Central Victoria

Summaries of meetings held are listed below, by year. The dates for 2019 meetings will be released shortly.

For more information or to discuss possible topics or presenters please contact CERSH:


2018 Network Meetings

Thursday 18 October 2018

Topic: STI/BBVs and Contraception Choices – 2018 Update

Meeting Debrief: The network meeting in Bendigo was attended by a range of health, education and social service professionals. Associate Professor Jane Tomnay, Director of CERSH, provided an update on STIs/BBVs notifications and feedback from the IUSTI conference in Dublin. It was followed by a session by Catherine Hannon from the Royal Women’s Hospital on contraception take-up and talking to young people about their options, including case studies for problem solving and discussion.

Local speakers from the Bendigo region included Mary-Anne McCluskey from Bendigo Community Health Services who shared a rural nurse practitioner’s experience on STIs and contraception choices and LARCs, and Cait Lewis from Women’s Health Loddon Mallee who provided an update on the Loddon Mallee Sexual & Reproductive Health Strategy.

A chance to network at lunch time, followed up by news from local organisations and CERSH, and a presentation by Family Planning Victoria about free-of-cost training opportunities available to the rural and regional workforce rounded out the day.

For participants, this meeting provided a great insight into the role each organisation plays and how they can support each other in improving access to and developing STIs, BBVs and contraception choices services.

There were 23 attendees from a diverse range of organisations, including Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, Bendigo Community Health Services, Youth Affairs Council Victoria, Ballarat Community Health, DET, Cobaw Community Health, The Women’s, Family Planning Victoria, Mallee Family Care, DHHS, Thorne Harbour Health, and Bendigo Health.


2017 Network Meetings

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Topic: Supporting LGBTI Young People: Skills For Building Inclusive Services

Meeting Debrief: At the October Central Vic Sexual Health Network Jamie Jones from ARCHS and Coordinator of the Rainbow network facilitated a session on the theme of understanding identity, barriers and needs of LGBTI young people in Victoria, and implications for workers in their day-to-day interactions.

Jocelyn Verry, Counsellor, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, outlined the ‘how to’ when responding to first disclosures and supporting LGBTI young people in relation to sexual health.

Following the morning presentations Ashlyn McDonald, Shannon Appleby and Isabella Somerville from La Trobe University participated on a panel discussion and shared personal experiences about seeking services in the region.  The panellists provided useful insights to inform health professionals working from local health services to assist in their delivery of inclusive services.

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Topic: Working with Young People, 16 and Under

Meeting Debrief: The Network Meeting in Bendigo was well attended by a range of health, education, and social service professionals. Dr Siobhan Bourke facilitated a workshop style presentation where she proposed a series of scenarios for participants to work through and discuss. Dr Siobhan Bourke provided strategies for being able to act practically, ethically and lawfully whilst understanding and respecting a young persons’ right to confidentiality.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion populated by experts in the field – SOCIT, Department of Health and Human Services – Child Protection, Department of Education and Training, Loddon Campaspe CASA, Bendigo Community Health Services, and Headspace. Three scenarios explored the “shades of grey” that exist when dealing with young people at the cusp of legal rights and restrictions in their sexual lives and how service providers navigate the rights and responsibilities of all those concerned. For participants, it provided an excellent insight into the role each organisation plays and how they rely and support each other in protecting the interests and lives of young people.

A chance to network at lunch time, followed up by service updates from VAC-country, BCHS, CERSH and the sharing of other news from services rounded out the day.

2016 Network Meetings

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Topic: Multicultural Populations: A practical look at the provision of inclusive services

Guest Presenters: Louise Holland, Bendigo Community Health Services & Harry McAnulty, Victorian AIDS Council; Kylie Stephens, CERSH; Noemi Cummings, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services; Kaye Graves, Senior Manager Prevention and Population Health; Peter Strange, Nurse Practitioner (Men’s Health), Bendigo Community Health Services; Caitlin Lewis, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee; Dr Amita Tuteja, University of Melbourne; Dr Marietta Taylor, Senior Dentist, Community Dental Service, Bendigo Health

Summary: Discussed the current context for local services for the provision of inclusive practices in multicultural setting. Explored practical approaches, best practice and resources to providing culturally sensitive sexual health services to migrant and refugee populations.

Thursday 8 September 2016

Topic: Contemporary sexuality education in a range of settings: a practical workshop

Guest Presenters: Jenny Walsh, author of national resources, The Practical Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships for years 7-10 and Catching on Early for years 1-6.

Summary: Jenny facilitated a practical workshop that supports contemporary sexuality education in a range of settings and adaptation for one-to-one clinical settings. Attendees also heard an update from the Loddon Mallee HIV/BBV program advisory group and a CERSH presentation on the #YOLOLiveWell campaign. There was also great discussion and information sharing amongst local workers and time spent addressing local challenges and initiatives.

Resources: More about Jenny and her work – www.justjennywalsh.com – Jenny has also provided the following links to key resources:

Primary education

Catching on early: sexuality education for Victorian primary schools


Building Resilience Social and Emotional Learning Materials

Secondary Education

The Practical Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships for Years 7-10

Indigenous research and resources

Aboriginal specific teaching resources.

Smart and deadly: sexual health promotion for Aboriginal young people: a resource for rural health workers to support culturally inclusive practice [DVD] (2012)


The GOANNA study

Implementing sexuality education (or ‘how to get it happening in schools”)

Catching on Everywhere: Sexuality Education Program Development for Victorian Schools.

Parent resources

Raising Children Network

Talk Soon Talk Often – A guide for parents talking to their kids about sex  (PDF).

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Topic: The Local Picture: HIV and Hepatitis C updates and local health care pathways

Guest Presenters: The Victorian AIDS Council, Hepatitis Victoria, Bendigo Community Health Services, Living Positive Victoria and Positive Women.

Summary:  This meeting provided an overview of HIV and Hepatitis C prevention, transmission and updates on new treatments. The meeting also included an overview of the Loddon Mallee BBV STI program. As always the meeting provided an opportunity to link in with relevant state-wide services, discuss referral pathways, and network with other local service providers.