About the Hunter Women’s Centre


Mission

To achieve our vision we will:

  • Provide client centered, strength based, trauma informed service for women

  • Ensure a timely and appropriate referral service for women and their families

  • Provide education and social support for women

  • Embrace health based, holistic and alternative therapies as options to achieve positive outcomes for women

Our Goals

To promote, improve and maintain the health and wellbeing of women within a social and gendered model of health by:

  • Addressing priority health issues within a gender based philosophy

  • Ensuring services provided are in line with industry and best practice standards and principles

  • The provision of accessible services to the priority target groups

  • Working in collaboration and partnership with external services

Priority Health Matters

  • Domestic and family violence and abuse

  • Emotional issues including self-esteem, depression, anxiety and stress

  • Relationship issues, including the promotion of healthy and supportive relationships

  • Lifestyle risk factors for women, including alcohol and other drugs, smoking and physical health

  • Preventative health strategies

Priority Target Groups

All women are welcome however, the centre’s priority groups are:

  • Women experiencing, or at risk of family violence or domestic violence or abuse

  • Disadvantaged and marginalised women including culturally diverse, English as their second language and indigenous women

  • Socially and geographically isolated women


Our Team

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Our highly dedicated team at the Hunter Women’s Centre is made up of 4 Counsellors, an Intake and Support Office and Administration Officers. HWC is lead by a Service Manager who supports the team through day to day tasks.

Hunter Women’s Centre is governed by the Hunter Region Working Women’s Group board of directors. More information on the Hunter Region Working Women’s Group Board and its history can be found in the HRWWG tab.

 
 

Our History

International Women's Year, 1975 saw the commencement of the Working Women’s Centre (now the Hunter Women's Centre) when the Federal Government pledged funds for projects specifically focused on women. The Centre was established to be multi-purpose, concerned with women’s health, welfare, education, work, recreation and legal issues. There was also a focus to support migrant women through language services, and working women through childcare services. The Centre organised community welfare programs, discussion groups, self help programs and established a library of feminist literature.

Over Forty years later, the Hunter Women’s Centre continues to provide many key services to women across the Hunter. While the feminist movement has achieved much to progress the wellbeing of women, gender biase continues across the community impacting on women's health. Services at the Hunter Women's Centre acknowledge and address the role of gender in women's health and as such take a holistic approach in our work with women.

 
 

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The following principles are expressed in the Australian National Women’s Health Policy (1989) and the Manual of Standards for Women’s Health Centres (1995). They are articulated in NSW Health Strategic Framework to Advance the Health of Women (2000)

Community based feminist women’s health services are based on principles of social justice and an understanding of a gendered approach to health or health within a social context, as endorsed by governments throughout Australia.The principles are embedded in Women’s Health Centres constitutional aims and objectives and reflected in service policy and operational objectives. They are incorporated in the manual of Standards for Women’s Health Centre forming the benchmark criteria Women’s Health Centres must demonstrate to achieve accreditation through external independent review.

The principles recognise that:

  • health is determined by a broad range of social, environmental, economical and biological factors

  • differences in health status and health objectives are linked to gender, age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, disability, location and environment, racism, sex-role stereotyping, gender inequality and discrimination, ageism, sexuality and sexual preferences

  • health promotion, disease prevention, equity of access to appropriate and affordable services and strengthening the primary health care system are necessary, along with high quality illness treatment services

  • information, consultation, advocacy, and community development are important elements of the health process

In accordance with these principles, Hunter Women's Centre provides a service that:

  • Encompasses all of women's life spans, and reflects women's various roles in Australia society, not just their reproductive role.

  • Promotes the participation of women in debate and decision making about health issues, their own health care, health service policy, planning, delivery and evaluation.

  • Recognises women's rights as health care consumers, to be treated with dignity, in an environment which provides for privacy, informed consent, confidentiality and safety.

  • Acknowledges that informed decisions about health and health care require accessible information, which is appropriately targeted for different socio-economic, educational and cultural groups.

  • Uses existing data, research and policy concerning women's health, as well as incorporating women's views about their own health and the best strategies to address their health needs, in service planning and development.

  • Provides appropriate women's health care to women in local communities, within a state-wide, coordinated approach.

  • Ensures equity and accessibility of services without financial, cultural, geographic and/or other barriers.

  • Ensures effective community management and operation of women's health centres by women, for women.

  • Provides a broad range of services and strategies within a preventative and holistic framework, which:

    • Is provided by women, for women

    • Values women's own knowledge and experience

    • Facilitates the sharing of women's skills, knowledge and experience

    • Links women's individual experience and health needs to the social and cultural context of women's lives

    • Empowers women

    • Challenges sex-role stereotyping, gender discrimination, racism and homophobia which affect health

    • Increase the accessibility, sensitivity and acceptability of health services for women

    • Relates to identified health priorities at the local and state level.

Principles of Women's Health Care: Profiling NSW Statewide Service Provision (2009-2010) www.whnsw.asn.au (22/12/14)