S71: Women’s Healthy Relationships Program

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By September 18, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Jasmine Phillips, Chantal Paton, Nicole Opoft

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Women's Healthy Relationships Program

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Jasmine Phillips is a Djugan Yawuru woman from Broome. She has worked for Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service for the past six years running groups and programs from the Broome Community Recovery Centre in partnership with non-government organisations. Jasmine facilitates a wome n’s group and the Women’s Healthy Relationship Group.

Chantal Paton has Diplomas in both Community Services and Children’s Services, an Associate Degree in Arts, Business and Science, and has almost completed a social work degree. She consulted local Yawuru women accessing Broome Youth and Families Hub in the initial stages of developing the Women’s Healthy Relationship Group.

Nicole Opoft, a single parent, joined the Women’s Healthy Relationship program because she felt at her lowest suffering chronic depression and PTSD. After completing two programs she is now a mentor. Nicole is completing a Diploma of Community Service and is a West Kimberley Family and Domestic Violence Partnership member.

The Women’s Healthy Relationship Group is a collaboration between Broome Youth and Families Hub and the Kimberley Mental Health Drug Services team. This program addresses Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) and the impacts of FDV on mental health, parenting, power and control.

This program was developed over two years in consultation with Yawuru women, who assisted with the planning process and the program implementation. The program is delivered over eight weeks, engaging up to 10 women per cycle.

Service delivery combines use of local language, art to express individual strengths, along with providing a safe environment that offers women the courage to share their lived experience. This process supports empowerment within the group. Peer support is a major component of this program.

Participants develop skills in identifying risks and safety planning and they also gain an understanding of the impact of trauma on the individual and the family group as a whole. The success of this program is confirmed through program evaluations and recognition in the local community. Community response to the program has shown an increase in self- referrals, and family/friend referrals. Partnerships have been strengthened with the Western Australian Police Force and other non-government organisations.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: The audience will learn about collaboration between Yawuru women to establish Women’s Healthy Relationship Group, and the different learning approaches implemented in the program.
Learning Objective 2: This trauma informed program contributes to building a healthy community by deepening participant’s understanding of mental health, communication and empowerment at a personal and family level.

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