ISSUE 15: MARCH 2014
The Violence Against Women with Disabilities Newsletter is a quarterly publication highlighting projects, resources and research responding to violence against women with disabilities.
For more information or to contribute, please contact Jen Hargrave, Policy Officer – Violence Against Women with Disabilities, at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this Issue:
Social inclusion for people with disabilities: WDV's submission to the Victorian Inquiry
To plan for future policy and funding decisions, the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee ran an inquiry asking what is social inclusion, and how can it be supported. Submissions were invited to address economic, social and civil inclusion.
Women with Disabilities Victoria made a written submission to the inquiry highlighting gendered barriers to social inclusion, violence against women as a major cause of social exclusion, and initiatives which are tailored to improve inclusion. We were invited to speak to our submission during the public hearing held on the 6th of March 2014.
To form our submission we ran a members' consultation forum and an online survey, receiving input from 42 women with disabilities. Thank you to all those who shared their experiences and ideas about social inclusion for women with disabilities.
“[Increasing social inclusion] is the responsibility if all sectors of the public and private sector. From public transport, to health, to media, to justice, all must play their part."
Women with Disabilities Victoria member
In addition, the submission is informed by secondary research, key principles and our projects and programs, such as the Voices Against Violence Research Project, the Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program and the Your Say, Your Rights Research Project.
We will update you about the outcome of the submission as it progresses.
The WDV submission can be downloaded here: WDV Submission to the Inquiry into Social Inclusion and Victorian with a Disability.
Information on the inquiry is available via the Parliamentary Committees website.
Victorian Parliamentary Family and Community Development Committee's Social Inclusion Inquiry Hearing with representatives from Women with Disabilities Victoria
Inequality in the criminal justice system: Australian Human Rights Commission report
The Australian Human Rights Commission's inquiry into the treatment of people with disabilities in the criminal justice system was released and distributed to Attorneys General in February. The Commission found that equality before the law is a wide-spread problem for people with disabilities, and in some cases, the injustice experienced has been severe.
The report, Equal before the law: Towards disability justice strategies, is the culmination of extensive consultations held last year with victims, perpetrators, witnesses, disability advocates, policy makers and criminal justice workers. Women with Disabilities Victoria took part in consultations and made a submission to the Inquiry.
Commissioner Innes is calling on all states and territories, as well as the Commonwealth, to introduce an holistic, over-arching disability justice strategy.
"The case for change is strong. Not only should Australians with disabilities - whether victims of crime, offenders, or participants in the criminal justice system - experience equal treatment before the law. But considerable economic savings can be made by preventing violence and providing early diversion and support." Graeme Innes AM, Disability Discrimination Commissioner
The Commission noted the high rates of violence against women with disability, and the consequential economic costs. "The National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children has estimated that by 2021-2022 the cost of violence perpetrated against women with disability will be nearly $3.9 billion." Suggested actions to reduce the economic and human costs of violence included:
- improve responses and attitudes of staff
- address the impact of intersectional experiences of disability, gender and violence.
- emphasise the rights of people with disabilities to make their own decisions, with support if necessary, and that those decisions deserve respect.
The report can be found at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/equal-law
Voices Against Violence research project update
In partnership with the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Women with Disabilities Victoria has been investigating the nature and incidence of violence against women with disabilities in Victoria.
The Voices Against Violence Research Project examined the circumstances of women with disabilities who had experienced violence.
We saw a need to undertake this piece of research as there was very little evidence-based information available regarding violence against women with disabilities anywhere, let alone information about what was happening in Victoria.
Our organisations knew that women with disabilities
- experience higher rates of violence than women in the general community
- face a number of barriers when trying access support services
- are often disregarded by the legal system
With funding from Gandel Philanthropy and a major grant from the Legal Services Board we are nearing completion of this 2-year journey. This has included interviewing women with disabilities who have experienced violence and were willing to share their stories, reviewing OPA’s records and interviewing OPA staff, undertaking a review of current legislation here and overseas, and making recommendations for change.
In May 2014 we will be releasing a suite of 7 reports. We are holding a forum for the reports to be launched by Natasha Stott Despoja, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, and Chair of the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children.
After this, the next step will be to ensure that the recommendations for legal, policy and service sector reform that this project identified are implemented.
For further information contact Program Manager, Sharon Granek, email@example.com
Women with Disabilities Australia website revamp
For news on work responding to violence against women with disabilities on a national and inter-national level, visit the revamped website of Women With Disabilities Australia
(WWDA). To see WWDA's fantastic publications, submissions, reports, resources and a developing blog visit http://wwda.org.au
The WWDA site has reports from the Stop the Violence Project, an evidence based project to support better responses to violence against women with disabilities. STVP is part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.
Melbourne Magistrates’ Court Family Violence Service 'Walk in Her Shoes Tour'
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court Specialist Family Violence Service invites you to participate in the 'Walk in Her Shoes Tour.'
The tour can help you gain a sense of the experience of applying for an intervention order and the court process involved, and court support services.
Tours run from 2pm for two hours.
Tours will run on many days throughout 2014, so depending on availability, you can choose the date that best suits you.
April 8th & 22nd
May 13th & 27th
June 10th & 24th
July 8th & 22nd
August 5th & 19th,
September 9th & 23rd
October 7th & 21st
November 11th & 25th.
Bookings are essential.
RSVP and enquiries: Bez Robertson 8615 3837, firstname.lastname@example.org
Training opportunities with CASA House and DVRCV: responding to violence against women
The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria training calendar January to June, 2014. The calendar includes Introduction to Domestic violence, the Family Violence Protection Act, and Getting Safe Against the Odds training on responding to violence against women with disabilities. Getting Safe Against the Odds aims to provide participants with a better understanding of the context and experience of women with disabilities who experience violence; explore best practice responses in relation to risk assessment and safety planning; and share strategies that will prepare your agency to better respond to the needs of women with disabilities. This one day course runs on May 29. Read more and register via the DVRCV website
The (Centre Against Sexual Assault) CASA House 2014 training calendar includes 'working with the impacts of sexual assault', and 'sexual violence in intimate partner relationships.' More information is available at the CASA House website.