WDV eNewsletter
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WDV Updates

Election Forum

On Tuesday September 30th WDV held an election forum to hear from the three major parties about their policies that will affect women with disabilities.
Over 50 members and organisational representatives attended the forum. The forum aimed to enable our members to be better informed about each party’s policies regarding women with disabilities.

Image of Colleen Hartland, Danielle Green and Andrea Coote with WDV Chair Marija Groen and Keran Howe
Andrea Coote (Parliamentary Secretary for Families & Community Services),
Danielle Green (Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Women
and Health Promotion) and Colleen Hartland (Victorian Greens’ spokesperson for Health, Community Services, Women’s and Multicultural Affairs) represented their respective parties.
We asked each party representative to respond to four questions, based on the matters that we identified were most important to our members.
The questions were:

1. How will your party address the actions identified in the Women with Disabilities Victoria election statement to address the high rates of violence against women with disabilities?

2. How will your party address the Women with Disabilities Victoria Election statement actions to make sure that women with disabilities have access to health care and health promotion?

3. Will your party maintain the state disability plan and how will you monitor the socio-economic circumstances of women with disabilities to evaluate the impact of the State Disability plan?

4.  With the introduction of the NDIS is your party committed to continue to support the Victorian Disability Advocacy Program?  How will you ensure the advocacy program is sustained?

Image of wdv members attending the election forum

WDV member Tricia Malowney summarised the responses to these questions in a blog post on the Pro Bono website:

 â€œThe responses provided make it clear that all political parties recognise that women with disabilities have the same rights as other women, and should be supported to take their place as equal citizens. The clear takeaway messages for me were:

1.     Violence against women with disabilities is recognised as a key issue which needs to be addressed.  All acknowledged the work which has been done, but also acknowledged that more work is needed, which requires input, commitment and partnership with the mainstream sector.

2.     Access to health services and health promotion requires ongoing commitment and must also require access to cancer screening, data collection and analysis, and better advocacy.

3.     The maintenance and evaluation of the state disability plan is seen by everyone as essential and needs a whole of Government approach to provide equitable access to services that other women take for granted.  However, it was acknowledged that we must be vigilant and work together to ensure that the plan is effective.

4.     Giving a voice to those who have no voice through effective advocacy needs to be appropriately funded. The NDIS is only one part of the answer, and advocacy is one of the other key components alongside access to mainstream services.”

Image of enabling women graduates and WDV staff member Jane Oldfield
Image of enabling women graduates with Jane Oldfield attending the election forum

One WDV member noted “I really enjoyed myself yesterday. It was a welcome change to be in a room with people who actually cared about other people, I found it amazing that the speakers gave so much to the audience and provided good entertainment as well!”

Some videos from the forum will be available via our website in the coming weeks.
We will update you on each political party’s policies that relate are relevant to women with disabilities as they are released closer to the election.

Healthy Services Healthy Women: Quality Health Care for Women with Disabilities

In 2010 WDV commissioned a literature review focussed on the experiences of women with disabilities accessing health care services. This review highlighted the disadvantage many women experienced on a regular basis.
In response to this we undertook a community development project to highlight the problem.  In partnership with Grit Media, the Royal Women’s Hospital a group of young women with disabilities came together, wrote the script and starred in a DVD, outlining the barriers faced by women with disabilities  when accessing health services.
The DVD is a great training tool but was always envisaged to be part of a larger learning package for health workers in hospital settings.
We are pleased to let you know, thanks to a grant from the from the Ian Potter FoundationJackie Modem and Tania Phillips have been engaged to write the learning package for us. 

The seed funding will allow us develop and test the learning package, as well as develop a  train-the-trainer program for women disabilities. We will need to secure further funding to support trainers (both women with and without disabilities) to deliver the package. Watch this space for further details.

Gender and disability workforce development train the trainer
A team of six women with disabilities and workers from prevention and response services who have completed the Gender and Disability Workforce Development Train the Trainer Program were selected to co-deliver the disability and gender equity training “Human Rights and Quality Services: What does gender have to do with it?‟ to Yooralla staff from June to August 2014.

The training targeted all levels of the organisation and in total 91 Yooralla staff participated in the training. The Yooralla CEO Sanjib Roy along with 27 Senior Managers and Executives participated in a half day workshop and 11 Service Managers participated in a full day training. 52 Disability Support Workers participated in two day training which was held in Benalla, Box Hill and Carnegie.

Image of Yooralla staff at recent training

The training was well received, with participants rating the overall training with an average score of 8.7 out of 10. Training participants expressed their increase in knowledge, and the importance of advocacy. One participant stated “The Australian rates of violence against women with disabilities are alarming; speak up.”

Another said “It opened my eyes. It flicked a switch and made me more aware.”
A participant in the full day leadership workshop noted the importance of organisational action stating “Although I felt I knew a lot and was open minded this training demonstrated we (Yooralla) and I have a lot to learn and change as well as influence change in the sector.”

The training has been strongly supported by Yooralla, who have been working closely with WDV to look at ways that staff feel empowered and supported to make change on both an organisational and practice level.

Co-delivery of training with women with disabilities made the real difference for many:
“Hearing the perspective of Sam (co-facilitator and woman with a disability) really helped me to understand what I can do differently” (Yooralla, Disability Support Worker)

Disability support workers in the two day training had the opportunity to interact with a diverse panel of women with disabilities and workers from violence prevention and response services.

WDV would like
to extend a special thanks to the women with disabilities and the organisations who supported the training delivery, and generously shared their expertise in these panel sessions.
Next steps - training will also be delivered to staff of Gateways Support Services, located in Geelong in October and November 2014.


Raising voices against violence for women with disabilities

This ground-breaking program for women and children with disabilities has passed its pilot stage and will receive ongoing funding. This is a Statewide initiative that assists Victorian women and children with disabilities experiencing family violence who require immediate disability support.

Funding is available to meet immediate disability-related support needs for a period of up to 12 weeks to a maximum value of $9,000 per person. Requests for funds over $9,000 will be managed on a case by case basis.
To access the initiative the woman or her child must:

  1. Have been assessed through the Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) as requiring ‘immediate protection’ and be supported by and referred by a Specialist Family Violence Service
  2. Have a disability as defined by the Disability Act 2006.
  3. Require specific disability-related support to either access a family violence crisis accommodation response or remain safely in her home or community.
The short-term crisis funding can be used for the following purposes:
  • Attendant care support for disability related needs such as personal care, shopping assistance, meal preparation or support in providing care of children.
  • Hire of equipment (where own equipment cannot be accessed) or linkage with the State-wide Equipment Program where appropriate
  • Sign/Auslan interpreting in cases where the DHS Interpreter service is not available through the credit line
  • Transport costs related to disability

The program is designed to complement existing specialist family violence services and supports.

For more information during business hours, contact Disability Family Violence Liaison Officer

T: (03) 9843 6312
For information after hours, contact Woman’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service:
T: (03) 9322 3555 or 1800 015 188 (toll free for country callers)

Scope Survey 

Researchers at Scope, a leading disability service in Victoria, are testing surveys capturing the outcomes associated with disability services and social inclusion as experienced by people with disabilities in Australia.  This national research is part of a multi-year project that will result in outcomes surveys that can be used by organisations involved in providing disability services in the future.  

The surveys are open until Friday, 3rd October 2014 and accessed online at Alternatively, we can post a paper copy on request.

Participation is voluntary and anonymous. No identifying information will be collected. This project has ethics approval from Scope.

More information about the surveys is contained on the website. Of course if you have any comments or questions about the research, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 03 9843 3000 or email

'Support Needs of Victims and Witnesses in the Magistrates' Court' Survey

The Victims Support Agency is conducting a survey of the ‘Support Needs of Victims and Witnesses in the Magistrates' Court’
To participate you need to be:      
        ·        18 years or over    
        ·        A resident of Victoria

AND one of the following    

        ·         A victim or witness of a personal crime (for example assault, threatened assault, stalking, robbery, and sex offences)

        ·        A victim or witness who has attended the Magistrates' Court of Victoria during 2012, 2013 or 2014.

        ·        You have attended court for an Intervention Order or Safety Notice

The survey is voluntary and confidential and will be used to develop policies and programs for victims and witnesses of crime. Deciding to participate or not, will not affect any services you may currently be receiving from victims’ services, police or the court.  

If you would like to find out more or you would like to complete the survey, please go to:

If you have any questions about the research or survey, please contact Margaret Camilleri at the Victims Support Agency on 8684 6716 or by email on

If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please contact the Secretary of the Department of Justice Ethics Committee on or on 8684 1514. 

Housing Situation Interview 

Carmel Laragy from RMIT University is looking for people that have a disability to interview regarding their housing situation.

-           Where their support is adequate
-           The cost is affordable
-           The location is appropriate.
Carmel is working with the University of NSW and the study is funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).

People will be paid $50 for their time and contribution.

If you are interested please contact Carmel directly.
Information about the project is at 
Carmel Laragy, PhD
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Applied Social Research (CASR) 
Global Urban & Social Studies
RMIT University
Ph 0427 982 298

Report released: Australians' attitudes to violence against women

The findings of the recently released National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) are disturbing and suggest there has been minimal progress over the past 5 years in addressing gender inequality and violence against women in Australia. Just some of the key findings include:

• Most Australians see violence against women as being primarily due to some men being unable to manage their anger.

• 4 in 10 Australians believe that rape results from men not being able to control their need for sex.

• Substantial numbers of Australians believe that the victim can be blamed for violence in certain circumstances. One in five (19%) believe that the woman bears some responsibility if raped while she is affected by alcohol and drugs, while 16% agree that women often say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’. 12% believe that if a woman goes into a room alone with a man at a party, it is her fault if she is raped.

• 2 in 5 Australians believe that ‘a lot of times, women who say they were raped had led the man on and then had regrets’.

• 1 in 10 (10%) Australians agree that ‘if a woman doesn’t physically resist – even if protesting verbally – then it isn’t really rape’.

• Only 4 in 10 Australians are aware of the greater risk of violence experienced by women with disabilities.

• Up to 28% of Australians endorse attitudes supportive of male dominance of decision-making in relationships.

• More than 50% of Australians believe that women often fabricate cases of domestic violence in order to improve their prospects in family law cases.

• Sizeable proportions of Australians believe there are circumstances in which violence against women can be excused.

• Fewer than half of Australians (42%) are aware that women with disabilities reporting sexual assault are less likely than other women to be believed.

• Men with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities and women with disabilities to endorse violence-supportive attitudes.

• Most Australians have a poor understanding of the barriers women experience to seeking safety from violence.

• Many Australians say that they would not know where to go for help about a domestic violence problem.

• 1 in 10 Australians agree that ‘when jobs are scarce men have more right to a job than women’ (12%) and that ‘discrimination against women is no longer a problem in the workplace in Australia’ (13%).

The Report: ‘Australians' attitudes to violence against women: Findings from the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS)’ is available for download from the VicHealth website at:



Windfall for women’s mental health in the east
Via Monash weekly , Luke Henriques-Gomes, Mon 22nd Sep 2014

Burwood East’s Peter James Centre will have a women’s only section for mental health patients.

The state government has provided $34,376 to install the new area for female mental health patients at the Eastern Health facility. The money will be used to create a gender-sensitive, female wing with swipe card access, lounge area and a refurbished outdoor courtyard for women only.

Forest Hill MP Neil Angus said he was pleased the centre would be able to “offer better and more private spaces for women in mental health care”. The Mental Health Minister and Doncaster MP Mary Wooldridge said 29 inpatient units across the state had recently received funding.

“Women can feel vulnerable in mixed gender areas, where there are typically more males than females, and can have limited privacy, the inability to lock rooms or to protect belongings,” she said.

To read the full story:


The Guide

Accessible Mental Health Services for People with an Intellectual Disability: A Guide for Providers

The Guide is a national framework of understanding and action for frontline mental health service providers with respect to people with an intellectual disability. It provides an overview of intellectual disability mental health, why accessible services are important, the principles that should guide service delivery, practical strategies for inclusive and accessible services, and the implications for the service system.

The Guide was developed in consultation with key national stakeholders, and was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

The Guide will assist health services in providing equitable access, a skilled workforce and appropriate treatment to people with an intellectual disability and a mental disorder.
The intended audience for The Guide includes all mental health professionals and organisations which treat people with an intellectual disability and co-occurring mental disorders including those who work within:

·       Primary Health Care Settings;
·       Public Mental Health Services;
·       Private Mental Health Services; and
·       Specialised Intellectual Disability Mental Health Professionals and Services.
Hard copies of The Guide are available for purchase for $15 (incl GST) per copy, which covers the cost of printing. But you can get the online version here: 

Accessible Mental Health Services for People with an ID - A Guide for Providers_current.pdf

For further information, contact 3DN directly via or phone (02) 9931 9160.

Training and Research

Melbourne Academy

Melbourne Academy was established to provide the opportunity to study and have job skills for people who have faced varying difficulties. Students are only expected to attend 10am - 2:30pm and can attend from Monday - Thursday or part thereof.
The Kings Way campus is designed for adults aged 18 - 40 years to:
- gain basic computer skills
- gain basic design skills (using software on Apple computers)
- gain employability skills
- improve literacy and numeracy
The campus is designed to provide a 3 in 1 course with students being able to gain Units of Competency in the following (if they attend all four days):
- Certificate I in Vocational Preparation
- Certificate II in Desktop Publishing
- VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning)

Melbourne Academy also have courses for people in their late teens in the below suburbs:
North Fitzroy

Students may start at the Kings Way campus at any time of year.

Contact Linda Vickers for further information,
Lita Vickers
Melbourne Academy
Melbourne City Mission

Hours: Monday & Tuesday, 9am - 4pm
Phone: (03) 8625 9951
Web address:

2015 Trainer Scholarship Applicants

The field Trainer Scholarship is for people with disability to undertake a two-part package:  
  1. A Study Grant to provide financial assistance to undertake a Certificate IV Training and Assessment TAE40110 through an accredited and agreed Registered Training Organisation (RTO)
  2. Practice Grant for access to coaching and practical training experience including:
    1. observation and delivery experience within training programs
    2. one-on-one coaching from a field trainer for the duration of the scholarship
Applicantions close Monday 5pm, 20th October 2014

For all enquiries, please contact:

James McAlpin
Learning and Development Program Officer
Phone: (03) 9982 0110

Human Rights 

Disability advocates fear peak body funding changes could affect representation

Via ABC News , Norman Hermant, Tue 23rd Sep 2014

Disability advocates are concerned people with disabilities will not be adequately represented under changes to the sector proposed by the Federal Government.

Under a Department of Social Services overhaul, peak bodies that represent people with disabilities have been told to re-apply for their Commonwealth funding. The current amount of funding is modest in government terms – just $2.5 million each year for all peak bodies combined.

In the coming months it is expected the number of funded peak bodies will be reduced from the current 13 to seven, or fewer, with each one expected to receive around $300,000.
“I’m very concerned,” says disability advocate Luke Nelson, who lives with both a physical and a moderate intellectual disability.

“I’m worried about who will get the funding, and who won’t get the funding.”

Kevin Stone, who runs VALID, which depends on funding from the national peak body representing people with intellectual disabilities, Inclusion Australia, said he fears what will happen if a peak organisation representing people with intellectual disabilities loses funding.

“If we’re not there, they will not get it right,” he said.

That fear is shared by many of the disability peak organisations that have applied for government funding.

Advocates like Carolyn Frohmader know all about the inconsistency. For nearly two decades, she has run Women With Disabilities Australia, representing her constituency all across Australia and even before the UN in Geneva. But she runs the organisation out of her home on a minimal $165,000 annual budget from the Commonwealth. She is the only paid employee. She agrees the funding system has to change.

"No-one was ever really clear about who was funded and why they were funded," she said.
"There was no clear rationale about why government had decided to fund particular groups, and yet not others."

Groups expect the funding decision to be made in the next few months.

Read full article:
Leadership, Advocacy and Representation

Inner Melbourne Community Legal Women's Clinic

11am - 1pm Thursdays 16 October or 20 November
Need help with a legal matter? Come to WIRE and see one of the women lawyers from  Inner Melbourne Community Legal for free advice and assistance in relation to any of the following matters:
  • Divorce/ separation (property settlements not covered by this clinic)
  • Parenting arrangements
  • Family violence
  • Child protection
  • Criminal law
  • Orders related to mental health
  • Intervention orders
If your matter is not one of the above, but you don’t know where to go for help, come and see us, as we may be able to assist you or we may point you in the right direction.

Venue: WIRE 372 Spencer Street, West Melbourne

Bookings are essential as lawyers have limited ability to attend to drop-ins. To book in your free one-off session or for details, call WIRE (03) 9348 9416 (Option 2). Visit website for details.


Disability accessible long term housing vacancy @YWCA

YWCA is one of the biggest providers for medium and long term housing for women in Victoria. They run rooming houses, and have a range of long-term accommodation for women some of which is modified for disability access.

YWCA currently have a long term vacancy available for a single woman (of any age) who requires wheelchair access. The room offers:
  • affordable rent supported by Centrelink
  • centrally located
  • women’s only space with secure swipe-card entry
  • fitted with a bed and accessible bathroom (no hoist)
  • visitable by support staff
  • and is connected to communal areas which are also accessible.
YWCA has another disability access vacancy coming up soon.
YWCA does not have a waiting list, however they invite interested agencies to join their vacancy mailing list.
To join the vacancy mailing list
Louise Daniel
Operations Manager
YWCA Victoria
A: 164-180 Kings Way South Melbourne Vic 3205
T: 03 8341 8700 II F: 03 8341-8744
E: W:

The future of housing for people with disability
Join Council for a free community forum between specialists and the Moonee Valley disability and housing communities on the future of housing for people with disability.
When: Monday, 27 October, 3pm-5pm
Where: Balcony Room - Clocktower Centre, 750 Mt Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds
The conversation will focus on possible transition pathways for National Disability Insurance Scheme eligible clients and the benefits that may flow in the local community and economy as a result.
Finger food will be provided.
Please RSVP at or call 9243 8748 by Friday, 24 October. A shuttle bus from Moonee Ponds Station is available. If you require this service, or have any dietary or accessibility requirements, please contact 9243 8748 or email

Out and About - Accessible Events

Reminder: Quippings Freaktastic Fringe

Quipping Freaktastic Fringe showcases established and emerging performers with disability in a line-up of talent not to be missed! 

Freaktastic is an innovative, entertaining, sexy and at times provocative show for the festival goer looking for something unashamedly and delightfully different! 


Quippings: Freaktastic draws attention loudly, proudly, boldly and unashamedly to the history of ‘freaks’ in carnivals or circus 'freak shows'.

Quippings explores the power play of the pornography of disability and asks: who really has the power and what does it mean to have freak pride?

When: October 1-5 as part of Melbourne Fringe
SHOW TIMES: 8.15pm, (Wed 7.45pm) (60min)

This event is fully wheelchair accessible.

If you are a person with a disability and have a companion card you can book tickets in over phone 12pm-6pm daily at the Fringe office: 9660 9600 to get your support worker in for free and also this will accessibility info of how many people with disabilities we have each night to be passed on to Circus Oz. 

Director: Kate Hood
Producer: Jax-Jacki Brown
Freaktastic band: The Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra


 Reminder: A Four-Eyed Guide to the Galaxy 

Image of a woman with glasses wearing a helmet, she is looking up at a homemade moon

A Four-Eyed Guide to the Galaxy is a tragi-comic DIY romp through the perils of space flight and our irresistible urge to find our dreams in the stars. 

From the creator of the critically acclaimed one-woman show The Unstoppable, Unsung Story of Shaky M (Xena Warrior Princess LOVED it) comes a new story of heroism and home-made props.

'A powerhouse of pure joy' - Vibe Wire

Auslan Interpreted Performance, Saturday 4th Oct. 

Created and Performed by Rowena Hutson
For more information visit: 

The Sound of Waves
By Gareth Ellis

Image of a woman who appears sweaty of wet with her hand in the air, looking upwards, against a green and blue background

A story of losing one’s world... and finding it again.

Meet Shelly, a normal girl who unexpectedly finds herself becoming more and more fish-like every day. She takes refuge in a world under the sea only to find that one-day even the sea is not enough, and she must search for a way to walk on land again.

The Sound of Waves is a whimsical tale tracing the emotional landscape of performer Jodie Harris’ journey through losing her hearing, receiving a cochlear implant and finding her way in the world again.
Written by Gareth Ellis and directed by Naomi Edwards, this premiere season brings together a highly respected creative team and promises to be a spellbinding event some six years in the making.
*75 minutes, no interval
**Auslan Interpreted Shows: 9 October at 8pm and 11 October at 5pm
3 – 12 October, 2014 Tue - Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm
Matinees: 9 and 11 October 5pm, 5 October 12pm Tickets: $30 Full, $25 Concession and Groups 8+ Bookings: 03 9662 9966 or fortyfivedownstairs - 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne


Get involved, become a member!

“I'm on this path but I've been a bit lost. I felt like I was a solo singer but now I feel like I've got a choir.”  WDV member

What does it mean to become a member of WDV?

Members can contribute to Women with Disabilities Victoria in the following ways:
  • Become involved in one of our leadership programs designed to promote sharing leadership skills.
  • Sharing information with other women through our e-newsletter and email bulletins.
  • Representing women with disabilities on Boards, Committees and forums. These opportunities are circulated to members who have an interest in a particular field.
  • Contributing to government submissions, representations to government and organisations and presentation of conference papers.

There are two types of membership:

Full membership is available to women with disabilities in Victoria. Full membership is free.

Associate membership is open to individuals and/or organisations supportive of the aims of Women with Disabilities Victoria and enables exchange of knowledge, and participation with Women with Disabilities Victoria and its members. Associate membership is $20 for individuals and $50 for organisations (this includes GST).
For more information about membership, visit our website or email

Just for fun

Loud, Proud and Passionate

Ladies Mags and Nude Films: A Lesson In Appearance Diversity

Suzanne: Exploring Dysautonomia through the Arts for Dysautonomia Awareness Month 2014.
The purpose of this e-News is to inform our members, staff and associates about opportunities to advance Women with Disabilities Victoria’s goals. Women with Disabilities Victoria works to address priority issues for women with disabilities in Victoria. These issues include violence; access to health services; reproductive rights and parenting, and; access to employment. We welcome and encourage your feedback and contributions to
Copyright © 2014 Women with Disabilities Victoria, All rights reserved.

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