2023 marks a significant year in the 30 plus years history of WHISE. Through the words of this Annual Report, we hope that you start to see the impact the 2022 Victorian Budget’s additional investment in our services is having. 

In the 2022 Budget WHISE, alongside its peer Women’s Health Services, received a two-year funding boost. This extra financial support has empowered WHISE to achieve the following: 

  • Expansion into Mental Health and Wellbeing: We broadened our scope to encompass mental health and wellbeing services. 
  • Addressing Gender Inequity Caused by Climate Change: We embarked on initiatives aimed at rectifying gender inequity exacerbated by climate change. 
  • Enhanced Engagement in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Our commitment to Sexual and Reproductive Health deepened, fostering wider community impact. 
  • Intensified Efforts to Prevent Violence Against Women: Our endeavours to combat violence against women gained traction through expanded programs. 
  • Promotion of Gender Equality: We redoubled our efforts to foster gender equality across our initiatives. 

Furthermore, we established a dedicated team comprised of individuals with lived experience in the community. This team collaborates with women throughout our region, with a particular focus on the experiences of migrants and refugees. Together, they provide support and services in partnership with various organizations and community groups, catering to women grappling with multiple intersecting forms of discrimination and disadvantage. 

This substantial funding boost necessitated substantial organisational adjustments, which have been achieved whilst not impacting on service delivery. 

Additionally, the increase in funding ushered in a more robust set of guidelines and, notably, a unified indicator framework. This shift in guidelines and the accompanying impact framework served in uniting two branches of the Victorian Government: the Department of Health and the Department of Fairness, Families, and Housing. In partnership with the Women’s Health Sector, a stronger more aligned policy for women’s health services, along with a set of indicators to measure our value, was developed. This reform has fostered significant collaboration among government stakeholders and the sector, resulting in deepened understanding between the women’s health sector and our major funders and the role of the women’s health sectors in Victoria’s public health system. 

The past year has been transformative for WHISE and our counterparts across Victoria. This transformation is not only evident in the accomplishments detailed in this report but, - we hope - will also shape future reports. 

Our work continues, dedicated to ensuring the preservation of these additional resources for women across Victoria and the women’s health sector. We trust that within this report, you will discern how this investment translates into tangible value and impact within our region. 

In conclusion, we extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all those who contribute to the realisation of our shared vision. Our members, partners, staff, and Directors are integral to our mission. We recognize that our vision of a future where all women are safe, healthy, and thriving is only attainable through collaborative effort. 

Special thanks are due to the WHISE Board, whose governance and oversight provide the bedrock of support for our staff, plans, and endeavours. Our profound appreciation also extends to the exceptional WHISE team, whose unwavering commitment, energy, professionalism, and lived experiences are the driving force behind our work. 

On behalf of the WHISE Board and our dedicated staff, we present this report to you for your consideration and reflection. 

Yours sincerely,
Kerry Bradley, Chair
Kit McMahon, CEO