peer educatorsWEEO WISER Project

In 2000 Liverpool Women’s Health Centre decided to find ways of working more with young women. The Centre had looked at which women used the Centre and why and found that one important gap was young women. In particular the Centre was keen to work to prevent relationship violence and abuse. Research tells us that domestic and sexual violence is unfortunately a huge social problem; the overwhelming majority of victims are women and the perpetrators are male. It is young women who are most at risk.

The Centre successfully applied to the Western Sydney Area Assistance Scheme for the funding of a peer education program targeting young women in relation to healthy relationships and violence. We consulted widely with other workers and services in the area to develop the proposal and based it on other successful peer education models, such as the Bilingual Community Educators Program run through Area Health Services. The peer education project received 3 year funding and commenced in November, 2004.

The workshops are facilitated by a pair of peer educators who have undergone thorough training & assessment in preparation to run the program. The peer educators are paid casual employees of the Centre who are supervised and supported by experienced workers in the field.

The program aims to equip young women with knowledge, skills and attitudes to reject violent, abusive relationships and to expect healthy, safe, equal relationships. It is a prevention and early intervention initiative which sets out to get information and skills to young women at the critical time when many are forming intimate relationships. The workshop program is open to all girls in Year 9 in high schools in the Liverpool LGA: it is not a therapeutic group targeting young women who are experiencing violence in relationships or at risk. Ten to fifteen young women from Year 9 participate in each workshop program.

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