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Violence & Disability Quarterly


This quarterly publication highlights projects, resources and research responding to violence against women with disabilities. For more information or to contribute, please contact, Policy Officer – Violence Against Women with Disabilities.

In this Issue:
Employment opportunity at WDV: Women's Empowerment Program Manager

Women with Disabilities Victoria is looking for a Women's Empowerment Program Manager to provide program management to all aspects of the WDV's Women's Empowerment Program.

This is a part-time (0.8) 12 month contract position. Women with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NOTE: Early closing date: 9:00am Monday 19th December 2016.  For more information see WDV's employment page.

More employment opportunities will be coming up at WDV in 2017.


Making space for women event hosted with Women's Health Services

The way public spaces are designed can have a big impact on the lives of women. This event featured a panel of speakers who will discussed how public art and space can be designed to be more welcoming and accessible.

'Making Space for Women: Planning community spaces and public art' was an event hosted by Women's Health Victoria in partnership with Women's Health in the North and WDV. The event was held at Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre with support from the Victorian Government during the 16 days of action to end gender based violence.

PHOTO: The Women's Mural, 'Bomboniere to Barbed Wire' in Fitzroy, painted by artists Eve Glenn & Megan Evans in 1986, is passed by a Number 86 tram with a copy of the Mural on it. Photography by Danielle Hakim.
We were challenged, informed and entertained by line up of speakers discussing why it matters to have women and diversity visible and welcomed in our public spaces. Jax Jacki Brown spoke on how having a disability in public space attracts so much attention that it is like performance art as a way of life.

Other speakers presented from the Women's Arts Register, the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Darebin City Counci and Women's Health in the North with brilliant Fem-C'ing by Amy Webster from Women's Health Victoria.

As the discussion flowed an artist, Jessamy, drew a graphic recording of which turned words into pictures on a whiteboard.

IMAGES by Jessamy which say in cartoon style, "disability is art" and "showing diversity - make the invisible visible."

The boy who saw an alien: stopping sexism and disability discrimination at the start - a personal story
Jen from Women with Disabilities Victoria shares a personal story for the International Day of People with a Disability and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.
In the midst of an excellent round of hide-and-seek, a three-year-old recently told me, “When you don’t have your glasses on you look like an alien...” See the full article
WDV's annual report

WDV's annual report is now available online. Here are some snaps from our AGM where full members, associate members, board members, staff and stakeholders joined to celebrate the year of work. We also all shared our priorities for Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins.

Colleen Furlanetto spoke about her year as the 2015 Brenda Gabe Award winner. Our thanks to Helen Sykes and Future Leaders for the ongoing support of the award. Nominations for the 2017 Brenda Gabe Leadership Award will open in 2017. IMAGE: a photo montage of women at WDV's AGM.

WDV receives HESTA's Social Impact Award

Women with Disabilities Victoria is thrilled to have received the HESTA Community Sector Award in the Social Impact category. The Award was presented at the ACOSS Conference Dinner in Sydney. Our thanks to VicHealth and Women's Health Victoria for their nomination of WDV.

This recognition is a positive reflection of the sustained effort in our priority areas of our members, board, staff and partners. We continue to believe our social impact derives from the lived experience of disability that informs all our work. At the awards night in many people told me they support WDV's aims, and that WDV has raised their awareness of the need to address violence against women with disabilities.
Congratulations to winners in other categories and to finalists across all categories. Thanks to HESTA and ME Bank for the award and prize money. This prize money will assist us to upgrade our website so that it is more accessible and user friendly.

PHOTO: Keran Howe accepting the award from Tim Ferguson (photo by HESTA Awards)

New national council on disability and carers


The Australian Government has announced the new National Disability and Carers Advisory Council. The new Council brings together leaders from business and the disability and carer sectors to provide advice on policies and legislation.

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice said, “The Council will play an important role in helping to drive the implementation of the overarching National Disability Strategy 2010-20.

It will also look at reforms in disability employment and carer support, and the full roll-out of the NDIS, including the interfaces with mainstream services.

I will co-chair the Council with Ms Keran Howe, who is well respected as a strong advocate in the sector and who has lived experience,” she said.

The Council will meet formally at least twice a year and establish working groups and community consultations as needed.
Barwon's network of women with disabilities show their leadership with a brilliant event

The 'Women with Disabilities Leadership Network Barwon Hub' are running strong. They meet monthly and run a Facebook Group

Women asked lots of questions about rights and services. Presenters at the forum spoke about our right to justice and services that help make it happen. WDV was so happy to be there alongside other presenters, Victorian Legal Aid, Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service and RIAC (the Rights, Information and Advocacy Service). The Powerful Parents Self Advocacy Group was represented by Susan Arthur. Susan said, "With support we can look after our children." Hub member, Kirrily Hayward, was the event's MC - or should we say 'Fem-C' - showing that women with disabilities were absolutely running this brilliant event.

. They also regularly organise special events. They just ran a wonderful forum on access to justice for women with disabilities. This was an excellent event packed with energy, friendliness and information to mark the 16 Days of Activism to end men's violence against women.

PHOTOS: Barwon Hub members together.


Opening doors to accessible taxis: information about our rights

The Taxi Services Commission has released information about passengers' rights in taxis. You can also watch the videos.

Rosie Batty's video with 4 steps to responding to family violence, plus a new toolkit for frontline workers

In a new video, Rosie Batty explains a four-step approach to identifying and responding to a family violence situation - ask, name it, refer, follow up.

If anyone suspects that a family member, friend or work colleague is experiencing sexual assault, domestic or family violence, they can use these four steps:
  1. asking if she feels safe,
  2. naming it as violence,
  3. referring her to a specialist and
  4. then following-up with her.
A toolkit for frontline workers has also been developed to assist health professionals and others get a better understanding of family violence. It is made by 1800Respect - a service that connects people with support when they or someone they know experiences sexual assault or family violence. Approaching these situations can be confronting, but if we are well equipped we can make a real difference.

Power and control wheels with a 'caregiver' focus

The caregiver power and control wheel and the caregiver equity wheel by Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence may be familiar to many of you. They could be useful resources, especially as we approach the 3rd of December which is International Day of People with Disability - Australia during the The Official 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign.

A new pocket-guide for women in the Barwon South West

THE STANDARD reports, "When people talk about challenging domestic violence, they can forget some people face additional barriers.
That’s why community groups have come together to provide specific resources for women with a disability who may be facing abuse.
A new pocket guide with simple information and depictions explaining domestic violence with numbers to call for assistance will be distributed next week.
South West Carer and Respite Services Network coordinator Wendy Jones is part of a group, ‘everybody’s business’, that led the project.
“We call it ‘everybody’s business’ because that’s the main message – that prevention of violence against women with disabilities is everybody’s business,” Ms Jones said." Read the full story in THE STANDARD.


Family Planning sessions for people with disabilities

Through January Family Planning is running a range of sessions about sex for people with disabilities, there are also sessions for family and professionals. See Family Planning's program.

Government responds to abuse in disability services inquiry, recognising gender-based violence and family violence

The Victorian Government has responded to the Disability Abuse Inquiry. They have committed to take actions including:
  • continue to support advocacy with targeted investments through a $1.5 million Victorian disability advocacy innovation fund in 2016-17
  • increase the powers of the Disability Services Commissioner so they can launch their own inquires
  • implement a new client incident management system that focuses on the safety and wellbeing of clients
  • developing a Victorian disability abuse prevention strategy
These commitments are an acknowledgment that we have a serious problem of violence against people with disabilities. WDV support all efforts by government to address it, to improve safety and justice for people with disabilities.
The Government’s response also recognises that women with disabilities experience family violence and has linked this report to implementation of the Family Violence Royal Commission recommendations. It is encouraging to see the link between disability-based violence and gender-based violence recognised. The Government has committed to bringing a gender lens to action that;
  • develop relationship rights education for people with an intellectual disability, their families and carers so they can better identify and prevent abuse; and
  • promote the rights of people to choose the gender of support workers providing intimate supports.
Victoria's 10 year plan to address family violence

The Premier launched Victoria's 10 year plan to address family violence. This video explains some of the things that will be funded, including:
- more specialist courts
- more training for police
- more housing options.

WDV and members of the Victims Advisory Council are working with government to see that all parts of the plan are disability accessible - including housing options.


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