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Welcome to our eNews

This fortnightly email is to keep you updated on the work of Women with Disabilities Victoria, and updated on news related to our priority areas. Contributions to this eNews are welcome, email

In this Issue:

Announcing the Disability Leadership Institute

The new Disability Leadership Institute will support, develop and promote leaders with disabilities. The Institute will provide an ongoing program of resources, training and connections so that the largest minority group in the world today assumes its rightful place as 15% of leaders across all fields of society.
The Institute has been established by Christina Ryan and other lleaders with disabilities in consultation with leaders with disabilities It is time to change the way leadership is understood. You can become a member or join the National Register of Disability Leaders.

Membership starts at $132 per year but you can be involved without becoming a member. See
the Institute's website or follow

Work at WDV - Extended closing date, Gender Equity Program Manager

WDV is looking for an experienced Gender Equity Program Manager to oversee the third phase of WDV's Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program. The position is for 6 months (and may be extended pending funding). The closing date for applications has been extended to Wed 19th October at 5pm.
This position was held by Fofi Christou who will be moving into a new Senior Program Manager role at WDV.

Women with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Inquiries can be made by phoning Dee Henry on 9286 7800 (Monday to Thursday).
For position details see-

Research on young people's safety

Are you a young person aged 16-25 and living with a disability? Would you like to take part in research about young people’s safety?
The Centre for Children and Young People would like to invite you to talk about what safety means to you, what helps, and what else needs to happen for all young people to be safe. Meaghan and the research team are visiting Melbourne in November to talk with young people individually or in groups.

When: Tuesday 15 Nov, 3:00pm OR Wednesday 16 Nov, 5:00pm
Where: Youth Disability Advocacy Service, Level 3, 180 Flinders St, Melbourne
Payment: $30 gift voucher

Register to take part in the research.
If you would prefer an interview rather than coming to a group, a time can be set up for you.

If you would like to know more, contact Meaghan: PHONE (02) 66203062 or email

‘Our Right to Respect’: A peer education program for women with disabilities running in Ringwood through November

“Our Right to Respect” is a program that runs for 4 weeks in November. WDV would like to invite women to be part of this program which will run in Ringwood.
This is run by women with disabilities for women with disabilities.
This will be a place to talk about topics like:
  • respectful relationships
  • feeling safe
  • women’s choices and rights.
For more information women with disabilities are invited to an information session:
WHEN: Monday 24th of October
WHERE: Ringwood Library.
RSVP and CONTACT: Bianca Evans on 92867809 or via email
Disability services - your invitation to be part of preventing violence against women with disabilities in Barwon (Colac, 8th Nov)

The scale of discrimination and violence experienced by women with disabilities has been highlighted in the recent  Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services. Disability organisations are critical in addressing gender and disability inequality and preventing violence against women before it occurs.

In Barwon’s Month of Action, WDV invites leaders and managers of disability organisations to find out more about:
  • What the recommendations from the Royal Commission and Parliamentary Inquiry mean for you and your organisation
  • What difference your organisation can make to support women, prevent abuse and manage risk
  • What WDVs Workforce Development Program on Gender and Disability can offer your organisation to strengthen the rights, choices and improve the status and quality of life of women with disabilities
  • How your organisation can differentiate itself as an NDIS provider who delivers gender sensitive and responsive services and is active in preventing violence against women.
Organisational leaders and managers are encouraged to attend this timely workshop.

When: 9:30am-1:30pm, Tuesday 8th November 2016
Where: Crowe Horwath, 175 Bromfield Street, Colac
Cost: $25 (Lunch and refreshments will be provided)
RSVP: By 28 October 2016 to Bianca Evans, or T: (03) 9286 7809.

Barwon Month of Action Stop Men’s Violence Against Women & Children

The peak of Barwon's Month of Action will be at 5pm to 8pm, Friday 28 October 2016, Eastern Hub Geelong 285A MacKillop Street East Geelong

Commencing at 5pm with a Welcome to Country and a Women's Cultural Ceremony of Healing, Remembrance & Hope Facilitated by Wadawurrung Woman, Corinna Eccles. Followed by With One Voice Geelong Choir and guest speakers:
- Christine Couzens MP Member for Geelong
- Glenda MacNaughton Reclaim the Night Collective Geelong
- Concluding with the Launch of the Simply Hear Me The Personal is Political Art Exhibition.
Tea/Coffee & Light Refreshments Provided.

RSVP by 24 October 2016 1300 430 599 or

Launch of 'Signs for Health': communication access resources for hospitals

Signs for Health is a resource to improve Auslan and communication access for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf/blind. It has been developed by Victoria's Human Rights Commission.

Signs for Health will launch during the National Week of Deaf People (15–21 October) and to contribute to improving access to health services for Victorians who are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind.

Presenters at the launch:
- Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Parliamentary Secretary for Carers
- Brent Phillips, General Manager, Community and Language Services, Vicdeaf
- Kristen Hilton, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner

Time and date:
10–11am, Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Conference Room A, Ground Floor
Royal Women’s Hospital
Cnr Grattan St & Flemington Rd
Parkville VIC 3052

Details about transport options, taxi rank and parking.

RSVP: By Wednesday 12 October 2016 to
Please advise if you have any dietary or accessibility requirements, including interpreter or hearing loop requirements.

IMAGE: the Signs for Health logo with two hands and the by-line, 'Improving Auslan and communication access in hospitals.'

Professional Development by the Deafblind Community
Deafblind Victorians (DBV) is an advocacy and self advocacy group run by people who are deafblind and people with Ushers. DBV provides a workshop for organisations and the wider community to educate people about deafblindness.
As part of contributing to National Week of Deaf People DBV will run a free workshop which will include the following:
* Deafblind World activity
* What is Ushers syndrome and deafblindnes?
* Methods of communication and guiding techniques.
* Questions and Answers.
When: Monday 17th October 2016
Where: Ross House, 4th floor, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Time: 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm. (please arrive 10 minutes before workshop start time).
RSVP: Before Wednesday 12 October 2016 to
Limit 20 participants. Interpreters are provided so please let them know whether you are deaf or hearing.


'Dangerous Deeds' comes to South Morang - disability culture and advocacy history

SARU would like to invite you to.The Dangerous Deeds exhibition. Dangerous Deeds is an Accessible Video Exhibition with 8 screens // captioned // audio described // text read. It is a 'snapshot' of the Victorian disability movement created by stART Community Arts and Victorian disability activists. Dangerous Deeds presents a unique perspective on disability culture and insights into aspects of Victoria’s social and cultural history.

Wednesday 19th  October, 1.30pm-3pm.
The Great Hall, Council Offices 25 Ferres Blvd, South Morang.

Other activities around the exhibition:
- // Making Art From The Margins: LGBTI + Disability Identity + Activism In Art
- // Women + Disabilities + Violence: It’s A Mainstream Issue (with WDV supporting this event)
- // One Million Stars To End Violence Workshop
- // Diverse Cultures Diverse Disabilities: Culture + Disability + Inclusion
- // My Culture My Story + Bookmaking Workshop
- // The Future will be Inclusive: Art//Design//Access.

See the Dangerous Deeds Facebook page for more details.

Family Planning Victoria's Annual General is coming up

Family Planning Victoria will focus on the theme, 'Increasing capacity, access and choice for abortion care in Victoria. ' 7pm, Tuesday 25 October 2016 at , Family Planning Victoria, 901 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill. RSVP Tel: (03) 9257 0128, Email:

'One size does not fit all ' when it comes to preventing violence against women: conference focused on intersectionality

In late September Our Watch and AWAVA co-hosted the Prevalent and Preventable conference in Adelaide. They report that,

"We know that one size does not fit all when it comes to preventing violence against women and the conference explored the tailored actions that can help address the inequality, disadvantage and violence faced by women with disabilities, women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and the LGBTIQ community."

Jen from WDV joined a number of women with disabilities who attended the conference. She spoke on two panels - one looking at 'intersectionality' and the other looking at running programs in under-resourced areas. One of the most important things about the conference for WDV was the way it brought different groups together - allowing us to be different and to explore what we have in common in ending violence.

WDV program update: Workforce Development on Gender and Disability
Program background
The Workforce Development Program on Gender and Disability is designed to:
  • prevent violence against women with disabilities,
  • improve women’s well-being and status
  • and promote gender equality in disability services.
The Program is funded by the Victorian government  to promote cultural change across whole organisations, working with clients, staff, managers and executives.
Program funding was extended by the Victorian Government after the successful piloting of the program with two disability organisations during 2013-2015 and an independent program evaluation.

Co-facilitators and partnerships
WDV have recruited seven women with disabilities to undertake the co-facilitator apprenticeship train the trainer program. WDV enthusiastically welcome on board Larissa MacFarlane; Michelle Wilcox; Robyn Wright; Step Tipping; Vildana Praljak; Tracey McGeehan; and Sharon Sellick who collectively have a diversity of lived and professional experience.

WDV has formed partnerships with women’s health services and centres against sexual assault to contribute their staff to undertake the co-facilitator apprenticeship train the trainer program. We thank our partners and welcome on board Annie Douglas (Women’s Health in the North); Lauren Temminghoff (Women’s Health West); Kimberly Batsas-Hill & Tracey Egan (Women’s Health in South East); and Cara Hammond & Wendy Miller (South East CASA).

All new recruits have been inducted will watch the two day disability support worker training in action before they start delivering the training. Michelle Wilcox and Annie Douglas (in picture below) and Stef Tipping went along to a recent two day training for Scope disability support workers (facilitated by veteran co-facilitators) to observe and reflect on the content and facilitation and what it means for their co-facilitation.

As training continues to be scheduled all new recruits will get an opportunity to observe the training prior to commencing a two day train the trainer workshop and finally co-facilitating their own training with WDV support in preparation for taking first flight.

“Reinforcing for me that having an open mind and giving things a go can lead to great things.” (A new recruits’ response to being asked what was her most important learning from the induction)

PHOTO: New co-facilitators, Michelle Wilcox and Annie Douglas

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words: Gender and Disability Workshops on the move!
The Program kicked off in early July with a half day “Human Rights & Quality Services: What does gender have to do with it?” leadership workshop delivered to 27 executive, senior and middle managers of the Wesley Mission Victoria leadership team including CEO, Paul Linossier.

PHOTO: Abigail Sullivan (Women's Legal Services Victoria) and Colleen Furlanetto (Mayor of Strathbogie Shire) co-facilitating the Wesley Mission Victoria leadership workshop. 

With values such as hope, compassion and justice the Wesley Mission Victoria Leadership team launched into an activity called Stepping Up. Co-facilitated by Colleen Furlanetto and Abigail Sullivan, the activity illustrates in the most potent way, the social and economic disadvantages that women with disabilities can face in a world where gender and disability inequality is rife.

As four volunteers take on the role of either a women with or without a disability, a man with or without a disability and line up in the middle of The Chapel room at McKillop Family Services in South Melbourne, Colleen provides instructions on the activity.

“Listen to the statements I make one at a time and depending on the role you have taken on, consider how likely it would be for this situation to happen to you? (as a woman with a disability, man with a disability, women and man without a disability). Also think about – would it have a positive or negative impact on your life? If positive, step forward once or twice and if negative take a step back once or twice depending on the level of impact that it will have on your life”

Colleen starts with the first in a series of statements:
  • “I have been able to access the educational opportunities I want and enter the field of work I am most interested in.” then makes a second statement
  •  “I need assistance with some daily tasks and have been able to pay for this and choose who I want to work for me”, and then
  • “My family and those around me are thrilled to hear that I am about to become a parent” and finally after 9 statements makes the statement:
  • “When I tell the police that I have experienced violence and sexual assault I am believed, taken seriously and supported to be a witness to tell my story in court.”
Co-facilitators Colleen and Abigail and participant onlookers watch as the volunteers in their roles moved back and forth until the gap between each volunteer becomes glaringly apparent.

Colleen asks participants to reflect on what has transpired and the reason for the disparity in positions. “This shows the divide between men and women without disabilities and those with a disability particularly women” one participant said.

Other responses included, “Things need to change” and “I will be more mindful of the experiences of women with a disability”.
This same activity was utilized in a full day workshop for 19 Scope Eastern Management Team members in Glen Waverley within the same week. Again the feeling was mutual “Stepping up was a great visual.”
Language, gender and disability roles and stereotypes as well as media representation were also explored in the workshop with participants commenting on the value of this session and what actions they would take as a result.
“Focus on the importance of language and often the small, unintentional ways I/we support gender inequality and reinforcing it in day to day practice.” (Scope manager)
The Scope leadership workshop set the scene for the success of 2 day workshops co-facilitated by Eva Sifis and Dagmar Jenkins for two groups of Scope disability support workers from the East.

Participants overwhelmingly rated the workshops as good to very good with a common response being, “Enlightening, it really opened my eyes. I will never look at things in the same way.” (Scope disability support worker).

Participants in both the leadership and disability support worker workshops came up with some actions to put in place in their workplace including:
  • “Make sure that adequate choices are offered and don’t go with gender stereotypes. Open all program options to all female and male clients”
  • “Facilitate a gender responsive workplace brainstorm with other staff”
  • “Promote equality awareness amongst all residents”
  • As a result of this workshop I will seek opportunities to learn more.”
Some final words from a couple participants at the end of the Wesley Mission Victoria Leadership Workshop:

“We all have a responsibility to positively impact”

"I will spread the word to people working in other organisations about the value of the workshop"

Workshops will continue to roll out in the next few months to Wesley Mission Victoria, coordinators and direct support staff and with other disability support providers.

Get updates from WDV's Violence and Disability Quarterly
Detailed updates on WDV's workforce development program and other activities to end violence against women with disabilities are available through our Violence Quarterly email - you can subscribe online.

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