Sexual & Reproductive Health


WHWBSW are committed to ensuring all women in the BSW region experience good sexual and reproductive health, being a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system. Women deserve to have a satisfying and safe sex life and the capability to reproduce if, when and how often they decide to. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, including experiencing pleasurable and safe sex that is free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

Women residing in regional and rural communities experience inferior access to sexual and reproductive health services then women who live in metro communities. Women in the Barwon South West region face multiple barriers, lack of knowledge and access to services. Barriers that women face include:

  • Availability – access to services locally, including opening times and access in a timely manner.

  • Travel- distance to services and lack of transport e.g. public transport or suitable arrangements.

  • Cost – high costs of services and associated prescriptions(i.e. contraception). Although an issue worldwide, it is amplified for women who need to consider associated costs such as travel and time required to travel.

  • Privacy – individuals feel their needs and choices may be observed and judged, particularly in small communities where people know each other.

  • Information – lack of information and up to date information for both women and medical professionals. Particularly relevant to modern termination services/information and sex education.

  • Professional attitudes and skills – providers may not offer full services for all clients based on their personal skills or attitudes.

  • Community and client attitudes – stigma surrounding those who access services, particularly in communities where people know each other

Lack of service availability can have a negative consequence to women’s sexual and reproductive health. This is amplified for women residing in rural areas, who must travel great distances to access health services.

WHWBSW are committed to fulfilling the Victorian Government’s Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Key Priorities 2017-2021, that are aligned with identified gaps and barriers women face in the BSW region. Our current and future projects aim to bridge these gaps identified, such as:

  • Knowledge and accessibility to available services

  • Knowledge and access to reproductive choices

  • Knowledge and awareness of sexually transmissible infections