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Welcome Brigitte and Jan 

WDV are so pleased to welcome new staff Brigitte Stone and Jan Earthstar to the team.

Brigitte was previously involved in the Here We Are Project where she worked in the Barwon region throughout 2018 and 2019. She will now be working in the Community Inclusion and Women’s Empowerment Team as WDV’s new Women’s Empowerment Officer:

"I look forward to making connections, amplifying the voices of women with disability across Victoria and of course having a lot of fun along the way, As a woman living with disability, I understand how important the work of this organisation is and to be a part of their mission to empower women with disability and advocate for a more inclusive community, is something I am incredibly passionate about. over my working career I have been a music journalist, a magazine editor, a publicist and have started my own small craft party business. This past year I have also taken on the title as a first time mum! I am so excited to meet the many diverse women that make up our community and to plan the next leadership program."

PHOTO: Brigitte Stone

Jan Earthstar has joined as the Prevention of Violence Resource Development Officer in the Workforce Development Team on Gender and Disability:

"I’ve long admired the work of WDV, I’m very happy to now call myself a member of the team. In the role I will be focused on developing workforce development resources for disability and social service sectors, to increase their knowledge, awareness, skills and confidence in preventing violence against women with disabilities. I have worked in the violence against women sector for the past 14 years in crisis response, primary prevention, training delivery, resource development and project management.

I have always tried to focus my work on increasing accessibility of the family violence response system for people who experience multiple forms of discrimination and disadvantage, and I have an interest in primary prevention work that challenges the status quo and keeps prevention work relevant to all communities." 

Free WDV Webinar

Women with Disabilities Victoria, Workforce Development Program on Gender and Disability (WDV) and Genetic Support Network of Victoria (GSNV) present: Introduction to Violence Against Women with Disabilities webinar.
This webinar will show how gender and disability inequality drives violence, and how you can contribute to violence prevention through your work. You will gain awareness of the causes and types of violence; dynamics of power and control; an introduction to managing disclosures; and referral organisations and self-care. You will be directed to resources to support you in your work. The webinar will also include a panel discussion with experts in family violence, disability and advocacy
This webinar will benefit genetic support group members, advocates allied health professionals, parents and/or carers, students, and academics.
Date: Thursday 3rd September 2020
Time: 10:30am–12:00pm
Location: online via Zoom (details will be provided upon registration)
Register: by Monday 30th August 2020 via Eventbrite
For more information: contact Olivia Franklin on
This webinar is jointly presented by Women with Disabilities Victoria and Genetic Support Network of Victoria.

WDV logo
Register for the Webinar
Second WDV Member Event - 'Parenting with Disability'

WDV's next online member event 'Parenting with Disability' is on September 10 4:30pm- 6pm over Zoom. The format will be a panel discussion with a Q &A section. Our special guests are Eliza Hull, Jax Jacki Brown and Shakira Hussein.

Register for the Online Member Event

AcceSex - Sexual and Reproductive Health Workshop

This is the final workshop! AcceSex sexual and reproductive health and Disability online workshop for community and health workers with Women’s Health in the North is on September 1st. Best of all it’s free!

Participants will learn how to create more inclusive, accessible reproductive and sexual healthcare services and community programs for women with disabilities.

More information and registration via Eventbrite.

Day: Tuesday 1 September 2020

Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Register for the Accesex workshop

Experts by Experience

The Experts by Experience Working Group is an initiative of the Workforce Development Program on Gender and Disability. The Working Group is a violence prevention initiative designed to increase the workforce of women with disabilities in prevention of violence, increase leadership and representation opportunities for women with disabilities. The group is made up of 18 women with a diverse range of disabilities, backgrounds and experiences. 

The Experts by Experience Working Group recently consulted on two projects, one for Women with Disabilities Victoria and the other for the Australian Network on Disability. Some of the insights provided by the group included the need for;

  • increased representation of women with disabilities, in all projects for, and with, women with disabilities;
  • Strength-based approaches and avoidance of deficit based approaches when planning with, and for, women with disabilities;
  • a change in perception of women with disabilities as vulnerable and a move to seeing them for their strength and resilience;
  • increase acknowledgement that women with disabilities are diverse, that they experience their disabilities differently and need to be consulted about the similarities and differences of their unique experiences. 

This Working Group provides expert consultation on gender, disability and preventing violence against women with disabilities. If you or your organisation would like information about the group, our expert consultations or the Workforce Development Program on Gender and Disability please contact Carly Myers on

PHOTO: Screenshoot of  Experts by Experience Zoom Meeting
Disability Gateway

The Government has created a pilot for the new Disability Gateway website. The website has information and services to help people with disability, their family, friends and carers, to find the support they need in Australia. to ensure people with disability, their families and carers receive the most effective, accessible and people centred service available.

Visit the Disability Gateway Website

YDAS Leadership Program

The Youth Disability Advocacy Service are running a free leadership program for young people, aged 14 – 19, who identify as:

  • having a disability
  • being chronically ill
  • Deaf
  • vision impaired or blind
  • neurodiverse and/or
  • having lived experience of mental health issues.

The leadership program is open to young people in Victoria and is held completely online, so they can participate from anywhere in the state.

Young leaders who take part in the program learn new leadership and advocacy skills, meet other young leaders, learn from well-known disabled leaders, and get ongoing leadership opportunities.

Upcoming leadership program
Applications for the October/November workshops close on Monday 21 September 2020.

It is run with the support of the NDIA and Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA).

Read more about the Leadership Program
Resources about keeping safe from violence

The Royal Commission heard there has been an increase in violence against women with disability,

Senior Counsel Assisting Kate Eastman cited an Australian Institute of Criminology survey, where 11 percent of participants were women with disability.

‘The results of the survey are frightening,’ Ms Eastman said.  Among women with disability who were in a current relationship:

‘One in four, 23 percent, said they had experienced physical violence during COVID-19.

‘One in six, 16 percent, said they had experienced sexual violence during COVID-19.

 ‘And two in five, 42 percent, said they experienced emotional abusive, harassing or controlling behaviours during COVID-19.’

Ms Eastman said that in the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 Plan, released 17 February, there was no mention or reference of people with disability.

‘People with disability and their advocates watched and waited to hear the Commonwealth Government’s plan for people with disability,’ she said.

For those in an unsafe environment, the pressures – financial, health and emotional and wellbeing - that have and will continue to come as a result of COVID-19, could increase the risk of violence and abuse.

We want to make very clear that there is never an excuse for violence under any circumstance.

It’s critical that those impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence know that support is available.

If a person does not feel safe to call 1800RESPECT over the phone, they can speak with our counsellors via webchat.

In an emergency or if someone is in immediate danger, please call 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

Below are links which you may find useful:

Self-Isolation and Covid 19

Sunny App

Introduction to Responding

Supporting People with Disability

Disability Support Toolkit (recently launched)

Register for the Virtual Disability Expo

The Virtual Disability Expo is a fantastic opportunity to continue to connect and be informed, all from the comfort and safety of your own home.

10am to 5pm Friday 4th September

10am to 3pm Saturday 5th September

You will be able to connect with:

  • Government and advocacy organisation
  • Aids and equipment providers
  • Financial and legal services
  • Education, training and employment providers
  • Social and leisure options
  • Transport and vehicles
  • Health and medical products and services
  • Allied health professionals 
  • Support services including in home care providers
Register for the Expo
In-home COVID testing 

The Victorian Government has established a new Call-to-Test service. The service provides in-home testing conducted by a clinician, to people who can’t easily access other forms of testing.

The service is now in operation in the Melbourne metropolitan area. The Victorian Government is currently looking at whether this can be extended to the rest of Victoria. We will update you on any changes or expansions to the service when they happen.

Who can use the service?

The service is open to Victorians who:
• are symptomatic
• are over 5 years of age
• have a referral from their GP and
• meet eligibility criteria.

The following people are eligible for the in-home testing service:
• a person with an injury, chronic health issue, or frailty affecting mobility
• a person with moderate to severe physical or psychosocial disability
• a person with moderate to severe mental health or behavioural issues not otherwise classified as a psychosocial disability
• a carer for a person with moderate to severe disability.

Find out more about In-home testing on the DHHS website

Disability Royal Commission Progress Report

The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Sydney from Tuesday 18 to Friday 21 August 2020 into the experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing  was to enquire into:

  1. The impact on people with disability, including First Nations people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and women with disabilities and the barriers and challenges they are facing
  2. The response of the Commonwealth government and agencies to the COVID-19 Pandemic, as it relates to people with disability (noting the Royal Commission expects to examine the particular response of states and territories at a later time)
  3. How some disability service providers have responded to the COVID – 19 Pandemic
  4. The question of how the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability has developed over the period since the Pandemic began
  5. What should be done in the near, medium and long term to better protect people with disability from violence, abuse neglect and exploitation, and promote the inclusion of people with disability during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The hearing was closed to the public but you can read the transcript on the Royal Commission website.

Read the Royal Commission transcript

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