The Benevolent Society run the Centre for Women’s, Children’s and Family Health in Campbelltown, NSW. Established in 1994, the centre provides services related to women’s health & wellbeing across their life span, counselling and domestic and family violence support. The team there are committed to supporting women and their children who are experiencing or have experienced complex trauma and life-stage transitions.
To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, our team there tell us about how they are supporting women, what people can do to “Break the Bias” and how everyone can contribute to a world without gender discrimination.
A safe space for women in Campbelltown
The Centre for Women’s, Children’s and Family Health serves a community need in Campbelltown, as domestic assault rates for this suburb exceed that of NSW in general.
Centre Manager, Roweena, adds: “According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, approximately one-in-four women in Australia have experienced violence by their intimate partner. It also contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged 15 – 44 years than any other preventable risk factor.”
“These statistics are shocking, and behind every statistic there is a person with a story. As a nation, we should be appalled by this.”
“Our centre is a female only space as it is integral for women to be able to access services around sexual and reproductive health and to recover from complex trauma in a safe and therapeutic environment.”
“Many of the services and systems that victim survivors interact with such as family court can often re-traumatise them, as these systems fail to provide adequate physical and emotionally safe environments for the women and children who are accessing them,” she continues.
The Benevolent Society team in Campbelltown is committed to providing a positive client experience from the outset, primarily by ensuring women’s experiences are always acknowledged and validated.
The Centre for Women’s, Children’s and Family Health provides a wide range of services to women, including:
- Intake and crisis support
- Staying Home, Leaving Violence program
- Women’s Health Groups
- Women’s Counselling
- Child, Adolescent and Family Counselling
- Foundations for Young Parents
For women who do seek help and where the centre does not have the right service, the team refers clients to a more appropriate organisation. The team sees this as a critical element of their role, as seeking help is courageous and demonstrates the incredible strength of victim survivors.
Breaking bias within the community
By walking alongside women at every stage of their recovery journey and supporting them with the tools and knowledge to empower themselves, the centre contributes to a world without gender bias. Additionally, the Campbelltown team works within the local community to promote awareness about gender bias and inequality including:
- Working with future medical practitioners at Western Sydney University to support them to understand social contexts of health and the immediate and long-term effects of domestic and family violence
- Hosting Gender Perspective workshops to medical students at Western Sydney University that covers gendered experiences within the healthcare system to reduce practitioner bias
- Delivering healthy relationship seminars with high school students to equip young people with the tools to have healthy relationships and to recognise when to get help throughout their lives
- Systemic advocacy for women and children including court support, facilitating legal outreach, coaching school educators to recognise and respond to the effects of trauma in children & young people and working within the housing system to ensure women are not punished by the choices of their perpetrators
Through taking a multi-pronged proactive approach within the community, our centre has supported both women in need as well as educated future generations to better act against gender bias and inequality.
However, more must be done to create a just society.
“Everyone has a responsibility to break the bias,” says Roweena. “We all need to stand-up and take action. We all have the power to call out biases in the workplace, school or the community through everyday acts, both big and small.”
Show your support this International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a globally recognised day that celebrates the achievements of women and champions women’s equality in all walks of life. First established in 1911, the day inspires an international collective against gender bias.
Help level the playing field in your community, workplace or other institution by calling out bias, smashing stereotypes and rejecting inequality. You can strike the IWD 2022 pose of crossing your arms to show your solidarity and share it on social media using the hashtag #BreakTheBias.
To find out more about the International Day of Women and how you can help #BreakTheBias please click here.
This article was made possible thanks to the contribution from the team at the Centre of Women’s Health including Roweena, Bernadette, Kelly and Michelle.
To read about the Centre for Women’s Health click here or call our support centre at 1800 236 762.