Our story

celebrating the launch of BreaCan

Counterpart is a woman-centred service in every way, just as we have been from our beginnings in 2003.

How we began

Counterpart (then known as BreaCan) began as the idea of a group of women who had experienced breast cancer. They wanted to support other women as they went through similar experiences.

These women envisioned the service they would have wanted for themselves: a place for women to connect with other women and access reliable information about living with cancer.

Women’s Health Victoria (WHV), successfully tendered to provide the service in 2002. Women’s Health Victoria’s vision: Women living well – healthy, empowered, equal guides the work of Counterpart. Read the Women's Health Victoria Strategic Plan 2018–2023 on the WHV website.

The Hon. Bronwyn Pike, Minister for Health, launched our service in 2003. A motivated group of women began training as Peer Support Volunteers. They were supported by a small staff team of experienced, creative and resourceful women.

How we have grown

From the beginning, we have listened to the needs of our service users and provided services such as exercise programs and information and creative sessions. In later years, following feedback from women using our services, we have introduced a centralised place to find information: the Counterpart Navigator app, reflexology appointments, visits to women in hospitals and online webinars and workshops.

In 2007 we extended our support to women with gynaecological cancers, including cervical, ovarian, uterine (including endometrial), placental, vaginal and vulval cancers. From 1 July 2022, we support all women affected by cancer, no matter what type.

BreaCan becomes Counterpart

In 2017 we changed our name to reflect our support of women with different types of cancer.

Our new name, Counterpart, was chosen after a long period of  consultation with service users, staff and supporters.  It celebrates the essence of our service: the special connection between the women who use our service and our volunteers. Counterpart, which can mean peer, reflects the trust, warmth, care and positive energy created when women connect and support each other.

We continue to respond to the needs of women with cancer, to provide the support they want to live well after their diagnosis.

Women's Health Victoria
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Registered Charity logo

Counterpart is a service of Women’s Health Victoria.

We are supported by the Victorian Government, and gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our supporters.

Find out more

20 years of supporting women with cancer

Volunteering at Counterpart

What we do

What is peer support?