’s Health and Family Services are open to all West Australian women and their families, with consideration made for the unique needs of Aboriginal, migrant and refugee families. Crèche facilities and interpreting services are available.

 Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Medical & health
  • Alcohol & other drugs
  • Family & domestic violence
  • Community development
  • Aboriginal family support
  • Rural in reach program

For more information on the services and programs at Womens Health and Family Services, go to:  www.whfs.org.au

Tel: (08) 6330 5400  Fax: (08) 6330 5499

Toll-Free: 1800 998 399 (Outside Perth Metro Area) 

*TTY: See below for more details

Email:info@whfs.org.au

Women’s Health & Family Services is located at:

227 Newcastle Street,

Northbridge,  6003.

 

Women's Health Works (Joondalup)

 (Formerly joined with Women's Health and Family Services)

Women's Healthworks in Joondalup offer a variety of unique programs and services, including:

  • Medical services
  • Counselling services
  • Complimentary health services
  • Eating Disorders - Body Esteem program
  • Postnatal Depression - Making Sense of Motherhood program
  • Drug and Alcohol - The village program
  • Walking groups - Stepping out program
  • Social Activities, such as the choir and craft groups.

If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at the Joondalup office, please visit the Women's Healthworks website

Tel: (08) 9300 1566

Email: infojoondalup@whfs.org.au

Women’s Healthworks is located at:

Suite 6 Joondalup Lotteries House
70 Davidson Terrace Joondalup WA 6027

 * Contact details for clients who are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment:

If you are deaf, or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, and would like to contact us by phone, please call us using the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for WHFS phone number, 6330 5400.
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for WHFS phone number, 6330 5400.
  • Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for WHFS phone number, 6330 5400.
  • Video relay users choose the available NRS video relay contact on Skype and ask for WHFS phone number, 6330 5400.
  • SMS relay users phone 0423 677 767 and ask for WHFS phone number, 6330 54000

 

Women's Health and Wellbeing Services (Gosnells)

Women's Health and Wellbeing Services (WHWS) is an organisation supporting all women and their families within the South East Metro Area of Perth, Western Australia.  WHWS promotes the overall wellbeing, self esteem, independence, self responsibility and health awareness of women in the community.  WHWS offer a range of different services including perinatal mental health programs, counselling, bulk billed female GP, health awareness programs, information sessions, parenting skills, groups and events.  They also provide Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Programs, Multicultural Women's Advocacy Services and a Sexual Assault Resource Centre. Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Perinatal mental health
  • Therapeutic services
  • Family & relationship services
  • Youth & young women’s services
  • Multicultural services
  • Information & education services
  • ATSI services
  • Women’s lifestyle services
  • Physical activity & nutrition

 If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at WHWS please visit the website: www.whws.org.au

Tel: (08) 9490 2258  Fax: (08) 9490 1365

Email: info@whws.org.au

Women’s Health & Wellbeing Services are located at:

Gosnells Community Lotteries House
Sutie 7, Level 1, 2232c Albany Highway, Gosnells.

 Postal address:

PO Box 422, Gosnells,WA, 6990

 

Regional Western Australia

(Click title links to directly access websites.)

Desert Blue Connect (Geraldton)

Women's Health Services at Desert Blue Connect provides a holistic health service for women in the Geraldton and Midwest region.  The aim of the service is to respond to the needs of women by providing confidential health and wellbeing services. Women's Health Services at Desert Blue Connect provides women with information, access and support to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Counselling programs
  • Unplanned pregnancy counselling
  • Well women’s program
  • Women’s health information and referral
  • Support and self-help groups
  • Complementary health
  • Health promotion and education
  • Programs and events
  • Mum’s matter’ perinatal mental health therapeutic support group

Contact Information

T 08 9964 2742 F 08 9964 1838

info@desertblueconnect.org.au

25 Chapman Road, Geraldton WA 6531 PO Box 472 Geraldton WA 6531 Chrysalis House Women’s Refuge 08 9964 2173 Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 016 789

 

Goldfield's Women's Health Care Centre (Kalgoorlie)

The Goldfield's Women's Health Care Centre provides clinical services, health information and referral for women in the Kalgoorlie Goldfields region of Western Australia. Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Education and information
  • Pregnancy and post natal
  • Exercise classes
  • Unplanned pregnancy counselling
  • Well women’s clinic

 If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at SCWHS please visit the website: www.gwhcc.org.au

Tel: 08 9021 8266  Fax: 08 9091 1916

Email: coordinator@gwhcc.org.au

Goldfield’s Women’s Health Care Centre is located at:

15 Dugan Street, Kalgoorlie, WA 6430

Postal address:
PO Box 370, Kalgoorlie WA 6430

 

Hedland Well Women's Centre

 

Hedland Well Women’s Centre enhances the health and wellbeing of all women in the Pilbara, and provides a welcoming, safe, supportive and stimulating environment for all women. Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Women’s Health checkups, pregnancy testing, pap smears
  • Counseling for women and couples
  • Adjusting to Babyhood club—for all new mums
  • Health Education and advice on health and wellbeing
  • Self-development courses
  • Regular events to meet and get to know other Hedland women.
  • Coffee & A Chat—drop in service
  • Home away from Home program
  • Needle and Syringe program, and info to keep you safe around injecting drugs
  • Morning Teas
  • Make Hedland Home BBQs

 If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at Hedland Well Women’s Centre please visit the website: www.wellwomens.com.au

Tel: (08) 9140 1124

Hedland Well Women’s Centre is located at:
2B Leake Street, (behind the South Hedland Libary and opposite Aquatic Centre)
South Hedland, WA 6722

Postal Address:
PO Box 2072
South Hedland, WA 6722

 

Nintirri Women’s Health Services (Tom Price)

 

Women’s health services at the Nintirri Centre aim to support the physical, mental and emotional health of women in Tom Price communities. Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • A registered health nurse is available for appointments in a relaxed and informal setting. Services offered include breastfeeding support, family planning and reproductive health, miscarriage and infertility support, pregnancy testing, pap smears, well-being checkups (including blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol monitoring), STI testing, information and counselling, information and referrals.
  • Antenatal and postnatal information packs.
  • Health promotion activities.
  • Rural in Reach which provides access via video - conferencing to health services that would otherwise not be available in the community.
  • Nintirri also offers a number of exercise classes.

If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at Women’s Health Resource Centre please visit the website: www.nintirri.org.au

The Nintirri Centre is located at:

Central Road, Tom Price WA 6751

Postal Address:

PO Box 76, Tom Price WA 6751

 

South West Women’s Health & Information Centre (Bunbury)

 

South West Women’s Health provides accurate and up to date health information to women, of all ages and ethnic backgrounds living in the South West, that will assist women to make informed choices and be empowered about their own health and those for whom they care. Services and programs are available in the following areas:

  • Counselling
  • Unplanned Pregnancy Counselling
  •  Life Coaching
  • Wellbeing Coaching
  • Pap Smear and STI clinic
  • Health Education
  • Workshops.

If you would like to find out more about the programs and services available at SWWHIC please visit the website: www.swwhic.com.au

Freecall: 1800 673 350

Email: admin@swwhic.com.au 

South West Women's Health is located at::

19 Fielder Street, Bunbury.

Postal address:

PO Box 6049

Bunbury  WA 6230 

 

What are some other important community-based services for women to have access to?